Installation

Now for the first big challenge – how do I put bees into my brand new, shiny hives?

This is your first big challenge. Hopefully, you’ve watched all the videos out there, and participated at some of our Apiary events, so you have some hands-on experience. But, this is scary and intimidating. Let’s walk through the steps of doing a Nuc and a Package install.

The following assumes your hive is in place and level, on a sturdy hive stand.  Moving your hive or rebuilding your hive stand later is a challenge and should be avoided.

Nuc Install

Please see here for a short video demonstrating how to install a nuc. It’s pretty simple:

  • Suit up.
  • Take the lid off your hive and remove 5 frames from the side of the hive that gets morning sun.
  • Take the lid off the nuc.
  • Place the 5 frames from the nuc into the hive, keeping them in the original order, and in the same orientation as in the nuc.

If your hive tends to get morning sun on the RIGHT-hand side as you’re facing it:

  • If you are looking at your nuc and your hive from the front, the rightmost frame in the nuc will be placed against the rightmost wall of your hive.
  • All other frames will be placed into the hive in the same order as in the nuc.

If your hive tends to get morning sun on the LEFT-hand side as you’re facing it:

  • If you are looking at your nuc and your hive from the front, the leftmost frame in the nuc will be placed against the leftmost wall of your hive.
  • All other frames will be placed into the hive in the same order as in the nuc.

The frames are kept in order, and the side of the frame near the nuc entrance is kept near the hive entrance.

Package Install

Please also watch this video. Consider asking for some help… a package install is kinda scary the first time you do it. You can use this form to ask for some assistance from fellow club members in advance of when you get your package.

The following is from here.

Equipment

  • Spray bottle with sugar water (if the temps are below 60F, you want to avoid misting your packages.)
  • Mini marshmallow (one per queen cage) – if your queen cages don’t have a candy cork
  • Small piece of clean cardboard (minimum 6″ x 6″ should be plenty)
  • Pollen patty
  • Hive tool
  • Pocket knife or flat screwdriver
  • Veil
  • Suit
  • Gloves
  • Lit smoker (optional)

Procedure

  1. Suit up.
  2. Remove cover, and three to four middle frames from your hive and set them aside.
  3. Mist your packages with sugar water. 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.
  4. Give the package one forceful shake to knock as many bees as possible to the bottom.
  5. Remove the feeder container from the package. Pry it out with a knife or screwdriver.
  6. Quickly place a piece of clean cardboard or some other “lid” to prevent the bees from flying out at this point.
  7. 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.
  8. Replace the cork in the queen cage with a mini marshmallow. This gives the colony time to get used to their new queen while they eat through the marshmallow.
  9. Place your queen cage in the hive(see the video). Wrapped the metal tab around a middle frame and positioned her at the top evenly between two frames.
  10. Dump the bees into the hive. You can cut off the screen if that will help.
  11. Place the nearly empty package near the hive entrance and let the bees make their way into the hive throughout the day.
  12. Gently replace the frames until all of your frames are back and evenly spaced.
  13. Place a pollen patty on top of your frames between the inner cover or the top feeder, depending on your setup.
  14. Place your feeder of choice on the hive. Fill your feeder with 1:1 sugar water.
  15. Replace your cover. You’ll want something heavy on top — like a brick — to protect against predators or a windy day.
Scroll to Top