Congratulations on your new 3 lbs. honey bee package with marked queen purchased from All American Bee Company! While there are many ways to install your package of bees, we feel this is the best and simplest way for beginners. We wish you success with your new package/s!
Your hive equipment should be assembled and located at the hive site BEFORE your new package arrives so the honey bees can be installed without delay. Honey Bees will do best if you install the package the same day you receive them. If you can not install your honey bees the same day due to weather, store them in a cool (not cold) and dark area for up to a day. It is best to install the honey bees into their new hive a 1-3 hours before nightfall.
Getting ready for installation
You will need:
- Protective clothing (veil, jacket/suit, gloves, etc…)
- Hive tool
- Feeder with 1:1 sugar syrup (We recommend the pail feeder)
- Push pin, tack, staple, rubber band or another item to use to secure queen cage to frame.
- Complete hive set up (boxes, inner covers, frames “with or without” foundation) etc.
- Your package of honey bees! Work on one hive and package at a time.
Step 1: Preparing your equipment for the honey bee installation:
Remove the thin wooden cover from the top of the package. (Do not remove staple from band that is attached to queen cage until sugar syrup can is removed) Carefully remove the can of sugar syrup and the queen cage (Do not remove queen honey bee from queen cage). Quickly replace the thin wooden cover as to prevent the honey bees from exiting the hole left by sugar syrup can. (Do not remove queen honey bee from queen cage) Take a moment to examine the queen inside the queen cage and verify she is alive.
Step 2: Opening the package and removing queen cage:
When you are ready to install your package, open the hive to expose frames. Remove 4 frames from one side of the hive body to allow room to install the honey bees. Install entrance reducer with smallest opening being utilized.
Step 3: Installing the queen cage on a frame:
(Do Not Remove Cork from End of Queen Cage Without Candy)
Remove the cork from the candy side of the queen cage. Using push pin, staple, or rubber band, secure the queen cage to the remaining frame in the middle of the hive body. The queen cage should be secured with the candy end facing up and solid cork end facing down Placement of the queen cage should be off center horizontally and in the middle of the frame vertically. This will help protect queen from sugar syrup spillage and will allow the honey bees to care for the queen while in the cage. (Do not face the mesh screen of the queen cage towards the wax of a frame, as this would inhibit her ability to breathe and to be fed by her new bees.) Place frame with queen back into hive.
Step 4: Install your honey bees Add feeder and close up hive. (Continue to feed until you have at least two deep boxes, or 3 medium sized boxes of drawn out frames of combs containing nectar, pollen, bee bread, and brood. It takes a LOT of carbohydrate energy for the bees to draw out beeswax comb)
Step 5: Feeding:
While holding on to the thin wooden cover to keep the package opening covered. Firmly tap package on ground to dislodge bees from package. Remove wooden cover and a gently dump honey bees from package into the void in the hive body created previously with the removal of the four frames. (It isn’t necessary to get every honey bee out of the package.) Place the now mostly empty package near entrance of the hive. The bees remaining in the package will begin to work their way into the entrance. Next replace the four frames that you previously removed for the installation of the honey bees. Do not force frames into piles of bees. Work slowly and the bees will move out of the way of the frames as they are placed into the hive body. Place inner cover on hive. (Ventilation notch facing up and to the rear/back of the hive)
Step 6: Close Hive Entrance:
In 3 to 5 days check to see if queen has been released from cage. If she is still in the cage, (especially after FIVE days) carefully use a small nail to make a small hole in the candy to aid the honey bees in releasing her. Place the queen cage (with queen) back into the hive in the same location. After two weeks, do a quick inspection of your new hive to look for eggs and larva. Try not to disturb new hives in between inspections other than feeding.
Develop a good habit of inspecting your hives every 2-3 weeks and (record your findings)
Step 7: Checking on the queen:
Loosely wedge a handful of grass into small front entrance opening or piece of tape over small entrance opening for 24 -36 hours. After that time remove any remaining debris from the entrance. It is important to keep bees inside the hive to allow them to acclimate to their new hive and queen.
Step 8: Checking for Eggs:
Recheck for release in 3 days. If the queen is released, then remove queen cage and close up the hive and do not disturb for 2 weeks. (other than for feeding)