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Package BeesPackage bees

One good way of starting a new beehive is by purchasing a package of bees with a queen included. These screened shipping boxes come in different sizes ranging from 2 to 4 pounds of worker bees. They can be shipped through the post office or UPS but if you live anywhere close to the supplier, it is best to pick them up yourself. Package bees are shipped with a can of sugar syrup to keep them fed until they can be installed in your new hive.

Before you receive your package of bees, you'll need to have an empty hive body ready to install them into. Installation of package bees is pretty simple. A light sugar syrup is sprayed on the bees through the screen to wet their wings and prevent them from flying too much. The bees will clean each other up quickly and actually appreciate the extra food to get the hive established. The syrup can is removed, then the bees are simply shaken into the empty hive. A queen in a separate cage is usually suspended in the package, so this cage is also transferred to the new hive, suspended between the frames. The workers are attracted to the queen and will cluster around the queen cage thus insuring that the bees stay in the box. In a day or two when things settle down, the queen can be released so she can begin laying eggs.

It's best to install your package bees late in the day so they must settle in quickly, as they have to stop flying at sunset when it starts getting dark. It's also important to feed the new colony sugar syrup to give them the best chance of survival. If you are honeycombstarting a new hive with frames of beeswax foundation, it takes a lot of sugar to draw the wax out so the queen has a place to lay eggs. The worker bees convert the sugar they eat into wax. This wax is exuded from their abdomens in little flakes which they sculpt with their mandibles to make the hexagonal honeycombs. Honeybees are some of nature's finest architects, especially when you realize that they have chosen the most efficient shape and use the minimum of material to accomplish the task of storing honey.

 

 

 

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