Thursday, April 17, 2014

Bee Package Installation: April 2014

This year we were lucky. We only had to buy one package of bees instead of 3 because 2 of our beehives survived the cold NYC winter. I truly believe it was because of two factors. The first being that last year, we bought our Queen bee from a NJ Apiary that raises Jersey Queens from wintered stock. Picking winter hardy bees will help your stock survive the winter. We also wrapped our hives for the first time.  I think both of these factors contributed to the hive successfully surviving the winter. We picked up our package at the Beehive Barn in Cranbury, NJ. You can read all about our pickup here! Then we installed the package into the one hive that did not survive.  Installing a package is pretty simple. Keep a water bottle with sugar water handy, you can spray the bees with it to keep them occupied and to calm them down before you pour the bees in. You remove the sugar water can and set it aside. You remove the Queen box, and then you literally shake the bees onto one of the hive boxes. I wrote a more extensive write up about installing bee packages here.
We keep 9 frames in the box to leave room for the Queen box. At the bottom of the Queen box should be a cork plug holding in solid sugar. Remove the cork plug so that the solid sugar is exposed. The worker bees will eat through the solid sugar to release the Queen.
Here is a closeup of the Queen box. At the top, you can see the sugar. Usually, there will be 3-4 attendant bees inside the box with her to attend to her needs. After your remove the cork, place the Queen box between two frames. In a few days, she will be released by the worker bees. We usually go back to hive after 3 days to ensure that she was indeed released.
Here is the deep box with the bees poured in. We usually leave the bee package next to the bee box because there tends to be stragglers inside the box that don't come out right away. If you leave the box next to the hive, they will eventually make their way in.
Here's a view down the block from where our beehive is located in Brooklyn. I think the bees have a great view! Don't you?
As we were packing up and getting ready to leave, I saw this honeybee trying to drink coffee from this cup. She was half way in the cup with her little legs dangling. These bees made a long journey up from Georgia so they must have been really hungry. No coffee for you little bee, I moved her back to the hive to feed on sugar water.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog. I read several of your beekeeping posts and will read more. I have never heard of cedar chips, but it must have worked! Great job keeping two hives alive. I wish I would have known about the New Jersey supplier. I have never had losses like I did this year, and I didn't even know who to order from. Still haven heard from the company I ordered my bees from. Very discouraging. Keep up the good work!

    Cindy Bee


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