Just added bees to the beehive...what should I be doing next?
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  1. #1

    Default Just added bees to the beehive...what should I be doing next?

    I received my bees last Tuesday, added them to the beehive, and did my first inspection yesterday to make sure the queen is out of her cage she shipped in. They're drinking down the sugar water I gave them and look to be established. Now what? I've spent so much time studying in preparation for receiving them that I need to now turn my attention to what's next. If anyone can provide a few pointers on what I should be studying next (any links that you think would be helpful), I'll focus on that next.

    I have an empty box on top of the bottom box (that has the frames). I'm using this empty top box to put the sugar water in. My assumption is that I should check on them weekly to see if they're still drinking the sugar water. If they're not drinking it down anymore, I'll remove the top box and let them continue setting up on the frames in the bottom box. Apart from that, I'm not quite sure what I should be focusing on learning next (I'm learning as I go) or looking for when I do my inspections.

    By the way, thanks to the community. I've had so many questions and you've all helped me so much. Adding the bees after receiving them last week was a bit of a crazy experience (the queen's cage wasn't stapled to the box so I had to hunt inside after dumping the bees to find her), but in the end it turned out OK. I documented the whole experience here. I should have put a laugh track as I kept making mistakes, but I definitely feel like I'd be way more prepared doing this in the future.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    jackson county, alabama, usa

    Default Re: Just added bees to the beehive...what should I be doing next?

    hi cityprepping. i took the liberty of moving your thread to the '101' subforum. you have asked excellent questions. i look forward to seeing the responses and following along with your beekeeping adventure. good luck and have fun!

    (an easy way to check on recent posts regardless of subforum is to click on the 'new posts' tab at the top of each page)

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Derry, New Hampshire

    Default Re: Just added bees to the beehive...what should I be doing next?

    add a capful of vinegar to the sugar water so it does not spoil. Keep the feed on them. They will draw out the comb and the queen will start laying. Next inspection you should see eggs and larvae. spend some time looking for them esp the eggs. thats the number one thing you should be looking for. If you don't have any then you have to figure out why (dearth, dead queen, etc). Mark on the lid what you see in terms of brood and feed and its amounts. so next time you will know what it was like. easy with one hive but good practice to do.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Wimer, Oregon

    Default Re: Just added bees to the beehive...what should I be doing next?

    We need to know what amount of sugar water the op is feeding before saying add a cap full of vinegar, he/she didn't advise us.
    I'm not being sarcastic here, but maybe we need to clarify how much a cap full to how much sugar water ratio, just saying...
    Should they add the cap full to a pint, quart, gallon, or a 5 gallon bucket or more?

    I would check every 3-4 day to gauge how much sugar water they are consuming.
    You don't need to bust down the hive and into the frames to check, just a quick pop the top a view/lift, to feel the weight.

    Do you have a local Bee Club you can join, that's the best thing to do for local info.
    Beekeeping is tied to the local environment.
    What your bees do, is different from my bees here in Southern Oregon, as they differ from the northern or southern states, and east coast hives.
    Yes all bees similar, operate the same, but there are differences in their conditions in how colonies react to their environment.

    As Kaizen mentioned, first is to watch for eggs, larvae, if you see those you know the queen has been there in the last 3 days. Inspect them every 7-10 days, identify the pollen, and nectar bands to see if resources are being brought in, if no pollen maybe give the a pollen patty or powered pollen supplement.
    Myself I don't search for the queen, unless the hive seems to be acting weird but, just seeing eggs is enough. I have to many hives and nucs to sit and search. Even now I'm having to adapt to a different schedule
    We all adapt to our own inspection routine. after learning the basics, as I mentioned joining a local club will help immensely, you have the added support of more knowledgeable local beekeepers, along with BS.

    Find a model to follow, adapt your routine and operations from that standpoint. For me I have learned allot from Jon of Old Sol, and followed Michael Palmer's advise of bee bombs, nucs, and this year trying queen raising, it works well for me perfectly, and has proven itself over the last 3 years.
    other's like fat bee dude, michael bush, their mentors, go the treatment free path.
    There is so much info, just find reliable sources you can depend upon.

    and remember to check your mite levels.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Jackson, Ohio (SE Ohio) USA

    Default Re: Just added bees to the beehive...what should I be doing next?

    All good info. If you don't have an entrance reducer, get one on ASAP, a new colony, especially if you're feeding can cause robbing and you'll lose it. Doesn't have to be fancy, Just block off the bottom entrance leaving 2-3" open. That's wide enough for traffic and not too large for the guard bees to repel robbers. As you've hived a package, you'll be feeding most of the summer, depending on how strong your flows are and how fast they build up. Remember that bees normally forage up to 2+ miles, in a dearth their only loyalty is to their queen, everybody else's resources are open season. It is really amazing how fast a strong colony can wipe out a new/weak one.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Rutland County, Vermont,USA

    Default Re: Just added bees to the beehive...what should I be doing next?

    Opinions will differ, but I would keep feeding the hive until they do not take it any more. In my case, it was nearly the whole first spring, summer and fall. Keep adding boxes/frames as long as they are drawing out comb. COMB IS GOLD. Check syrup every other day until you have a handle on how much they are taking and don't let them run out. Do not try to get a honey crop this year. Ditch the brush. You can accomplish the same with hands or blowing on them or shaking the frame with one sharp downward motion. The brushes are too stiff and are rarely used and aggravate the bees. Take time to observe the hive from the outside. Get an idea of what is normal and abnormal activity. See what color pollen is in their sacs and research what plant/tree it is from Watch an orientation flight, generally early-mid afternoon. Keep a journal noting everything your hive is doing and what you are doing to your hive. Also note what is blooming and signs of the changing of the seasons such as certain birds arriving/departing. Walk around and look for them foraging and note what flowers they are. Open your eyes and see many different species of different pollinators working along side your bees. You might be amazed (I was). Lots to do and enjoy.
    Your view is gorgeous and it looks like there are wildflowers all around. Best of luck, J

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Bergen County, NJ

    Default Re: Just added bees to the beehive...what should I be doing next?

    Welcome to the wonderful hobby. I am pretty sure you heard "ask 100 beekeepers and you get 1000 answers". So here is what I did when I started with beekeeping:

    1. Unless you are very allergic to bee sting, lose the gloves. HUGE part of my learning is to get over the fear and build feel in hands on how to handle bees, frames and hive.
    2. Check back in about 3 days and release queen if they did not
    3. Check back in about two weeks (after releasing queen) and inspect for building comb, capped brood etc.
    4. Check feed level often to make sure they got feed (you can do this every other day, depending on type of feeding device)
    5. Watch entrance for bees bringing in pollen etc (you can do this anytime)
    6. Watch progress of comb building and read about what you may need to do to accelerate the comb building (for e.g gradually moving the outside frames in).
    7. Read about when to introduce second box and how to entire bees to build comb in second box


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