It’s the time of year again, when you check your hives after winter and you realize that you may be need some new packages for your bee yard or……. if you are a new beekeeper you will need a bee package to start your first beehive.
If the latter is your case, maybe you are wondering what a “package day” is all about.
Well, we can help you here showing a few pictures of our experience in this matter. By clicking in each image, it will enlarge.
We hope that they illustrate well and give you an idea of how to start.
Package day is always a fun day full of excitement since you finally get your own bees
And this is the way the bees arrive. There are about 10,000 bees in a package plus a can full of syrup and the queen cage. This will be the “starter kit” for your hive.
To open the package what you need to do is remove the syrup can. Keep it aside since you will use it later.
Since the queen that comes in the package is not the mother of the bees that come with her, she needs to be protected from them. This is why the queen comes in what is called “queen cage” and you will need to keep her inside that cage until the bees accept her in the hive.
The queen cage comes with a little piece of cork, which is keeping an opening on the queen cage closed, you will need to remove it very carefully so the queen doesn’t escape from the cage, and switch it with a little piece of marshmallow. The bees will start removing the marshmallow, this will take a couple of days and by the time they finish and the cage is open; they already accept the queen as “their own queen”.
Set aside the queen cage for a few minutes and then drop the whole package inside the deep. Since the bees were inside the box for several days, they will be very happy to be free and they will be all over the place, so even if they are nice at this time since they don’t recognize the new hive as their home yet, always is a good idea to wear your beekeeping suit.
Once the bees are in their new hive, you can add some more frames in the deep but not all of them, because you will need space to place the queen cage on place.
Now is time to introduce the queen in the hive. You will notice in the queen cage a metal part that will help you to hang the cage in one of the frames.
Once the queen cage is on place, you can finish loading the deep with the frames
The bees will need some syrup to start building comb in the empty frames, and now is the time when you add to the hive the syrup can that come with the package. For this, you can add for a few days an extra empty box on top of the hive so the syrup can stay inside the hive. After a couple of days the bees will finished the syrup and you can remove the can definitely.
To finish the whole process, close the hive with the inner cover and the top cover and since some bees will stay in the package box for a while, is a good idea to leave it near the entrance of the hive for a few days, so all the bees that came in the package go inside the new hive