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Preparing for a New Hive

With the arrival of spring, we are getting to the point where we start planning for starting up new hives or trying to rejuvenate old colonies. Packages and Nucleus Hives are the simplest way of finding new honey bees. If you have not pre-ordered your Package or NUC yet, we still have some available for pick-up at our retail stores. Click here to view our pick-up dates and pricing. If you have already found your source for honey bees, you are well on your way! Before you get started, though, here are a few tips on how to best prepare for your new bees.

Pick up your bees in an appropriate vehicle. Honey bees in transit are not the happiest. The longer they are confined, whether it be a package or a NUC, the more stressed they become. Would you not be as well? The stress of transporting a colony can cause them to overheat and cook themselves. This is one of the reasons why we recommend you pick up your package of bees rather than having them shipped. They will need constant airflow to keep them from overheating. An open bed vehicle like a truck is a great vehicle to transport bees. If you have to load the bees into a car to travel, make sure you have the windows open and air conditioning on the entire trip. You may get a little chilly but that may be better than cooking your new investment.

DO NOT pick up your hive supplies the same day you get your bees. Every hive component (hive tops, boxes, and bottom boards) needs either a coat of laytex paint or a sealant to help protect and preserve the wood. The paint or sealant must be dry and the odor dispelled before you install your bees. Picking up your supplies the same day as bees will require an additional 3-5 days before your hive will be ready for the bees. Order your supplies now and get them ready.

Make sure you provide plenty of feed for your new colony.
When you move to a new location, it takes a while for you to get organized and figure out the best locations to get what you need. Honey bees are the same way. Even if you move a hive a few feet, it throws off the foraging bees rhythm and they start up orientation flights again to understand their new surroundings. While your new colony is learning the environment around them, you will want to provide plenty of sugar syrup for them to feed on. Sugar Syrup is easy to mix and can be feed to the bees in many different ways. You can even add additional nutrition to the sugar syrup to help. A good rule of thumb is keep feeding your hive sugar syrup until they taking drinking it.

It’s never too early to start fighting Varroa Mites. They are considered one of the key factors in honey bee decline. A small, bloodsucking tick, the wounds from their bites make the bees more susceptible to infections and diseases. Varroa even use capped brood to help breed more mites so one of the best time to treat for Varroa is before the bees are able to lay brood. If you ordered a package, you can easily treat your bees with a mixture of sugar syrup and oxalic acid, a natural varroa treatment. In a package 100% off varroa mites are exposed so there is nowhere for them to hide.