Re: Installing my bees, read different things, WHAT is the right way? HELP!
You can't really mess it up, no matter how you do it, you will do it ok. Bees are really flex able. This is my first year too, but I've installed a few packages, extracted a few swarms, and got a Nuc installed. So I've learned a few in the short time I've had them. First thing you'll need to learn and remember is the old saying, "if you ask 10 beekeepers a question you will get 11 answers". This is why there are so many books and so many people saying to do it this way or that. They are all right, but just different ways to do it.
To start, I would probably spray them with sugar water as soon as you get them. They might have been in the box for a while and need water. I would spray them again when you get home and every hour before install and then before you install. You can't feed them to much unless them is water pooling on the bottom. I don't know that a dark place will help, but out of the sun is good.
I would put only one box on to start. It will take them a few weeks probably to build out the wax on it and if you have two boxes to start with they will build on the second one and might not go back down to the bottom one. That's why waiting till 80% of the box is drawn out is advised.
I would go ahead and take out a few frames and dump the bees in, replace the frames, and then mount the queen in the middle. I don't know that the direction of the candy box/opening really matters. The queen being there a few days is what will make sure most of the bees stay, and once the workers build a little wax for her to start laying in, then she will stay.
Once most of them are in, I'd put the box on the ground outside. The bees inside will stick their butts in the air and tell the other bees left in the box that this is where the queen is and to come in here.
Yes, you can go right to the second hive and do the same thing. Some bees might switch queens/hives but in the end it won't really matter that much.
The timing to check on them is a matter of discussion for a bunch of people. Some say just let her go the day you get her, some say 3 days, others say a week. I think if you are just going in to pop the candy on the queen then get out, 3 days is about right. I made sure I could get to the queen through the inner cover so I didn't even really open the hive.
I then wait 2 weeks to get back in the hive for the first big inspection. That should be long enough for them to make a bit of wax, the queen to start laying, and some of the eggs to turn into larva that you can easily see. There should be some nectar also on the edges. Once you see this, you have a successful hive and you can do what you want.
Personally I wouldn't put on a Q excluder at least for the first year. The first year is pretty much just for them to build up enough food to make it through the winter. It is always better for them to have to much than not enough, especially the first year. IMHO.
I think I got most of it for you. I know more will post and give more opinions too.
Disclaimer: I know enough to know I don't know anything yet.