Honey bees need a good residence to flourish and they never bear any offensive conduct. If you are new to the...
How To Install Bees In A Top Bar Hive?
Top bar hives allow beekeepers to mimic a more natural environment for honey bees to build their colony. Unlike the Langstroth hives, these are designed with top bars on which the bees can draw out their combs. If you are planning to set up your first bee colony into a top bar hive then here’s how you can do it:
1. Prepare Your Equipment
Make sure that your equipment is ready before your bees arrive. This ensures that you can transfer the bees without waiting. As a result, you will be able to find out the health of the colony and also identify if the queen is fine or not. You will need the following to install bees in a top bar hive:
· Hive stand
· Hive body
· Top Bars
· Follower boards
· Hive tool
· Bee brush
· Bee suit and veil
· Duct tape and thumb tack
The hive stand may or may not be used depending on how your hive body is designed. The first five equipments come together to form a home for your bees. Since the whole hive may be too big for your colony at this time, follower boards are used to limit the space available for the bees. Place your bees at the end of 10 bars if the bars are placed across the width of your hive body.
2. Installing the Queen
Once the package of bees arrives from a local beekeeper or through mail, check the box for dead bees. If there are too many dead bees, like about an inch of dead bees covering the box then do not proceed with the installation. Call your supplier and arrange for a return. If the bees are healthy, then proceed to installing the queen.
Use a hive tool to pry open the box on the end where the feeder would have been set up by the supplier. Remove the feeder carefully and you will notice a separate cage for the queen bee. Cautiously remove the queen bee using a bee brush to brush away other honey bees clinging from her cage.
The queen bee’s cell would have a small candy that would separate her from the rest of the bees and a cork which would stop the bees chewing into the candy before you are ready for the installation. Remove the cork from the candy end and place the queen bee’s cage on a bar without any comb. Place it about three to four boards away from the entrance. Place the queen’s cell just below the bar and keep it in the center of the bar so that the comb can be properly drawn out.
3. Installing the Rest of Your Bees
There are different ways in which it can be done, but the most popular method is to take the box of packaged bees and gently shake it into the hive body. You would have to remove about three to four of your top bars for this. Most of your bees come out and cluster around the queen. These bees will start releasing the nasonov pheromones, which will tell the rest of the bees where the queen and the colony is. Release as many bees into the hive and close the top of the hive by replacing all the bars. Use a bee brush to move bees away from the bars so that they do not get crushed.
Once installed, leave your bees undisturbed for the first three days. Be sure not to keep too many openings for your newly installed colony. Use a cork to block the rest of the openings and keep only one open for the bees to get accustomed to the new hive and queen.
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