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Starting A New Hive

Whether we are starting a new hive from a nuc, a swarm or a cut-out, most things may be similar but the differences in practices can mean the difference of setting a hive up to succeed or fail. The practices for starting new hives of various sources are described below.

From a known source Nuc

Frames

Boxes

Feeding

From a Package

Packages of bees, with a Queen included, are one of the most common way which bees are purchased and transported. A package requires special attention to get it started properly so that it has a chance to survive and be successful.

In my hives, should they ever be started from packages, though I have no intention on purchasing them, they will never be started in any hive bigger than a 5 frame hive.

Frames

To get packages started off best, I put 3 frames with plastic foundation in positions 1,3, and 5 with positions 2 and 4 being foundation-less in each box.

Boxes

The typical package is a 3 lb package (~12,000 bees). This size only requires a single deep 5 frame box to start with. Add additional boxes (Nadired) as bees draw out and cover 3/5 combs in each box.

Feeding

Package bees must be fed sugar syrup immediately. They are not a natural swarm and had no opportunity to gorge on honey before being put in package box. Feeding inside the hive (something I rarely recommend) will be required until the bees refuse the syrup in favor of foraging.

From a Swarm capture

Swarms, especially Spring swarms, pretty much come prepared to start building a new nest. Having gorged on honey before departure, the workers are in a state capable of turning digested honey or nectar into wax. ESPECIALLY if the swarm is captured and hives within 72 hours of the swarm emitting.

Frames

If starting swarms in 5 frame hive boxes, then only one frame with plastic foundation in position 3 needs to be in each box.

If starting swarms in 8 frame hive boxes, then 2 frames with plastic foundation should be installed in positions 4 and 6 should be inserted into each box.

Boxes

The number of boxes to start each swarm in depends on size of swarm. In a deep 8 frame box hive, estimate approx 4 lbs of bees (approx 16,000) per box. In a 5 frame box hive system, estimate approx 2-3 lbs of bees per box needed.

Feeding

Unless environmental conditions are such that no decent nectar flow is available, external 1:1 sugar syrup feeding may be required, especially in order to induce the colony to drawing out as much comb as possible as soon as possible. If weather conditions are such that bees are unable to fly and forage for multiple days, only then should limited interior feeding of 1:1 sugar syrup be considered for only as long as foraging behavior is suppressed by weather.

From a Bait Hive

Frames

Boxes

Feeding

new_hives.txt · Last modified: 2017/08/14 12:15 (external edit)