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Introducing Package Bees to the Hive:

There are several different methods you can use to introduce your new package of bees to their hive.  The below method is what we find to be the fastest and easiest with less chance for the bees to build out comb in the package box - which you do not want.

Helpful video we recommend (not ours):

  1.  Prepare the Hive to Receive the Package

    1. Remove top lid and inner cover

    2. Remove 4 frames from the middle of the brood box and set aside

  1. Prepare the Package for Introduction

    1. Remove the wood lid on the top of the package (don’t worry, bees will not be able to fly out at this point.  What you will see is the top of the feed can.

    2. Give your package a hard shake to knock them down within the package. This will help the feed can to not be covered in bees when you remove it in the next step.

    3. Quickly remove the feed can using a hive tool or pliers, and replace the package lid to prevent bees from escaping.  Discard feed can.

    4. Give the bees a hard shake again to knock them down within the package

      1. Quickly remove the Queen cage (attached to black strap stapled to top of package) and replace the package lid to prevent bees from escaping.

    5. IMPORTANT – there are 2 corks on the small queen cage at either end.  Remove ONLY the cork on the WHITE CANDY END.

    6. The queen will not and should not be able to escape right away.  It will take 3-4 days for the worker bees to eat their way through the white candy to the queen to release her.

  1. Introduce the Queen

    1. Hang your queen cage in the middle of one of the two inner frames in the brood box using a staple or push pin/thumb tack to secure it to the top of the frame.  The cage should be vertical vs horizontal with the screen facing away from the frame so that the bees can access the queen to feed her.

  1. Introduce the Package

    1. Give your package a hard shake to knock them down within the package.

    2. Invert the package and ‘pour’ your bees in to your hive in the space you created by removing the 4 frames in step 1.2.  Rock the package from side to side to expel bees. 

    3. Set the mostly empty package box at the front of the hive on the ground.  Any bees still left inside will make their way up into the hive on their own.

  1. Close-Up the Hive

    1. Replace the 4 frames you removed in step 1.2 back into the hive.  Lightly place them back into the hive giving the bees time to move out of the way.

    2. Replace inner cover and hive lid

    3. Add entrance reducer to front of hive on the smaller opening.  The smaller opening is for newly established hives & for the fall.  The smaller opening cuts down on the amount of territory the bees need to guard to fend off robbers (bees from other hives, yellow jackets, etc.)

  1. Next Steps

    1. In 4-5 days (not before), open up your hive and check to see if the queen has been released.  If not, you can now remove the cork at the non-candy end to immediately release her.  Since the bees have had a few days to get acclimated to the new queens scent, they will not try to harm her.

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