Easy Package Installations

Oh my. I just looked at my “recent” posts … and it has been since December. So sorry; I’ll try to do better!

Part of that is because I post frequently on my Facebook page, “Charlotte Hubbard, Beekeeper and …” I also post on the Kalamazoo Bee Club site. Between working bees, eating ice cream, and other priorities — posting here has taken a hit. I’ll strive to do better. But I keep getting distracted by bees bringing in pollen. I could (and have) watched it for hours.

Is that pollen basket amazing? And impressive how she selected pollen that matches her hive!
Is that pollen basket amazing? And impressive how she selected pollen that matches her hive!

Many folks will be obtaining package bees in the next few months. I’ve done hundreds of package installs over the years, and wished I’d known about this less-stress, better-for-bees method years ago. Dr. Larry Connor recommended it to me; I now teach it in my bee-ginner classes and have used it very successfully.

Someone from one of my classes found a lovely video of this method (put box in vs shaking). While a bit long, it makes a very compelling case for the gentler method. Find it at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9qu-zMhtQ0

Three points regarding this particular video though:

1) PLEASE wear a protective veil, minimally. Things can go terribly awry and stings to the face are tough to take. There is no macho in beekeeping.

2) If you’re installing into medium boxes, the shipping box won’t fit. You can lay it on its side, with the opening just above the frame where you’ve affixed the queen. You’ll of course need another medium box surrounding it.

3) Don’t forget to remove the shipping box about 24 hours later, and to add in all frames. I know folks who have forgotten both; bees will beautifully fill the space. Also remove the second medium box you used to surround the shipping box.

I’ve also included a few reminder pictures for handling the queen …

Here's an example of hanging the queen cage. Workers will have access to groom her, and spread her important essence throughout the hive. Should a queen-attending bee die, the horizontal layout ensures she won't block the hole.
Here’s an example of hanging the queen cage. Workers will have access to groom her, and spread her important essence throughout the hive. Should a queen-attending bee die, the horizontal layout ensures she won’t block the hole.
We start a hole in the fondant with a wood screw if there's a huge chunk of fondant.
We start a hole in the fondant with a wood screw if there’s a huge chunk of fondant.

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