Driftless Prairies: Native Habitat Restoration

Nature inspires awe!

Installing a Bee Package

The bees arrive in a wire cage that contains 2 or 3 pounds of bees.  A 3 pound package contains 12,000 to 15,000 bees.

The bees arrive in a wire cage that contains 2 or 3 pounds of bees. A 3 pound package contains 12,000 to 15,000 bees.

You only need one box of frames to start your new colony.

You only need one box of frames to start your new colony.

 

Remove some frames to make room for the bees.

Remove some frames to make room for the bees.

You can distract the bees by spraying sugar water on them.

You can distract the bees by spraying sugar water on them.

Remove the can of sugar water.  The strip of metal to the left of the can is the queen’s cage.

Remove the can of sugar water. The strip of metal to the left of the can is the queen’s cage.

Remove the can from the bee package.

Remove the can from the bee package.

Grasp the metal strip attached to the queen’s cage and remove it from the package, being careful not to drop it into the bees.

Grasp the metal strip attached to the queen’s cage and remove it from the package, being careful not to drop it into the bees.

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The queen in her cage.

 

Queen cages will either have a sugar or cork plug.

Queen cages will either have a sugar or cork plug.

Replace the cork plug with a marshmallow that the bees will need to eat through to release the queen, giving them time to accept her into their new home.

Replace the cork plug with a marshmallow that the bees will need to eat through to release the queen, giving them time to accept her into their new home.

Install the queen’s cage securely between a couple of frames.

Install the queen’s cage securely between a couple of frames.

Then shake the bees into the hive.  The bees’ exoskeleton protects them so this does not harm them.

Then shake the bees into the hive. The bees’ exoskeleton protects them so this does not harm them.

The bees will stay in with the queen in the hive.

The bees will stay in with the queen in the hive.

Cover the hive and store the almost empty package by the hive, allowing the remaining bees to join the group at their own pace.

Cover the hive and store the almost empty package by the hive, allowing the remaining bees to join the group at their own pace.

The hive once it's covered.

The hive once it’s covered.

Return to the hive in 2 or 3 days. The bees should have eaten through the sugar plug or marshmallow and released the queen.  If not, remove the plug and introduce her to the hive.  If you don’t see the queen, start checking for eggs.

 

The small white c-shaped objects at the bottom of the cells are the eggs – great sight to see for a beekeeper! If you do not find eggs, you will need to reintroduce another queen.

The small white c-shaped objects at the bottom of the cells are the eggs – great sight to see for a beekeeper! If you do not find eggs, you will need to reintroduce another queen.

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