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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Baltimore, MD, USA
    Posts
    24

    Default Installing a package, what equipment do I need?

    Taking the plunge into bees this year. I have 2 packages being delivered on April 6. I want to make sure that I have everything that I will need to establish the hives. I'd hate for it to get to that day and be missing something critical.

    So this is what I have for each hive

    Firm base made of cinder blocks, these are level side to side and drop less than 1/2" back to front to allow water to run out.
    Screened bottom board, sides and bottom have been painted but not inside
    3 medium boxes with wooden frames. Each frame has foundation. Outside of boxes have been painted.
    inner cover, not painted
    Telescoping cover, outsides painted.
    Entrance reducers
    Boardman type feeder and jars that will contain sugar water closer to package delivery time.

    For me, I have a hive maintenance jacket with hood, smoker and fuel, and 2 different hive tools. I've decided that I'm too clumsy wearing gloves, so I'm not wearing those.

    Is this all I need to install these bees? I've seen mention of a pollen paddy, do I need these? My instructor hasn't said anything about those. I've also heard that some spray the bees in the package to calm them. Would this just be sugar water in a spray bottle?

    As a side note, since I'm using mediums for all boxes, would I still call these hive bodies? I would think so, but who knows.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Bloomington In
    Posts
    788

    Default Re: Installing a package, what equipment do I need?

    Look like you are ready, spray bottle is up to you, if you use one just mist them a couple of times don't soak them. Pollen patties are good another food source in the hive. Good luck and enjoy

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,667

    Default Re: Installing a package, what equipment do I need?

    Sounds like you have all te equipment, just need a little visual aids. Youtube.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Baltimore, MD, USA
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Installing a package, what equipment do I need?

    Oh yeah, I've been watching some package installing on YouTube.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Lake county, Indiana 46408-4109
    Posts
    3,540

    Default Re: Installing a package, what equipment do I need?

    Sounds like you have thought it through good LUCK and have fun
    I myself NEVER spray the bees!
    "Youtube" shows many ways to install I (we) never shake the bees into the hive we let them crawl out of the box into the hive where the queen is and we put up a deposit on the cages so we dont pull the screen off the side as it shows in one vid.
    Ed, KA9CTT profanity is IGNORANCE made audible
    you can`t fix stupid not even with duct tape

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Bellwood, Pa (USA)
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: Installing a package, what equipment do I need?

    You might want something to hold the queen cage in place, ruberbands work, also might be a givin but something to light the smoker and some newspaper. I like to have a pair of needle nose pliers really helps get the feed can out. Also if you are going to let the queen self release you might want something to to poke a small hole through the candy. I am no expert this is only my second year installed three packages last year, hope this helps. I know most beekeeps would think that i carry to much stuff but i always have a toolbox with pliers, duct tape, rubberbands, staple gun, sting ease, benadryl, bottle of water, beekeeping book, note book, pens, pencils extra hive tool, extra smokerfuel, lighters. My hives are several miles from my house so there is no fast way to get these things so i come prepared for just about anything. One thing most people never think of is bring someone with a video cammera, you will only get one first time.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Baltimore, MD, USA
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Installing a package, what equipment do I need?

    Thanks for the suggestions. I'm making a list of stuff to carry down to the hives and funny that I missed a lighter. I probably would have remembered at the time, but can't be sure of that.

    honeyman, I've seen several people suggest that technique. I would think that it would be less traumatic on the bees. But with everything, I'm sure there are strong opinions for and against that.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    2,001

    Default Re: Installing a package, what equipment do I need?

    Looks like you're well on your way with things. Here's some comments from a newbee that is a year+ into the hobby.

    I would get another 2-3 boxes per hive. I would think that 3-4 mediums would be the minimum you would want to go into winter with in your area...room for cluster and honey stores. Any extra boxes could be used for surplus honey or even for that unexpected swarm that you catch (either a feral one or one from your on hive!). An extra bottom board and cover would be handy to have...a sheet of 3/4" plywood cut to the dimensions of a hive box and a 3/4" rim around three sides of it will work for an emergency bottomboard with entrance....another sheet with small could serve as an emergency top...check out Michael Bushes website and see how he uses small wedges/shims to create top entrances and simple migratory tops.

    I would not use the boardman feeders...from what I can tell they are notorious for setting off robbing frenzies...something you don't need to have to deal with. You are probably going to use at the most only a couple of your boxes to start with leaving at least one extra one per hive (out of your original three per hive). Staple some #8 mesh wire over the escape/vent hole in your inner covers and place over your brood boxes. Take the jars from the boardman, fill them with syrup and place over the screened holes. You really don't have to screen the holes (not screening them will actually make it easier on the bees). But, if you don't screen them bees can fly up and out of the hole when you remove the jars for refilling and bees will be clinging to the lid that you will have to shake off.

    Now, with the tightly closed, filled jars sitting over the hole, place that extra box on top of the inner cover and then the telescoping cover on top of that box....you've basically covered your feeder from outside robbers and have it over the bees where they can get to it easily. If there is a notch in the inner cover I block it when I'm feeding like this.

    I actually like to cut another hole (or two) using a 2-3/4"/70mm hole saw in an electric drill. If you cut a round hole with this size of saw you can staple the #8 mesh on the top or bottom of the hole. If you staple the mesh to the bottom then you will need to wiggle and wobble the hole saw around in the hole to enlarge the hole a tad larger than a clean cut would be....the jar has to fit snug against the screen. If you're not using screening then a snug fit for the lid in the hole is good. Having the lid/neck of the jar sticking into the hole rather than simply standing on top of the hole creates a more stable situation....though I have had not problems with the jars simply resting on top. Having the surface of the lid down in the holes puts the feed closer to the bees, though.

    If you figure a quart a jar you can easily feed up to a gallon at a time this way...depends on how many holes you cut. The bees will definitely need syrup...1:1 will work for making wax. Pollen patties will help them feed the brood. Once they settle down in a day or three you will start seeing foragers bringing in pollen from "somewhere"...you know they're starting to get some independence when you see that.

    Foundation... Something I started doing from the beginning was something I picked up from reading about bees cutting holes in the foundation. What I do is cut a small triangle out of the middle of the bottom edge of the foundation...just enough room for a bee to squeeze through once it's installed...I also nip the bottom corners off of the foundation. It probably doesn't make a bit of difference but I've read of bees cutting their own "communication holes" through foundation/comb so I figured I'd give them some "direction"....sure enough, 99% of the time the bees will use these small holes to "communicate" from one side of the comb to the other. Like I said, it's probably trivial, just something I do...

    Depending on what type of cage the queen comes in you might can slide a toothpick through the screening and hang this between two top bars. Be careful and DON'T STAB THE QUEEN! If there are attendants in the queen cage with her then make sure that the candy hole is at least pointing level or slightly upwards...don't have the candy hole pointing downwards as an attendant could die, fall to the bottom, and block the hole...thus preventing the queen from exiting.

    Nearby water source. Your bees will want water. Your bees will find water. Giving them a source close to your hives *might* just keep them out of your neighbor's pool or out of their birdbath...or maybe out of yours...maybe. It's better to get them oriented to a water source that you want them to use than to let them find their own. If you have a creek or stream close by it's a good chance they'll use that...but I'd still set up something close to the hives and let the water/container be "aging" while you wait on your packages.

    You're way up north and probably not much worry about small hive beetles. It wouldn't be a bad idea to have something like a few Beetle Jail Juniors on hand in case you see a beetle.

    Screened bottom boards...you might want to cut some plywood or even some cardboard the size of the bottom board to seal it off for a while until the temperature warms up a bit. Cut the piece so that it will slide in between the bottom rails of the bottom board and rest on top of the cement blocks....you can slip in some some shims beneath the piece to hold it closer to the bottom board (better seal). Helps give the bees a sense of a more closed in cavity and helps them with temperature while they're getting established.

    Enough rambling, I guess. Best wishes and have FUN!!!!
    Ed

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Baltimore, MD, USA
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Installing a package, what equipment do I need?

    Wow, that's a lot of info.

    I do plan on getting additional mediums for each hive. Since I'm just starting out, I wanted to get what I needed right now for the 2 hives. I went with 2 so I can compare them. In a couple of weeks or so I'll pick up some additional boxes and frames.

    The screened bottom board came with an insert, so I'm good there. We do have SHB in my state, at least according to my instructor and since she's the state hive inspector for the area she'd be in the know about that. A great thing with having her as my instructor is I have a direct line to her assistance.

    I do need to establish a water source for them. The hives are about 200' down a hill from me, so running water to them while easy to use gravity, it is a lot of hose to run. I'll put a "birdbath" in the garden that's right near them and put in some stones so they don't drown. The next closest water to them is my neighbor's in ground pool. Don't want them going there if I can help it.

    I've also joined the local beekeeping club and contacted a "mentor."

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Pensacola, FL
    Posts
    140

    Default Re: Installing a package, what equipment do I need?

    As someone else who recently walked the path you're on, I would recommend that you get a pair of gloves. Like you, I find them to be something of a pain-but I keep a pair around anyway. The vast majority of the time I don't use them. But every once in a while, when the bees are particularly riled up (on their own, or due to something I did) gloves are nice to have.

    Brian
    Hobby Beekeeper - Second Year - Two Hives

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