April 12, 2009

Secret Installation

A normal package install goes something like this:
1) take the feeding can out
2) hang the queen cage in the hive
3) knock the box on the ground, hard, then shake and pour the bees into the hive.

The problem with this method is that you end up with a cloud of confused bees, and new beekeepers are going to want to wear protective gear. Not exactly clandestine.

We are still keeping our bees a secret so we decided on a walk-away install:
1) same as above
2) same as above
3) No roughing up the bees. Just leave the package on top (like a super) so they can walk in on their own.

Well, the best laid plans...

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No peeking inside for a week!

What to do after installing a Package
Feed as long as comb needs to be built.
Week 1
Leave them alone.
Week 2
Release the Queen if the bees didn't free her.
Week 3
Look for eggs and larvae. Move the falseback to stay ahead of the bees but keep 'em tight and building straight.
Weeks 4 and 5
Look for capped brood. Look for supercedure cells.
Week 6 through 8
Keep moving the falseback as necessary.
Continue to feed as long as the bees will take it.
Make sure they always have 2-4 bars to build on. 

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