Well You Should.
Actually it’s packages. Filled with bees.
Are you impressed yet?!
I was pretty pleased yesterday when I got to pick up my bee packages from Sparky’s honey and syrup. In contrast to a nuclease- a package of bees contains only bees and a mated queen, no comb or brood like in the nuc. You can see the 5 darker frames in this picture from last year, those are from the nuc.
The packages come in a wire box with a feeding can.
Inside the package in her own little cage and attendants is the queen.
You can see her at the bottom of the first picture, she has the long abdomen. In that picture you can see some drones, or boy bees too. They have large bodies, big eyes and lack a stinger.
They have little to no purpose except to mate with some other queen. They do not forage, or contribute much at all to the colony I am hoping that our queens get laying soon so we can get some help around here!
The white part of the cage is a candy block that the bees will eat through to realese the queen.
This delay in contact is important so that they can get used to the new queen, as she is not their mother.
If you just dropped a foreign queen in a hive she would more than likely be killed. If you give them some time to get used to her pheromones they will redly accept her as their queen.
Timing is everything.
With the nuc you just transfer the frames into the hive, with the package you have to shake thousands of bees into the hive. It is pretty intense.
I have found that a lot of bee keeping is just getting over your fear of having thousands of stinging insect surrounding you, landing on you and yes sometimes stinging you.
Of course both of my queen cages fell into the package and the only way to get them out was to reach into the newly shaken pile of bees, fun, fun, fun.
Then they wouldn’t get off the cage, hooray! You can see another drone here on the bottom of the cage.
I shook them back into the hive and got to taking the cork off so they can get to the business of freeing the queen. Then I stuck them candy side down in-between the frames.
The cork you can see was the side used to put the queen and attendants into the cage, if you take that cork off your queen will most likely escape or be killed.
Then I put on the cover and feeder buckets with simple syrup.
The bucket is then covered with another box to protect everything and prevent robbing.
There were still some bees left in the package so I ended up sharking them out again a couple hours later.
My husband painted the racing stripes on the new hive furniture so they would “be faster than the other bees.” When we told the boys this, his oldest pointed out that is “not the way it works” but I think he still holding out hope for racing bees.
All in all it was a successful transfer (sting free too!) and who knows what the future will bring but for now I am a happy bee keeper!