3 Packages Arrive Safe and Sound.

Last year I made the decision to expand my apiary. I started looking at places to purchase several packages of honey bees and I opted to make my purchase from Wolf Creek Bees. This decision was based upon price, and the genetic description of their bees . My long-time friend and beekeeper mentor, Rick F., and I call them “mutt bees”, but we have found that the “mutts” seem to fair better in our respective environments. His being Southern Maryland, and mine being northern Baltimore county.

Anyway, back to the bees…

I reached out to Wolf Creek and inquired about their 2016 ordering schedule. They very quickly responded that I should touch base with them in January. I logged a date in my planner and anxiously waited for January.  And like clockwork, I placed my order and it was confirmed – a shipment date of April 20th.  The ordering process was easy, the customer service was attentive, and now all I had to do was wait until April when I would receive the email containing the actual shipping information.

bee hive set up for packages of beesTo make ready for the bees, I cleared a section in the garden, purchased three condenser pads (thanks to a suggestion from my dear husband) from an online HVAC supplier and had some 4 x 6 treated posts cut into 24 inch lengths. The condenser pads are 30 x 30 x 2 and they are ideal for using as a base for the hives.  I will be switching all of my hives over to this system. The 4 x 6 posts provide a sturdy elevation, but will not be too high for me to remove a fourth deep (super) at some point. I only run deeps on my hives – even for honey storage and I don’t want them too high for me to pull a full super during harvest season.

Note: if you are expecting packages of bees, kindly notify your local postmaster. They appreciate the “heads up”, and some are even excited to talk about your hobby.

So the packages arrived on a rainy Saturday morning. packages on honey beesWith the rain I would not be able to install them in the hive so they were stored in the jeep, in the garage for the night. I painted the screen of the shipping packages with 1:1 sugar syrup and left them to settle after their long journey from Tennessee.

After things began to warm up the next morning, I began to get things ready for installation. There are several videos on Youtube that will give you step by step instructions on how to install a package of bees.

Find one that works for you. One note, I did not spray down my bees. It was a little chilly and rather breezy on the day I needed to do the installation. Use your best judgement, you definitely don’t want wet, cold, bees especially if the weather is not ideal. Also, I waited a full two weeks before going back into the hives to remove the queen cages.

honey bee queen cages from purchased packages

Freeing of the queen a success in all three packages!

All in all, a very interesting experience. It has furthered my knowledge and skills related to beekeeping. It did force me out of my comfort zone a bit since I had never done an install before. Great mentoring from my friend Rick kept me on track and gave me the confidence to venture into the arena of buying bee packages.

How was your first time buying and installing a package of bees?