What is a package of bees?
The first task for most
beginning beekeepers is to install a package of bees. It feels
like trial by fire, with bees whirling and buzzing around your
head. But if you know what to expect, hiving a package is
actually easy and fun. This week's lunchtime series walks you
through installing a package of bees into a top bar or Warre hive, and this post starts with
the very basics --- what is a package?
Yes, the package ships
as is, with bees separated from the outdoors only by the mesh sides of
the container. (If you order more than one package of bees, they
may arrive attached together, as is shown in the photo above.)
Postal employees seem much less charmed by packages of bees than they
are by boxes of chicks, so it's especially important to call your post
office or UPS guy
and set up a delivery plan the day before your bees arrive. You
don't want the bees to be set outside on a sunny, windy, or rainy
delivery dock while they wait for you to pick them up.
In the U.S., most
packages are 3 pounds, which simply means you get three pounds of
worker bees (10,000 to 12,000 bees). Don't be too concerned if
you see up to an inch of dead bees in the bottom of the package ---
it's hard for bees to be shipped across the country, so apiaries put in
enough workers that your hive will be able to take off despite moderate
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