Install your bees in the late afternoon or early evening to allow them time to accept their new home overnight.

  1. Spray your bees liberally with one-to-one syrup. This will reduce flying and keep the bees busy with grooming during installation.
  2. Thump the package on the ground so that the bees fall to the bottom.
  3. Remove the feeder can, using your hive tool if necessary. Remove the queen cage (see the metal tab in the slit near the can opening.) Then, return the syrup can to keep the bees in the package.
  4. Remove the cork or metal tab from the bottom of the queen cage. Check to make sure there is a candy plug. Place the queen cage between two of the middle frames in your brood box with the screened part of the cage turned so that it isn’t blocked by foundation (see photo below). If there are workers in the cage with the queen, turn the cage upside down so that the candy plug is on top. Pin the cage to the frame with your thumbtack.
  5. Spray the bees in the package with syrup again if necessary.
  6. Thump the package on the ground and remove the feeder can again.
  7. Shake the bees from the package into the open space around the queen cage.
  8. Gently push the frames together and replace the frames you removed.
  9. Immediately close the hive and reduce the entrance to a small opening with wood or grass. Don’t open the hive again for 10 days, except to feed.
  10. Feed the package, preferably with a top feeder, and don’t let the feeder run out of syrup until the bees are established.
  11. After 10 days check to make sure the queen has been released, remove the queen cage, and remove any burr comb the bees have built around the cage. Check to make sure there are eggs in the hive to verify that the queen is present.