How to Install a Package

pack

1. Thirty minutes before hiving, spray your bees heavily with sugar syrup, but don’t drown them with syrup!

2. Using your hive tool, pry the wood cover off the package.  Pull the nails or staples out of the cover and keep the wood cover handy.

opening

3. Jar the package down sharply on its bottom so that your bees fall to the bottom of the package. It doesn’t hurt them! Remove the can of syrup from the package and the queen cage and loosely replace the wood cover (without the staples).

packaged_jarred

4. Examine the queen cage. Do you see the queen? She should be in there with a few attendants. If she died during transit, don’t worry and continue with the installation.  If the queen died, call your supplier and they should send you a replacement queen free of charge.  When your new queen arrives, you’ll need to introduce her using the steps listed below.

nails

5. Remove the cork on the end of the cage with the white candy in the hole. If the candy is missing, you can plug the hole with a small piece of fondant.  If the candy is there, run a small nail through the candy to make a starter hole that the bees can eat through.

6. Out of two small frame nails bent at right angles, fashion a hanging bracket for the queen cage. The nails in the pictures immediately above and below are in the wrong end of the cage!

cage2

7. Spray your bees again with syrup and jar the package down so the bees drop to the bottom again.

8. Prepare the hive by removing five of the frames, but keep them nearby.

9. Install an entrance reducer using the smallest opening until the colony grows stronger in numbers and can defend the hive against intruders.  Probably about a month.

reducer

10. Now hang the queen cage (candy-side up) between the third and the forth frames. The screen-side of the cage needs to face toward the front or back of the hive, but not into the foundation.

cage_suspended

11. Spray your bees liberally with syrup for a third time and then jar the package down again. Toss away the wood cover and then shake and pour approximately half of the bees directly above the hanging queen cage. Pour (and shake) the remaining bees into the open area created by the missing five frames.

installdump
dumpp3

12. When the bees disperse a bit, gently replace four of the five frames. Be gentle so you don’t crush any bees. If the pile of bees is too deep, use your hand (with gloves on) to gently disperse the bees.

frameha

12. When the bees disperse a bit, gently replace four of the five frames. Be gentle so you don’t crush any bees. If the pile of bees is too deep, use your hand (with gloves on) to gently disperse the bees.

fillpour

13. Place a hive top feeder on the hive.  There are other types of feeding methods, but I like this one the best.  Fill the feeder with syrup.

14. Place the top cover on top of the feeder without the inner cover.

That’s it.  You did it!  Now leave the bees alone for a week.  If the bees are disturbed within the first 5 days, there is a chance they will kill the queen.  After the first week, you’ll want to perform weekly inspections, but that’s another story…Enjoy!