Shopping Cart
0 items

Questions on Beekeeping?

When is the best time to order packaged honeybees?

It is best to order packaged bees in January for delivery April-May. At the time of your order, the supplier/shipper will let you know when the packages will be in for pick-up or delivery to your local post office for pick-up.


What time of day is best for hiving?

Late afternoon or early evening, by spraying the honeybees with a sugar water mixture through the screen making it easier to install them without them flying off. (See Packaged Bees Hiving Instructions under the category “Bees – Live Honey”)


Is there a certain type of frame or foundation that works best when starting out new?

A good recommendation is to start with wood frames when hiving packaged honeybees. It is not a good idea to mix plastic frames/foundation with wood frames/wax foundation. 


Do the packaged honeybees need to be fed or medicated in the spring?

Yes, feeding them a mixture of sugar and water (1:1) or high fructose corn syrup (HFC) until there are natural sources available. Using either vita-bee patties or pre-made winter patties will get the colony to raise brood faster. As for medication: it is always a good idea and preventive messure to guard against Nosema. Using correct measure of Fumagilin-B in with one gallon of sugar mixture or high fructose corn syrup, feeding this through to your honey bees prior to any collection of honey. No other medication is needed when you are starting out new and there is no drawn comb.


Is there a perfect location for colony boxes?

Having a fresh water supply, placing the entrance in a south to southeast direction does help. A wind break will keep the onslaught of high winds out and protect them. Using cement concrete blocks, a wooden pallet or a hand-made stand to get them off the ground will keep your boxes in better shape longer, makes it easier to trim around the box, and provides better access for you as well as the bees (Check out our new “Bee Smart Hive Stand”).    A cit y  dweller's arrangement will work best if a tall fence exists, place the entrance facing the fence to get the bees to fly in a higher flight pattern, thus avoiding any people nearby.


After installation of packaged honeybees, how often do they need to be checked?

Leaving the colony alone for a couple of days is a good idea. You do want to check after 2 or 3 days to make sure the queen did get released from her cage and remove the cage if she is released to prevent burr comb from building around the cage. Leaving the colony alone again for 2 or 3 weeks giving the queen time to lay eggs and larvae to develop, you should see capped over brood on areas of the frames by this time, in a good pattern. This will ensure that the queen is viable and doing her job. Keep feeding them throughout this time to build out the comb faster.


With over wintered-colonies, what should be done first?

After all chance of frost/freezing has passed, warmer weather will allow you to open the over-wintered colony without too many problems. Check for signs that the queen is laying eggs and looking good. Always check the food stores, at this time if they are low you will want to start supplementing  their food supply.


When is the best time to add a second hive body?

It's best to add another brood chamber when 6-7 frames are fully drawn out. This does depend on if you run a nine (9) frame set-up or a ten (10) frame. Adding a honey super should only be done in the same manner, always force them to work on the lower boxes first, when almost completely full add the next box. If you are working with drawn comb, the process will be much quicker, fewer days between additions of boxes. Adding another box at this time will aid in the prevention of swarming.


When over wintering colonies, how much food do they require?

Rule of thumb is to leave the brood chamber and second hive body (2 = 9.1/8” boxes full). This will give you roughly 50 to 70 pounds of honey stores for the winter months. It’s a good idea to start supplementing their food, directly after removal of the honey supers, with either a sugar water mixture or HFC to keep their food stores packed for winter and early spring feeding,


Is it a good idea to paint the woodenware?

You can paint the outer areas only of the wood. Always letting it dry thoroughly, before introducing a new colony.


Where can I find more information or help on beekeeping?

In all fifty states there are local bee clubs and state associations that will be able to direct you in the right direction. Get involved, take notes and keep learning. There are many books on beekeeping that can lead you in the right direction, see the books listing in our category section, i.e.; Beekeeping for Dummies, The Hive and the Honeybee, Beekeeping in Northern Climates, and Colony Record Management.


Local/Semi Local Clubs and inspectors:

Minnesota Hobby Beekeepers Association =

Minnesota State Inspector = or Telephone: 651-201-6095

                                               MN Dept. of Agriculture, 

                                               Plant Protection Division, 

                                               625 Robert St. N.,

                                               St. Paul, MN  55155-2538

Wisconsin Honey Producers Association = 

or the news letter at

Iowa Honey Producers Association = 

or the news letter at

For a listing of all the Apiary Inspectors of the United States see our listing under the Information section or visit thier web page(s) @ 

American Beekeeping Federation Website