How to Install a Package
Important: Make sure to get your bees home as soon as possible once you receive them. They will be stressed, as they have been away from their home for several days with a limited amount of food and a strange queen. You need to get them into their new home as soon as possible. If the weather is below 40 degrees F, you may want to wait a day. If you have to wait, store your package in a cool, dark place like a basement or garage that has a temperature of 50-70 degrees F. You will need to feed them if you cannot place them into their new hive right away. Get a new, unused spray bottle and mix up one-third sugar to two-thirds water; that is one cup of sugar mixed with two cups of warm water. Spray the sugar water directly onto the bees through the screen. Don’t saturate them, just moisten as many bees as possible through both sides of the package. Do this at least a couple of times a day while in storage.
Your hive equipment should be ready for your bees BEFORE they arrive. The best time to install your bees is in the late afternoon or early evening because it helps your bees remain calm and they will settle in for the evening.
Put on your protective clothing!
1. Thirty minutes before hiving, spray your bees heavily with sugar syrup (a mixture of one part sugar to one part water), 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.
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 then loosely replace the wood cover (without the staples).
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. However, if the queen did die, call your supplier right away, and skip to Step 6. When your new queen arrives, you’ll need to introduce her using the steps listed below.
5. Gently spray down the caged queen and remove the cap from the JZBZ cage ONLY if there is candy in the tube of the cage. There should be white candy in the tube under the cap. If the candy is missing, you can plug the hole with a small piece of fondant, or a small marshmallow. If the candy is there, then go to the next step.
6. Prepare the hive by removing five of the frames, but keep them nearby.
7. 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.
8. Now suspend the cage between the third and the fourth frames. Make sure the bees have access to the queen through the holes of the suspended cage.
9. Spray your bees liberally with syrup for a second 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.
10. When the bees disperse a bit, gently replace the 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.
11. 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.
12. 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. Be patient! After the first week, check to see that the queen was accepted and then you’ll want to perform weekly inspections, but that’s another story…Enjoy!