There are a few ways to get bees: don’t let your bees die over winter, get lucky and catch a swarm or buy packages in the spring. I first laughed when I learned that bees came in packages- and by the pound! But it makes sense now that I think about it. I have yet to meet a person who has the time or will to count bees any other way.
These pictures can give you an idea of what it’s like to hive new bees. This first one is of Mike opening the package by taking out a can full of sweet, sugary bee food. See the bees in the bottom half of the box?
After opening the package-o-bees, you’ve got to introduce them to their new home. We do this by pouring them out into the hive. Most of them plop in there and get to work but you can see some flying around (little black dots in the air).
In this last picture you can see a small box in my hand; this is the queen. She gets her own little separate box within the package of bees. Why, you ask? Because she’s the queen, duh. How doth thou put her mixed in with mere worker bees!
Once the bees are in their new abode, we open that box to release the queen and hope they like her as much as I do. If they like her, the colony will continue to grow and bee happy. If not, we could be in a pickle : /