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Installing Package Bees




Division of Plant Industry – Apiculture

8995 East Main Street

Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068-3399





Package bees are sold by various bee supply companies and commercial bee producers. Orders should be placed early, so that the bees can be delivered during April and the first half of May (fruit and dandelion bloom). A three pound package with queen should be ordered if you are going to introduce the bees to foundation. The following steps should be observd to avoid problems with installation.

  1. When packages arrive, place in a cool dark room; ideal temperature is about 65 to 70 degrees F.
  2. Feed bees by brushing or sprinkling sugar syrup (1:1 ratio of sugar to water) over the screen surface.
  3. A one story hive (bottom board, deep hive body, 10 frames, inner cover and outer cover) must be ready before the installation of the bees.
  4. Install bees in the late afternoon so they will settle down and not drift.
  5. Reduce the hive entrance with an entrance reducer or lightly stuff green grass in the entrance.
  6. Shake the cage vigorously so that the clustered bees will fall to the floor of the cage.
  7. Remove the wooden cover of the cage.
  8. The feeder can will then be exposed; remove this can.
  9. Remove the queen cage and check the queen to make sure she is alive.
  10. Using a nail, puncture the candy in the queen cage, so the queen can be released easier by the workers.
  11. Half of the ten frames should be removed leaving five frames in the hive.
  12. Place the queen cage with the candy end up between two frames in the hive -_ the cage screen should be exposed to the bees.
  13. Replace the frames which were removed so that there is a total of ten frames.
  14. Then the package bee cage can be placed in front of the hive entrance so the few remaining bees will crawl into the hive.
  15. Next, provide the bees with a gallon can or large jar of sugar syrup.
  16. Place an empty hive body on top of the new hive.
  17. The syrup can is then placed inside the hive body resting on the top bars of the frames.
  18. The feeder can should be checked in about five days and refilled if empty. (it is very important to provide sufficient food to the bees.)
  19. In about a week, inspect the colony for eggs and larvae.
  20. Remove the empty queen cage.
  21. If the queen fails, a new queen should be introduced immediately; if not, unite the package with another colony or package.


Prepared by: Gordon Rudloff
State Apiarist
Ohio Department of Agriculture