Your First Honey Package

headshot may

by Buddy May

By now your queen bee should be removed from her cage. If not, then release her by removing the cork from the non-sugar side. When she is out of the cage, remove the cage and queen ring, if one was used.

You should keep sugar water available to the bees at all times. They will take this solution and use it as a carbohydrate along with pollen as a protein for their food source. You may have a boardman feeder, plastic bag, or a hive top feeder to accomplish this. I prefer the hive top feeder because it gives you access to fill without disturbing the bees.

You, at this point should have the following arrangement: Hive should be off the ground and facing East or South East, you should have a screen bottom board, hive body for brood, and inner cover, and a telescoping top. I suggest that you use a grease patty (2 parts sugar to 1 part Crisco) and place it on the top of the brood frames. It is going to be cold for a few days, so do not open the hive unless the temperature is above 55 deg. F. The queen will begin to lay her eggs soon and the hive needs to be warm for incubation. DO NOT PUT ANY OTHER BROOD BOXES OR HONEY SUPERS ON YOUR HIVE UNTIL THEY HAVE DRAWN THE COMB OUT IN THE LOWER BROOD CHAMBER. This will take them a couple of weeks to draw out. After which you may place on ONE SHALLOW brood box for them to draw out. This will take an additional week or two for them to draw this out. When the nectar becomes available, they will stop taking the sugar solution you are providing.

When the weather warms up, you may open your hive, use a little smoke, and check to see what is happening. You will notice the queen has begun laying her eggs. She will be laying drone eggs first and then worker bee eggs next. Do not open you hive unless it is 55 degrees or higher and do not be more than a few minutes in the hive. Remember, the bees are keeping the hive to a temperature of around 90 degrees F so the eggs and larvae can be incubated. After 7 or 8 days, you will see the cells begin to be capped. The drones will emerge in a total of 24 days (from egg) and the worker bees will emerge in 21 days. I suggest you do not go in the hives more than once per week or two weeks. Give them time to make their hive, there is a lot they have to do.