Welcome to NewBee University!
Lesson 4: Installing Bees Into Your Hive
The most exciting and nerve racking day in a NewBees beekeeping life, installing your first bees! Looking back on a video I made when I installed my first package of bees made me laugh at how apprehensive I was. You can read and learn all about bees and how to safely handle them, but until you get hands on experience it often doesn’t sink in.
1.) Installing Packaged Bees
- Prepare a 1 to 1 sugar syrup solution (described in the lesson: Feeding Bees) for feeding your new package and reserve some in a new clean spay bottle. This will be used to mist the bees before installation.
- With your hive completely assembled (with one deep hive body) remove the outer and inner cover and keep them close by. Remove two frames from the center of your hive and place them near by.
- Mist your bees lightly with the sugar water and then firmly, but carefully hit the package against the ground to knock bees from the top of the package to the bottom.
- Use your hive tool to loosen the queen cage and pry out the feeding can. Replace the wood cover over the open hole to keep the bees in the package.
- One end of the queen cage will have a cork and a candy plug. Remove the cork but leave the candy plug in place. The bees will slowly remove the candy plug giving them plenty of time to get acquainted with their new queen. Then attach the queen cage with the candy plug upward to the center of a frame using a rubber band.
- Replace the frame toward the center of the hive and gently shift another frame against the queen cage leaving a two frame opening to on side of the frames containing the queen.
- Give the bees another misting. Stick the package against the ground shifting the bees back to the bottom. If the bees are not settled at the bottom you can repeat this step.
- Then remove the cover you placed over the package opening and pour the bees into the hive in the opening you left. be sure to tip the package back and forth to get as many bees as possible into the hive. Many bees will fly up and into the air, this is normal.
- Carefully replace the two frames you have removed letting them sink slowly down and bees move out of their way.
- Replace your covers carefully.
- Leave the package in front of the hive so that the remaining bees will find their way to their new home.
- Take a deep breath and congratulations, you have installed your first package of bees.
- Return 3 days later to ensure that you queen has been released. If she has not wait a few more days and release her by carefully removing the candy plug yourself.
- About 10 days after installation you should be able to see eggs that the queen has laid. If not contact your package supplier immediately.
2.) Installing a Nuc
Be certain before beginning that you have matched your hive body to the size of nuc you ordered as they can come in both deep or medium frame size.
- When getting a nuc it is recommended that you place the nuc on top of your hive stand in the exact location that the permanent hive will be located. This will give them a the chance to orientate to their new location and cool down if they have gotten at all aggressive from being transported.
- A day or two later more the nuc carefully to the side of the permanent hive location and place your hive on top of the hive stand where the nuc had been located.
- Make sure that your hive body has the same number of frames removed as you will be adding from your nuc. Then remove one more for added working room.
- Move the frames carefully from your nuc into the hive body placing them in the center and being sure that you keep their order and direction the same as they were in the nuc you removed them from.
- Replace the additional frame you removed and double count that you have the correct number of frames in your hive body (10 in a 10 frame box and 8 if you are using 8 frame equipment).