Should I feed my packaged bees once they are installed?
Sugar Syrup. Prepare a sugar syrup solution of 1:1 sugar-water before the package is installed.
Feeding fumagillin medicated syrup to newly installed packages is highly recommended
Unless you install your packages on drawn combs containing sufficient honey and pollen (taken from existing colonies or from storage), you should plan to feed the bees immediately upon installation and continue feeding them until they are able to fend for themselves. This is critically important when installing packages on foundation.
Getting Ready for Package Arrival
Apiary Site Selection. A sunny, wind-protected and well drained location should be selected. Sunlight will warm the colony and stimulate foraging.
Install an entrance reducer for the colony to conserve heat and prevent robbing.
When many colonies are being established from packages, hives must be temporarily closed completely by stuffing grass in the entrance to prevent robbing. The grass can be replaced with an entrance reducer after the bees have settled.
Beehive equipment including bottom board, hive body, inner cover and hive lid should be ready before packages arrive.
Preparation of the brood chamber. Nine or ten frames are used in the brood chamber. When using ten, start with nine frames when the package is installed, and add the tenth frame one week later. Use frames with honey and pollen stores when available. If the frames are numbered 1 to 9, then frames 1, 2, 8, and 9 should contain honey, while 3 and 7 should have pollen. The central frames 4, 5, and 6 should be about 75% free of honey and pollen to provide room for brood development. Some dead brood from the previous year in the centre frames is of no concern because the bees will quickly clean them out.
How to Make Sugar Syrup for Package Bees
A one-to-one mixture of sugar and water — measured either by weight or by volume — provides the energy your bees need to stimulate brood rearing and start drawing out foundation.
To make the sugar syrup, heat the mixture gently until all of the sugar is dissolved. Remove the syrup from the heat and let it cool to room temperature. Once it has cooled, we suggest adding fumagilin-B to control Nosema and Honey-B-Healthy or HIVE Alive to make the sugar syrup more attractive to the bees and to improve their gut health.