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Handling and Installing Packages

As we write this, we are sitting at Olivarez Honey Bees in California, waiting to load the packages and bring them to BeeManiacs.

Pickup date for the packages at BeeManiacs is April 28, rain or shine.

Bees in a package are very vulnerable and have a limited capability to regulate temperature and air flow. They depend on the beekeeper to provide the right environment during transport.

Transport tips

  • Once you have your package/s, we recommend you to go to your bee yard and install the bees as soon as possible.
  • We do not recommend transporting packages on the back of pick up trucks. There could be too much airflow (cold air) or could be exposed to too much sun or even rain. Car trunks are not a good idea either, because they could get too hot and lack ventilation.
  • It would be better for the bees to ride in the vehicle with the beekeeper with average or “room” temperatures. The longer the trip home, the more important it is to provide the right travel environment.
  • Just transport the package/s as you would a pet. Don’t leave the package inside a car (it could get too hot or too cold).
  • If you bring someone along for the ride, make sure they are comfortable with sharing the car with thousands of bees.
  • It may be a good idea to bring a veil or any protective gear, just in case.

Installing the package

  • Try to install the package later in the day, to prevent robbing from existing colonies and reduce chances of absconding.
  • Get the hive set up and ready to receive the bees ahead of time.
  • Take into account that the package is installed in one single box. If you bought a hive kit with multiple boxes, just use the first one. If you have a non-conventional hive, like top-bar, horizontal or AZ Slovenian hive, please note that you have to use follower boards or some kind of divider to make the chamber where the package is installed smaller.
  • You will need to feed the bees with sugar syrup (mix of granulated sugar and water 1:1) so make sure to have enough sugar and a feeder to deliver the syrup close to the bees.

A package that is installed correctly will start drawing out comb, have brood, and expand for the rest of the season. If there’s something wrong with the queen or the colony, we have about 7 to 10 days to solve the problem.

But when the conditions for the package are bad, all the bees could die within three days, without having a chance of establishing the colony (for example due to lack of syrup feed or if installed in a hive that is too big or has too many boxes).

When you pick up your package at BeeManiacs, we will give you detailed printed instructions to follow when you install them at home.

In the case you run into any problems, email us at livebees@beemaniacs.com as soon as possible. In many cases, we can help you resolve most problems, as long as we’re contacted right away within the first week.

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