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Beekeeping: Buying Honeybees

A good way for most new beekeepers to start keeping bees is to buy packaged bees and queens and transfer the bees into new equipment. Once you pick up your packages, keep the packages cool and shaded. Set up a bottom board with one hive body and remove half its frames. Make some sugar syrup (one part sugar:one part water) and spray the bees heavily through the screen; bees gorge themselves with syrup and become sticky, making them easy to pour. Pry off the package lid, remove the can of syrup provided for transit, find and remove the queen suspended in her cage and re-close the package. The queen cage has holes at both ends plugged with cork, and one end is visibly filled with white "queen candy." Remove the cork from this end and suspend the queen cage between two center frames in your hive. Workers will eat through the candy and gradually release the queen. Next, take off the lid and shake the bees into the hive on top of the queen. As the bees slowly spread throughout the hive, gently return the frames you removed earlier. Carefully place the inner and outer covers on your new colony and feed your bees sugar syrup continuously until natural nectar flows begin. After two - three days, check to see if the bees have released the queen from her cage. If she was released, you will probably find her slowly walking on one of the center combs. If bees have not yet released her, return the queen cage to the hive until she is released. A week after the queen's release, check the colony again. By this time, you should find white wax combs under construction with cells containing syrup, eggs or young larvae. If you do not find eggs, the queen may be dead and she must be replaced immediately. Order another queen and introduce her as before.

Another way to get started is by finding and installing swarms. Sometimes swarms cluster on accessible places such as low tree branches, and property owners are usually eager for a beekeeper to remove them. If you find a safely accessible swarm, get a five-gallon plastic bucket with some kind of perforated cover such as window screening. Spray the swarm heavily with sugar syrup, place the bucket underneath it then give the branch a sharp shake to dislodge bees into the bucket. Cover the bucket and install the swarm in a hive as you would package bees (except for the steps on installing a caged queen). If the swarm is in the vicinity of your apiary, remove the branch containing the swarm and shake the swarm in front of an empty hive. The swarm will enter the empty hive and establish their new colony. If you are from SW Michigan, Blossomland will put your name on a list of beekeepers for referral for swarm calls otherwise your county Extension agent or fire department will be glad to take your name as a referral for swarm calls.

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Package Bees
2015 Honeybees - 3 lb Pkg - SOLD OUT
Price: $122.00
2015 Honeybees - 3 lb Pkg - SOLD OUT
WATCH for our 2016 Honeybees Available Referral lists on Blossomland U.
tax free
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