Advice Please on Installing 3 Packages at 1 Time. :)

I’m super excited and a bit nervous at the same time! We have our first bees arriving next week and rather than starting with one, we’re getting three!

I’ve watched @Michael_Bush 's video on installing a package multiple times but hadn’t considered what to do with multiple installations at the same time.

We’re going with 8 frame medium boxes. Would you try to put 9 frames in? We don’t have any drawn comb. Do I need to be concerned?

If anyone has any tips, I would be very grateful to learn from you!

Thank you! :smile:

Take your time, light the smoker and don’t kill the queen. I like to position the queen cage so her escape hole is facing up, this way if some of her attendants die, they fall to the bottom and don’t block her escape. Be careful when you poke a hole through the candy plug. I use a finishing nail; don’t stab the queen :open_mouth:
Suit up and work confidently, have fun and take pics.


Thank you! I hadn’t considered that harming the queen may be an issue. Yikes! Thank you for pointing that out. I’m working on the confidence part. :slight_smile:

We have tons of pine straw. Would that make a good fuel source for the smoker?

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Pine straw is my favorite so far!

You can fit another frame in, but consider that leaving it at 8 will give you room to slide frames over for easier grip in future inspections. If you stick with 8, push them all together & center this group in the middle of the box, with equal space on each side.


Please don’t put 9 frames in. You will mess up the bee space, and roll bees, killing them. You risk killing the queen if she is touring the outer suburbs when you pull the first edge frame out (assuming you leave one frame out while you inspect the rest, which most people do). If you want to use 9 frames, you MUST shave down every single frame as @Michael_Bush describes, so that the bee space is correct at the outer walls and you don’t roll/kill them.



Red has given you very wise info on the Queen n container you’ll find in your 3 boxes of bees.

I also started 3 hives this season. I chose to use Nuc’s as I wanted a quicker build up of the colony. Back when I was a teen we all started with packaged bees or swarms.

As Red mentioned … Take your time. Do each hive slowly n carefully one at a time. And please enjoy the ride. As for adding an additional frame, I wouldn’t. If need be you could add what is called a follower board to use some of the extra space until your colony gets the frames built/dawn out on the two wall/outer frames. I am not using a Flow-hive n I do use wax n plastic foundation so weren’t not exacting talking apples with apples experience but close. I’d just push/push your eight frames tight together/shoulder to shoulder n center all frames with equal extra space in out wall area or push to one side n add a follower board to use that extra space (the board needs to be same as other frames dimension length n height wise). Thickness less than a frame … Keep it simple as its only temporary n removed as wax is drawn out later. :+1:.

Here’s a couple of not exact examples I took for you. My example is using a standard 5 frame Nuc-hive but the idea is the same. Push frames offsides/to one side …
. Then add a narrower follower board. ( I didn’t have time to cut an exact - sorry - this morning so it’s pretend ! :smile::+1:. There’s a couple of pix’s of my small apiary here in my backyard here SE of Seattle. This WRC on the right is a standard 10 frame I bought from who builds the Flow Hive. . Again as Red n others will repeat … Take one hive at a time. Have an ice tea or something if you feel overwhelmed n your nerves n brain waves will return to normal … Then back to the next package n hive until DONE.

Enjoy n good luck,


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Whoops here’s couple pix’s of my beeyard here.

. . . . .

Don’t forget to chill-out n enjoy your three new hives … Take a few pix’s to share if you can…

Ta ta,

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All good advice above. I didn’t see any comment about the lack of comb. Its never been a problem for me, I put a half inch strip of foundation across the top of each frame and the bees do the rest.

There have been some interesting threads in other forums where a half sheet of foundation was used in the middle of each frame. This helped get brood comb going quicker and allowed the bees to build the comb they needed at each side.


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Great pics and information everyone!! Thank you so much!

I got pieces for the hive from too. I’m switching to 8 frame mediums, per @Michael_Bush 's advice, and am putting the Flow Hive (deep) super on top. Do you think the weight of two mediums can support the deep super? After seeing the difference in size between the mediums and the deeps, I’m having a hard time believing that three pounds of bees will fit in a medium! :smile:

I’ll post pictures if I can remember to take them!! :smile:

In North Carolina I’d be doing 3-4 mediums full of bees and stores before adding the Flow super.
When you do the install you can place a medium on the bottom board full of frames, put the second medium on top with just 1 or 2 outside frames and use the open area to dump the bees. You could even place the queen cage (exit facing up) in the upper portion of the bottom medium before you dump bees.

How are you feeding them?

Absolutely. It will be totally fine, even when the super is full of honey and weighs 50lb+

They will, but maybe not for long if you have a good nectar flow. You could start with 2 mediums if you were really worried. That would give you a bit more space than a 10-Frame Lang deep (about 30% extra). However, if you are going to inspect often, I would just start with one medium and let them draw out the comb.


You’ve gotten a lot of awesome advice here. Another advantage of mediums 8 or 10 frame is that the weigh less n are easier to handle as well.

I’m returning this year after being away from
beekeeping for about 55 years. Fortunate or unfortunately last summer … I returned to old thoughts n habits as I returned to the hobby. I bought a double deep to medium combo as when a kid (teen years) when I was mean n lean. Now at 70 I am finding a bit of that mean n lean has gone bye bye n those 10 deeps are Very Heavy ! :smiley:

Also I had NOT heard of this turn the tap technology (Flow-Hives). Really doesn’t matter this first year here in Western Washington n most northern areas. Usually up here it takes a full season for our colonies to dawn out the honey n brood combs. Even if our biggest nectar flow shall be amazing my colonies will maybe have the quality to winter over with enough honey supplies. I am going to buy one special wide 10 frame wide Flow-Super to try on one of my hives Spring/Summer 2017. Looking forward to trying this harvest method.

Whatever you do n chose … Enjoy, learn n have a pile of FUN !!

dabbling with five frame deep Nuc’s also. (That’s another story n desire of mine)… Ooooooh before anyone yells advice at me ! :smile::ok_hand: these Nuc’s in the pix are for storage n no :honeybee:’s in them yet. I only have one 5frame Nuc (out of this pix) thus far. I’d like to eventually have a few. Much easier to handle. Just not for honey production.

Cheers your way !


Thanks Rob! The frames have a comb guides so I am hoping that will do the trick. It seems like the smaller boxes will fill up with comb faster than a deep, or is that flawed reasoning?

The issue with multiple installations is drifting. So do it late or when it’s cold or when it’s raining. Those will minimize drifting. Install them in minimum space.

It takes heat to draw comb and it takes heat to warm brood. Too much space is much more work for a package struggling to get started.

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Thank you @Michael_Bush!

I wondered about that!

I’m in the SE where I’ll need to rely on an evening, rather than cold or rain, at the moment. I will be receiving them in the morning. Would I leave them by their intended hives until it gets dark?

Put them in the basement where it’s cool and dark and quiet until you are ready to install them. They don’t have water available and they can’t cool themselves if they are in the sun.

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Thank you Michael! That makes a lot more sense. I’m the only one that I know in my area that’s using medium boxes and the flow hive. I’m getting all sorts of confusing information. Thank you for your assistance!

Hi Michael_Bush!

They arrive in a few days! I’m excited and nervous. :slight_smile:

Would it be a good idea to add a frame feeder or something like that to take up space? I’m not sure I can get the medium nuc boxes here before they arrive.

I have two medium boxes assembled for each hive. I’m assuming I use only one at a time until the box gets full.

Thanks again!!

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If you don’t have a nuc just put them in one medium box. They will do fine.

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