Hiving Package Bees
Have your hive ready before the package bees arrive. Be sure the hive has been provided with honey or sugar syrup for feed. The entrance of the hive should be reduced to a width of about 2 inches by stuffing grass or newspaper into the entrance slot. Do not close the entrance completely because the bees might smother.
Take the cover off the package, remove the feed can, and remove the queen cage. This procedure is made easier by prying the can up with a hive tool, then gently banging the package down on the ground to dislodge the bees from the can and the queen cage. Look in the queen cage to make sure the queen is alive. If the queen is dead, telephone us immediately for a replacement. Remove the cork from the candy end of the queen cage and hang the queen cage, candy end down, between two of the center frames in your hive. The bees must have access to the screen on the queen cage. At this point, you may remove four of the outside frames and set the package of bees into the hive with queen and can removed, then cover the hive and allow the bees to crawl out.
Another method is to turn the shipping cage bottom up, over the hive and shake the bees into the hive making sure some of them fall between the frames where the queen cage is hung. Cover the hive and do not disturb it for at least a week. After one week the queen should be out of her cage and should have eggs laid in one or two combs. If you have started the hive on foundation only, the bees should be drawing out two or three sheets of the foundation. Starvation of the bees is the biggest hazard to successful establishment of the package of bees. Continue to feed them, taking care not to get robbing started, until you are sure the bees are producing enough honey to maintain themselves.