Have you ever seen how a package of bees is installed into a hive? I was shocked at the process, after 15 years of only installing swarms I had never installed a package of bees, ever. Since I have a lot of people asking questions of how to do it, I decided I should know what it is about.
I had my chance when 20 packages arrived last year that we were going to put into nucleus hives. I asked the package guy how to do it. 'Hmmm!' that's pretty aggressive I thought. Bang the screened package box hard on a surface to shake down the bees, then feeder can is pulled out and the screened box is shaken madly until the bees eventually come out of that 4 inch hole. 'Yikes!'
So I thought why don't we just pop off the screen on the side of the package and shake them all at once into the hive. Well if you take off the screen you can't get your $5 rebate for returning the package box next year. But who cares! 5 bucks to avoid the hassle of trying to shake bees thorough a little hole and the stress to the bees. Seriously? You mean thousands of people in the US are going through this silly process to save $5? Really?
Let's all do the sane method. You will need a thin screwdriver to pry up the wooden frame holding in the screen, that's it. Then the concept of hanging the queen cage from one of the top bars in the hive is a bad idea. This practice is almost a guarantee to get cross comb. Why? Because the orientation of the queen cage in the new hive will most certainly be off and the bees will have already decided in the package box how that first little comb will be orientated.
So, the point here is to walk the queen into the entrance of the hive. No candy plugs for the bees to free the queen. Just walk her in. We did this process for 20 packages, successfully, no problems. Note: Before you release the queen make sure the bees and the queen have been together in the package for a couple of days so the bees will accept her. Check with your bee package supplier.
So if you are going to install a package of bees just look at the video, I'm sure this is the best approach.
Corwin installing a Package of Bees
Corwin shows how to simply take off the screen on one side of the package and get the bees in with a shake.
Things to consider when installing a package of bees
A honeybee fanning after installing the colony into a hive. She is sending her scent pheromone alerting others in the colony of the hive location, where the queen is