Good instructions on hiving a package

One of our club members put together these detailed instructions on hiving a package.  Thank you Milan!



Consolidated step-by-step instructions to use when picking up and “hiving” your honeybees

Before you pick them up

Have the hive setup in its final location.

Hive orientation: Hive opening facing southeast (SE) . Hive located in full sun (PNW) is ideal, but not absolutely necessary

  • 1 Deep Hive Body with Frames and Foundation
  • Frame rest, if you have it
  • 1 bottom board
  • 1 Inside cover & 1 outside cover OR 1 migratory cover
  • 1 Entrance Reducer
  • Feeder (Top or Pail) with 1:1 Sugar Syrup*
  • Smoker
  • Protective clothing and/or very light clothing. Bees hate dark colors!
  • Hive Tool
  • Mini Marshmallows

Picking them up

  • Bring 1:1 sugar syrup in spray bottle to pick up location
  • Inspect the bees to make sure they are alive and not more than 1 inch of dead
  • Spray them down with sugar syrup, the can of food lasts only 4-5 days
  • When you get home, spray the package liberally with cool water using a clean mister or spray bottle
  • Protect them from wind, heat and cold. Bring an open plastic tub and cover with a towel is a good option to protect them in the car

At Home

  • Place the package of bees in a cool dark place, such as basement or garage, for an hour.
  • After an hour spray them down with non-medicated sugar syrup

*Don’t brush the cage with sugar syrup, because you can take off a bunch of little bee legs

  • If the weather isn’t nice and you can’t hive the bees right away, keep feeding them with sugar syrup 3 times a day. Hive them within 3-4 days. (5-6 max)


  • 1:1 ratio of sugar to water. You can measure this by weight or by volume since sugar and water have very similar weights


  • Example recipe: 2 ½ quarts (5 pints) water : 5 lbs. white granulated sugar. Remember, “a pint is a pound the world around”. So when it come to water use this easy formula. Since, luckily, sugar and water have similar weights, you don’t need a graduated container to measure, you can use 1 bowl of water to 1 bowl of sugar, and it will all work out.


  • Heat water to boiling or near boiling. Turn off heat, add sugar and stir to dissolve leave covered, and wait until coolto feed or spray.


Getting Prepared to hive the Bees

TIP: It’s a good idea to have someone standing by reading these instructions for you, if you are nervous or it is your first time

CONDITIONS: Ideally late afternoon on the same day you pick them up, or the next day (late afternoon). Clear mild day with little or no wind!

  • 30 minutes before hiving, spray your bees well with non-medicated sugar syrup, but don’t drown them
  • Spray the frames with sugar syrup to help entice the bees to pull them out

Putting your Bees into the Hive

  1. Remove 4 center frames, spray them with sugar syrup, and keep them close
  2. Install the entrance reducer with smallest opening – make sure opening is facing up
  3. If there’s a cover on the package, remove the cover off the package with hive tool, remove staples/nails and keep the cover handy. If there is no cover, find another flat piece of board, or your copy of American Bee Journal, it will come in handy in step 7.
  4. Spray the bees in the cage with sugar syrup again (front & back)
  5. Knock bees down, place the cage on its side, on top of the hive, with the feeder jar facing over the hole created by the removed frames
  6. Remove the syrup jar from the cage while holding the Queen cage so it doesn’t drop in. Place the syrup jar on the ground away from the hive, facing up so it doesn’t leak, and turn the package with the hole facing up
  7. Slide a flat piece of something over the opening the syrup jar came out of so the bees don’t fly out. Some bees will be out, its no big deal.
  8. Examine the Queen: Is she alive?
  9. Prepare the Queen cage:
    1. Carefully slide off metal disc on the side of cage (if there is one)
    2. Make sure candy is still in place, or if it came with a cork, remove the cork and stuff a marshmallow in the hole.
    3. Simply place the Queen cage on top of the frames while you dump your bees, or slide her into a very loose pocket to keep her safe for the next couple minutes
  • Thump & dump the bees into the opening that the 4 frames created
  • Thump & dump the rest into the hive body, when most bees are out set the box next to the hive opening so the rest will make their way in eventually
  • Hang the queen cage wedged between 2 frames.
    1. If the flexible metal tab came connected to the queen cage, use it to help secure the cage over the top bars, kinda of like you’re hanging it.
    2. The candy/marshmallow-plugged hole should be facing down with the screen running parallel to the space between frames. The queen needs to breathe, and get fed so don’t face into the foundation or comb.
  • Gently – gently replace the frames – you sprayed them with syrup right?
    1. There will be a pile of bees on the bottom, but if you gently – gently put the frames on top of them, the bees will move aside and the frames will lower into place
  • Gently press all the frames together, from the outer frames, to get proper spacing
  • Put the hive top feeder directly on the Hive body, no inner cover is used with the hive top feeders*
  • Place the outer cover on. Place a rockor heavy item on top to keep it safe from wind



*If using a pail feeder, place the inner cover on and then the pail and an empty upper deep (hive body)



Beekeeping for Dummies | 2nd Edition | Howland Blackiston

David & Sheri Burns | Long Lane Honeybee Farms |




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