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Getting Ready for the Bees

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Finally, the weather will be improving a little bit this weekend, when the bees arrive.

Transport requirements for Nucs and Packages are a little different.

Nucs are usually easy to transport, as long as they’re provided enough air circulation. Honey bees in the nuc can easily warm themselves up to the right temperature but could have a harder time removing excess heat while being enclosed inside the transport cardboard box. 

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

Sunday, April 24 should be a nice day for transporting and installing bees. 

Transport tips

  • Once you have your bees, please try to install them on that same day or keep them safe until installation.
    • Packages should be installed on the same day.
    • Nucs can be installed within a couple of days (you still need to place them on their permanent location and remove the plug so they can fly in and out of the cardboard box).
  • We do not recommend transporting packages on the back of pick-up trucks (unless you have some type of enclosure to protect the bees while allowing some airflow). There could be too much airflow (cold air) or too much sun or even rain. Car trunks are not a good idea for packages or nucs either, because they could get too hot and lack ventilation.
  • Nucs could be transported on the backs of pickup trucks.
  • 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 live bees inside a parked car (it could get too hot).
    • Once you get the bees, go straight to the installation location.
  • 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. Bees are smart and sometimes figure out how to get out of any enclosure.

Installing the bees

  • Get the hive hardware set up and ready to receive the bees ahead of time.
  • 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. You must feed sugar syrup to the bees, even if you can provide frames with honey from previous colonies (the syrup provides nutrition, water, and encourages the bees to settle down in the new hive and prepare the combs for the colony).
  • The colony should be 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 a 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.
    • If you have a Flow hive, you cannot use the plastic Flow frames when installing your bees (you need to use a box with standard frames).
  • Try to install the bees mid-afternoon, to prevent robbing from existing colonies and reducing the chances of absconding (when they all take off and leave) and drifting (when they go from one colony to a different one).
    • The bees need time to settle down, gather around the queen, and warm-up before temperatures drop, so try not to install right before dusk.

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

But when the conditions for the colony 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).

For installing a Nuc you just need to move the frames into the hive. 

If you would like to have a printout of instructions handy to install your package, you can download and print our instructions page. You can preview the pdf file at this link. 

Mini marshmallows will be available for you to take home with the packages.

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

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