Installing a Package of Bees into a Foundationless Hive

Installing Package of Bees

Pouring in the Bees

I’ve been waiting anxiously to get my bees installed – the weather has been great for a change and I wanted the bees to be out and getting busy! I had delayed installation, because the package was only 24hrs old when I pickedĀ  it up and I wanted to be sure the queen had been accepted by the worker bees.


Brood Box, with Foundationless Frames, Frame Feeder and Follower Board


The brood box contained a full compliment of frames with no foundation but wooden starter strips to encourage the bees to build in the right place! I also installed a frame feeder and a follower board to reduce the available frames down to six. The reason for this is to slightly crowd the bees to encourage comb production, I can move the follower board back to make more frames available as necessary.


It was hot today so I waited until the evening to get started – I felt a night in the hive would make them less likely to abscond. So having prepared everything and got suited up I was ready! The shipping box had a seperate syrup bottle that could not be removed – so step one was opening the lid to the syrup bottle and gently pouring out the contents – I didnt want it pouring everywhere when I shook out the bees. Next I banged the box down hard on the ground to take the bees down to the bottom of the cage. Then I made mistake number 1 – whilst removing the staples for the queen cage – I was sure the pliars had a firm grip… but no, as soon as I tried to pull it out, the cage dropped to the bottom of the shipping box!

It was time to to put my gloves on because one way or another I was going to have to go in and retrieve the cage from the mass of bees. Infact I dumped the cage with the bees into the brood box – it took several goes to get most of the bees out of the shipping box and into the hive. When this was done I reached in and started spreading the bees around on the bottom board whilst trying to locate the queen cage! Finally I found and retrieved it – a quick check of the queen and she was alive and well – whew! I then reached down into the box and opened the cage to let the queen out on the bottom board. Job done. I gently replaced the remaining frames, put on the inner cover and let out a sigh of relief! The bees had been successfully installed!

Bees Orienting and Fanning at Entrance

Bees Orienting and Fanning at Entrance

I quickly realised that the idea I had of blocking the entrance was a rubbish one! How where all those flying bees buzzing around my head going to get into the hive? so I removed the grass I had stuffed in the entrance and crossed my fingers. After a few minutes I was able to observe not only bees coming out of the hive – but bees going in as well and soon it was clear that the flying bees were coming home! Towards the evening I noted a couple of very small clusters of bees in the corner of the shipping box – they were reluctant to fly – so I dumped them on the landing board and watched as after a few moments – they all marched into the hive!

So my bees are now happily installed in their new hive and I am happy that my first package install is done – I made a few mistakes but learnt a lot.

Video Of My Installation Of Bees

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