How to Install Package Bees in a Langstroth Hive
How to Easily Install Package Bees in a New HivePromoted by Miller Bee Supply
Watch Time: 3 minutes
Learning how to install package bees isn’t all that difficult, but if you are new to beekeeping, it can be helpful to see the process from start to finish. In this video tutorial, we’ll take you through the basic steps of installing your new honey bees in a Langstroth hive.
Common Equipment Setup
- Elevated platform
- Hive stand
- Bottom board
- 10-frame deep box with frames
- Inner cover
- Entrance reducer
- Feeder of choice
For Installation Day
- Spray bottle with sugar water (if the temps are below 60F, you want to avoid misting your packages.)
- 1:1 sugar water for feeder
- Mini marshmallow (one per queen cage) – if you queen cages don’t have a candy cork
- Small piece of clean cardboard (minimum 6″ x 6″ should be plenty)
- Hive tool
- Pocket knife
- Lit smoker (optional)
Pick up Your Package Bees
You’ll want to pick up your bees as soon as possible from your local dealer or from the post office. To control temperature and ward off any stray bees flying around your vehicle, a big sheet comes in handy. Keeping them in a trunk is acceptable as well, as long as it isn’t an extraordinarily hot day. If you are unable to install them promptly, keep them in a temperate location (not too cold or hot), like a dark, draft-free basement, garage or outbuilding. If they have run out of feed — generally a tin can inserted into the package — you can mist the outside of the package screen twice as day until install with a 1:1 sugar syrup in a clean spray bottle.
OK, Let’s Install!
- Remove the telescoping cover, inner cover, and three to four middle frames and set them aside.
- Next, mist your packages. Remember, if it’s below 60F, avoid this step as you don’t want to chill your bees. This gives the bees a little boost after a long journey.
- Give the package one forceful shake to knock as many bees as possible to the bottom.
- Remove the feeder container from the package.
- Place a piece of clean cardboard or some other “lid” to prevent the bees from flying out at this point.
- Grab the tab for the queen cage and shimmy it out. Remove the queen cage and inspect her (without releasing her!). She will have other bees clustering around her. You can brush them off gently with a feather or your hand.
- Replace the cork with a mini marshmallow. This gives the colony time to get used to their new queen while they eat through the marshmallow.
- Place your queen cage. As you can see from the video, we wrapped the metal tab around a middle frame and positioned her at the top evenly between two frames.
- Next, dump the bees into the hive.
- Place the nearly empty package near the hive entrance and let the bees make their way into the hive throughout the day.
- Gently replace the frames until all of your frames are back and evenly spaced.
- Place a pollen patty on top of your frames between the inner cover or the top feeder, depending on your setup.
- Place your feeder of choice — Boardsman, top feeder, in-frame feeder, to name a few. Fill your feeder with 1:1 sugar water and Honey B Healthy.
- Return your inner cover and telescoping cover. You’ll want something heavy on top — like a brick — to protect against predators or a windy day.