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Can you provide feedback on my bee plan?


After two bee classes, 5 books about bees, and thousands of forum posts, my brain is suffering from information overload. In order to sort things out in my head, I started to make a plan on how to (a) prepare for the bees arriving, (b) install the nuc when it arrives, © care for the bees moving forward.

If you all wouldn’t mind, I’d love to get your feedback on my plan.

T = -25

  • Assemble Hive (done)
  • Organize bee/garden shed, add shelves, stock with equipment/tools

T = -14

  • Attend bee club meeting, hope to find someone interested in mentoring me

T = -7

  • Make sugar syrup for feeder (1 gallon of water mixed with 8 lbs of sugar, use heat to dissolve)

T = -1

  • Reduce hive entrance (1 or 2 inches)
  • practice using smoker
  • do a mock run through of bee day to make sure I am not forgetting anything
  • prep sugar water sprayer

T = 0, Bee Arrival Day

  • Pickup BeeWeaver Apiaries nuc from Dripping Springs Texas (nuc includes 4 frames of Italian bees, brood, and honey and 1 feeder)
  • Wear potection and light smoker
  • smoke hive
  • Put filled feeder in middle of brood box and 2 frames of brood on each side of the feeder, maintain orientation of frames when transferring from nuc box to brood box
  • Be extra careful not to kill queen, Look for queen while moving frames in order to feel good about safely transferring queen
  • Spray remaining bees in box with sugar water and jostle them into the top of the brood box

T = 3

  • Fill Feeder
  • Enlarge entrance (2-4 inches)
  • Check to see if queen is laying eggs, call BeeWeaver if there are no eggs

T = Every Week until Winter

  • Inspect hive for pests
  • Inspect hive for proper bee life cycles
  • Inspect hive for queen cells and potential swarming

T = Brood box frames are full

  • Add flow hive super


Don’t make it too early, it can go moldy quite fast unless you are willing to put some bleach in it. If you are installing a nuc, and there is a good nectar flow, you may not even need to feed. I would plan on feeding, but not force it if they don’t need it. I don’t know who told you to put the feeder in the middle, but I far prefer to have it at one side, or better still, use a top feeder. If you put it in the middle, you are breaking up the brood pattern, and making the queen’s life harder.

You shouldn’t need to do that. Just rap the box to shake them down, then invert it over the hive and shake them out. My husband likes to put a ramp (just a 1 x 12 plank) in front of the hive, then rests the box on the ramp with the top facing the entrance. If you are patient, a lot of the bees will make their own way out, but there will always be a few stubborn stragglers! :wink:

I think your idea of practicing with the smoker is a great idea. It can be quite tricky to get it lit and smoking cool enough not to burn bees. Once you learn what works for you, it gets a lot easier.

Don’t forget to spend time with your friends and family, and have some fun doing things which are not bee-related! :blush:


Don’t use heat to dissolve the sugar. I have read its not god as the heat changes the chemical structure of the sugar and can be unhealthy for the bees. Use room temperature or slightly warmed, and patience. Add a little sugar at a time and it will dissolve.


T - 7 - Boil the water and stir in the sugrar - Do Not boil the syrup - can be poisonous to bees[quote=“lhengst, post:1, topic:5355”]
2 frames of brood on each side of the feeder, maintain orientation of frames when transferring from nuc box to brood box

Don’t split the brood - put the feeder to one side - better still get a top feeder


Your check list looks pretty great ! Remember the comments on the syrup water. Keep it fresh ! One point you forgot !! RELAX n ENJOY ! :honeybee::honeybee: your doing great ! Gerald


I forgot to say, you might make @Michael_Bush cry if you spray the bees with syrup… :smiling_imp:


I get a sick joy out of watching grown men cry.


I will look into the top feeder option. I am hoping I can drop a quart mason jar into the feeder hole of the inner cover that came with the cedar hive kit.

The instructions from the Apiary said this…
“The 4 frames of brood/bees should be no more than one comb away from the feeder if you are using an in-hive feeder.”

I think I misunderstood their instructions… I think they meant that the entirety of the 4 frames should be no more than 2 frames away from a feeder. I originally interpreted this differently.


My wife is getting jealous of the bees.


Thanks for the advice about the sugar water, I will be extra careful to not burn the sugar.


Candles, chocolates, champagne and dinner with a chick flick can go a long way towards fixing that.


Don’t make Michael cry, he is a self-confessed hippie type with good intentions and a wonderful intellect! :smile: He even has a great sense of humor!

I like your new feeder plans. The mason jar is the easiest - you can just put it over the hole, you don’t have to make the hole bigger to fit the lid ring. I like pail feeders as they hold a gallon, but for this year, I bought a Brushy Mountain top feeder with floats. No idea if it will be any good, time will tell.



Yea. I’ve seen too many sticky dead bees in my time. I don’t want to see them again… If you spray them with anything (and I would not) I would only spray them with water.


Ask Beaweaver to mark the Queen. Looking at Valli’s video First Video for 2016 - Spring Bees you can see how easy it is to find the Queen.


What’s you take on the liquid smoke? I’ve seen a video with someone spraying it…


the queen marking system is year ending code
1 + 6 White
2 + 7 Yellow
3 + 8 Red
4 + 9 Green
5 + 0 Blue

last years Queen is Blue
This years Queen is White

Some just mark any colour some breeders mark with numbers

Yes they are much easier to find


Hi Lorne, I just hope your not over prepared:). Good luck when your bees arrive.


Yes, a bit of panic is always good - look at how well @busso is doing! :wink:


I tried it. I didn’t care for it for several reasons. The main one is that when I use a smoker, the hive does not smell like smoke the next time I’m there. With the liquid smoke it did. But I suppose if I was in a high fire danger situation, I might consider it better than the fire hazard of a smoker…


Hi Dawn, I must confess that I haven’t been following the forum all that close. I spent a lot of time the last 2 days fixing QX’s to stop queens getting into the honey supers. Guess what I found with the 2nd hive I checked this morning? A queen above the QX. Lucky I had a spare one in my truck.

About this thread: a checklist is always good. I’m going to make one for next time I do a cutout & put it on the fridge. Last time I did one about a 20 minutes drive away, I left my bee suit behind. I didn’t want to wear it there because of the heat. The lady asked me if I could do the cutout out of the ceiling without a bee suit:) My polite reply was “not really”.


Hi Busso, I’ve never had marked queens. I think it’s a good idea to practice trying to find them unmarked. We all need practice at reading the brood as well. Get good at looking over the brood for any signs of disease etc.