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Learn How to Become a Beekeeper (Part 3 of 5)

These basic beekeeping methods will help you hive your new bees and maintain them successfully. Before buying queens, packages, nucs, or colonies please read through these steps. It will help you determine the best method for you. Also, if you have questions about the process you will have time to find the answers before 10,000 bees are buzzing in your hands.



1 Prepare your hive before the nucleus


2 Prepare a feeder with honey or sugar

syrup (dissolve 6–8 lbs. of sugar in 1

gallon of water). The entrance of the

hive should be reduced to a width of

about 1–2 inches by stuffing grass or

newspaper into the entrance slot.

3 Remove frames or combs from the hive

body (you need to make room for

4 combs from the nuc).

4 Wear a hat and veil, and light your

smoker. Take the lid off the nuc and

gently smoke the top of the frames.

5 Carefully place the frames of brood and

bees from the nuc into the hive. Be very

careful not to mash the queen.

6 Initially, the 4 frames of brood and bees

should be no more than one comb of

foundation away from the feeder (if you

are using a frame feeder in your hive).

Close the hive.

7 In 4–10 days enlarge the entrance to

2–4 inches, add feed and check for

eggs. The eggs look like miniature

grains of rice positioned vertically in

the bottom of the cells.

8 If you do not have any eggs, please

contact us immediately. If a nuc fails

to flourish or even dies, typically it is due to

the nuc’s queen not surviving transit or the

hiving process.


Package Bees



1 Prepare your hive before the bees arrive.

2 Prepare a feeder with honey or sugar

syrup (dissolve 6–8 lbs. sugar in 1-gallon

water). Reduce the entrance to 1–2

inches with grass or newspaper. If you

feel you need to contain the bees 100%,

use a screen.

3 Gently remove the feed can and queen

cage from the package, then replace the

can. This procedure is made easier by

tipping the package over, or by prying

the can up with a hive tool.

4 Look in the queen cage to make sure

the queen is alive. If the queen is dead,

contact us immediately and hive the

package with the dead queen.

5 Remove the cork from the candy end

of the cage and hang it candy-end down

between 2 of the center frames in your

hive. The bees must have access to the

screen on the queen cage.

6 Remove 4 of the outside frames and

set the package of bees into the hive.

Remember to remove the can so the

bees can crawl out. Alternatively, turn

the shipping cage bottom up, over

the hive, and shake the bees into the

hive over the queen. Cover the hive

and do not disturb it for at least a week.

7 After 1 week, enlarge the entrance to

2–4 in. The queen should be out of her

cage and eggs present in 1–2 combs. If

you have started the hive on foundation

only, the bees should be drawing wax

on 2–3 frames.

8 Starvation of the bees is the most

significant hazard to success. Continue

feeding the colony, taking care not

to get robbing started, until you are sure

the bees are producing enough

honey to sustain themselves. Robbing

Essential Gear

is when bees from another hive ‘attack’

the colony, robbing it of all of its honey

and pollen. Robbing can cause the

death of a colony. In the beginning, too

much feed is better than too little.

Queen (push in cage)



A push-in cage allows the queen to start

laying eggs immediately and will increase

the chances of acceptance. This method

requires handling the queen, which must

be done with great care.

1 Make sure the hive has no queen or

queen cells present.

2 To make a push-in cage, cut a flat

6”x6” inch screen wire. Cut slits 3/4”

in from the top right and left, as well

as the bottom right and left. Fold at

the cuts to make a 3-dimensional box.

3 Select a comb with emerging brood.

Brush the bees off the comb and place

the push-in cage over an area of

empty cells, a few emerging brood

cells and open nectar.

4 Remove the queen from the candy

cage and put her under the wire cage.

Do not allow any other adult bees

under the cage. Push the cage into the

comb, leaving enough room for the

queen to move freely underneath. Make

sure bees can’t get under the cage.

5 The frame with the queen and cage

should be placed in the middle of the

brood nest (if no brood is present,

place in the middle of the cluster).

6 Remove the push-in cage after 4 days

or after the bees are no longer clinging

to the cage. If the bees are clinging

to the cage instead of calmly walking

on it, they have not accepted the

queen yet and more time is needed

before the cage is removed.

7 The colony should be disturbed as

little as possible for the next 2 weeks,

while the queen establishes

her brood nest.







1 Make sure your hive does not have a

queen. Remove the cork from the candy

end of the queen cage. Use a small

nail or like tool to gently open a small

hole in the candy. Be careful not to

poke through and stab the queen, or

make the hole so big the bees can

crawl through.

2 Wedge the queen cage between 2 of

the center frames with the screen on the

cage exposed downward toward the

bottom of the hive so that the bees can

access the queen through the screen.

The bees must also have access to the

hole in the candy end of the cage.

3 Make sure the candy end of the cage

is slightly lower than the area of the

cage occupied by the queen. Make

certain the queen cage is securely

embedded in wax or is secured to the

top of the frames. If the cage falls to

the bottom of the hive, the queen may

not survive. The queen must be

placed in the brood nest or the part of

the hive where bees are clustered.

4 Close the hive and wait 1 week before

opening it. When you make your 1-week

inspection, the queen should be out of

her cage, and she should have eggs laid

in 1 or 2 of the combs. Some queens

can take a little longer to begin laying.

If you see she is released but there are

no eggs, check again in 3–5 days. If she

is not out of the cage, release her into

the hive by removing the screen and

allowing her to walk into the hive.

Be careful not to let the wind or her wings

carry her away from the hive.






1 After unloading your colony, make

sure that the bees are free to fly and

that you have provided adequate

ventilation. A colony with 7–9 combs

of brood, bees and honey should have

at least 6 inches of open entrance

space at the bottom (though more may

be advisable, especially in hot weather

or full sun exposure).

2 Unless you have no time to inspect

within the next 2–7 days, we recommend

allowing at least 24 hours for the

bees to recover from the move before

opening the cover and inspecting the


3 When inspecting, you may wish to

wait at least 3 days after the move to

do so as the presence of embryos or

eggs more than 72 hours after the

move will confirm that the queen

survived the move.

4 Check the colony for the presence

of eggs or embryos, or visually locate

the queen to assure that your hive

is queenright.

5 Check your hive for adequate space

for the colony to put nectar and store

honey. If there is no empty comb or

foundation in the hive, add a super

of foundation or comb to provide a

place for honey storage.

6 There is usually no need to feed a

full-strength colony immediately after

moving it to your apiary site.

Exceptions include acquisition of your

colony in drought or extreme

heat or cold, or other periods where

prolonged periods where the weather

precludes or reduces bee foraging


Posted in Beekeeping Techniques on 10/11/2017 10:47 pm

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