Installing Bees

How to install your bees depends on the method of procurment. It is more usual in the UK to buy a Nucleas hive or Nuc hive.

Install bees from a beekeeper:

If you have obtained bees from a local bee keeper then they will hopefully help you with the installation, they might even supply you with brood frames and queen (called a nucleas or nuc). If not they should supply you with a box or package of loose bees, hopefully with a queen seperated in its own cage. If this is the case see below for installation instructions:

Installing bees from a box or package (loose bees):

Your hive should contain 10 frames within the super. Take out 4 of these frames, remove the lid and feeding can (if there is one) from the shipping box. Next dump the bees into space in the super you created by removing the frames. The process of dumping the bees may seem a bit ruff but it is necessary to give the box a forceful jerk to get the bees in the hive.

Replace the 4 frames in the super, next remove the small cork plug found on the queen cage and have a small wire attached to the non drilled end. Then slide the vertical queen cage between two frames toward the center of the super. If you like you can anchor the wire hanger on the queen cage with a staple to stop it moving.

Place the inner cover and lid back on the hive. Place a feeder bottle at the hive entrance so that the bees can immediately go to work producing wax and filling in foundation to make space for the queen to lay eggs.

Some bees will remain in the box or package just leave this next to the hive and the others should join the hive

Check back in a 2 days to make sure the queen has been removed from her cage by the workers.

If you would like to purchase bees by post in a package please see our directory and look in the magazines section. These magazines should contain adverts from bee breeders and suppliers.

Installing bees from a nucleas or nuc:

The first thing to remember is not to let the bees get cold as you move them from the nuc box into their new home. Its better to pick a warm unwindy day and make sure you have assembled all the equipment you will need.

Place the nuc box right beside the hive, to lessen the chances of losing your queen on the ground while you’re moving the frames. Light your smoker (make sure the smoke isnt too hot) and lift the lid of the nuc box and puff a little smoke across the top of the nuc frames.

Make sure all the frames in the nuc are loosened with your hive tool and that your super is empty. Lift out a frame from the nuc (best to start with the second one in) and place it gently in the super, do this for all the frames.

Some beekeepers prefer to add the frames to the centre and some prefer to keep them all to one side. That way, the bees are only exposed to cold air on one side of the cluster, the other side being insulated by the wood of the box. Which ever way you choose you should definitely keep all the new frames together.

Fill the super with empty frames or if you have ones with disease free drawn come then use them. This will save the bees a lot of work.

There will still be a good number off bees in the nuc box, lift it and shake them out over the super. The bees that remain should eventually find their way into the hive, so just leave the nucleus next to the hive entrance.

Place a feeder at the hive entrance or on top of the super to help the bees get to work faster.

Getting bees from your local association:

Some associations can provide starter colonies for beginners. This could be the best and easiest option as you will get a good tempered breed and an experienced beekeeper to help you install them and advise you.