We just installed two packages of bees into their new homes here at Tule Peak Ranch! It's our first time working with bees, so it was pretty exciting.
Here's what the package of bees looks like:
We have two packages, one for each of our hives. One package contains 3lbs of bees (about 10,000), one queen in her own separate cage, and can of sugar syrup that feeds the bees until they're introduced to their new hive.
The first step was to spray the bees with sugar syrup. This makes it so that can't fly as much, but doesn't hurt them (they probably like it, because yum).
Then we knocked the bees to the bottom of the package and removed the can of sugar syrup, which also let us take out the queen cage.
This was actually the first time either of had even seen a queen bee in real life!
The queen is kept in the cage by a cork. We had to carefully remove the cork and replace it with a straw that was filled with candy. Then we hung the queen cage between two frames in the hive box. Over the next few days the bees will eat through the candy and release the queen.
Finally, we had to get the rest of the bees into the hive. Because it was fairly windy, I decided not to shake the bees into the hive. Instead I inverted the package on top the hive with a few frames removed and placed an empty hive box over the package and put the lid on it. This will let the bees move down into the hive, where the queen is, while safe from the wind. After a couple of hours I'll go back remove the packages and empty hive boxes.
And now we have bees!