When do I order package bees?
It is best to order package bees for spring delivery. The bees should be delivered after the date of the last hard freeze for your region. Bee Champions does not sell bees at this time, but a reliable, local source will be able to help you determine the best delivery date.
When should I hive my new package of honeybees?
The best time to hive the honeybees is late afternoon or early evening. Spray the honeybees with sugar water while still in the shipping container. This will make it easier to put the honeybees in the hive.
What frames should I use when starting with package bees?
It is best not to mix foundationless middle bar frames with foundation frames. It is confusing to the bees when mixed. We recommend using foundationless middle bar frames when hiving package bees. Click here for a video explaining the differences between the two.
What do I feed the honeybees in the spring?
It is best to feed a mixture of sugar and water. For ratios, click here to view a video about sugar water mixing. The bees will use the sugar water mixture until natural sources are available. In the fall, use this formula if the bees do not have adequate winter stores. Feeders work well for this.
Where do I place my hive?
If you are in the city, you should put the entrance of the hive facing a high fence. This will force the bees to fly in a high flight pattern, avoiding neighbors. It is good to give the hives a windbreak to protect them. You can also place the entrance facing the sun to allow the bees an early start in the morning. South is best for this. The hive can also be placed on concrete blocks or a wooden pallet to keep it off the ground.
Can I paint the hive?
Paint the outside of the hive only. Painting inside will confuse the bees. Allow the paint to dry thoroughly before installing bees.
How often should I check my new hive?
You can open the hive after a few days to see if the queen has been released if you used package bees. This will not be necessary for nuc bees. Look in the queen cage to see if the queen has been released. If the queen has been released, check for eggs and larvae to see if your colony is queen-right. If the queen has not been released, enlarge the hole in the candy in the queen cage. You should check your new colony weekly. If you are using package bees, be sure to keep feeding the colony sugar water during this time to stimulate comb building. You should see sealed brood in the colony after about three weeks. Click here for a series of videos detailing inspections.
When should I add a second hive body or super?
You should add the second hive body or super when the majority of the frames in the first hive body are fully drawn out (8 or 9 frames). A second super should be added after the first super is about one half full. Click here for a video on how to add a super.
How much honey should I leave in the hive over the winter?
As a general rule, you should have a full super or second hive body and 20 to 30 pounds of honey in the brood chamber. This will amount to a total of 60 to 70 pounds of honey for the winter and early spring consumption.
What should I look for in the spring?
You should check for evidence that the queen is laying eggs. You should also check the honey stores and pollen supply. If the honey stores are low, you may start feeding sugar water. The bees may consume about 10 pounds of sugar syrup in a one-week period.
How can I get information or help about beekeeping in my area?
All 50 states have state and local associations and are a very good source of information and help. They will be able to direct you to a bee club or association in your area. For more information, contact us at 801-658-9013. We are striving to put together a list of the best sources in all 50 states