This is exciting times! I just received my order (ok, actually a couple weeks ago) of 15 packages from Mountain Sweet Honey Co in Georgia. I've ordered from them in the past, so expected good things, and so far I've not been let down. Very gentle bees, and all arrived healthy.

Now when it comes to setting up packages, there are two main methods. The "Set and Forget" or the "Dump" method. Both methods of course require pulling the feed can, pulling the queen out, PULLING THE CANDY END CORK, and pinning her cage between two frames. 

The Dump method is certainly a bit more disruptive, but also quicker in the end probably. I'd say this is preferred by larger beekeepers setting up a lot of packages. Or, in my case, setting up in a single box where there isn't a whole lot of extra room. The dump method is what I show in the video here.

So, in the dump method, you are simply dumping the bees out of the package into the hive. This is less chaotic than one might think. I take a few frames out of the hive to make good space for them to fall to the bottom of the box, vs dumping them on top of the frames. The bees tend to roll around in a ball inside the package, so you have to go back and forth a couple times, and thump the package to knock most of them loose. However, those still in the package will find their way out and into the box in a few hours (in nice flying weather). With all the bees dumped in, set the frames gently back in, letting the bees move out from under them, then place the lid on, feed can on (if using it), and set the package on top of the hive. At this point you are done for the next few days. You can come through when packages are empty and just toss them all in the trash, if you're not keeping them for some other reason. I used to reuse them as vac boxes actually in my bee vac. 

The Set and Forget method, as I call it, requires either a larger box (8-10 frames) or a double stack of 5 frame boxes, as the package takes up the space of 5 frames. I've done it both ways with success. Ultimately, instead of dumping the bees, you are setting the entire opened package in the hive in place of a few frames, and letting the bees come out on their own, to migrate over to be around their queen. Some folks prefer this method as it is less disruptive than dumping bees. A few days later, when you do your first check, you remove the queen cage, and the empty package, and replace the frames. So it doesn't really require a second trip to the hive, unless you just want to come back a day later or so and pull the package. 

Whichever you do is up to you. Both work just fine. I think the dump method is certainly more common in larger operations where they don't want to mess around with extra boxes or space, and pulling frames in and out. But from a hobby level, I can see the Set and Forget method being a simpler, calmer approach. 

Which do you use? Share you methods/preferences in the comments! 

AuthorTom Brueggen