Friday, October 24, 2014

Red Hook Harvest Festival!

It's that time of year again! Bust out the observation hive, drink some cider, and talk about bees to anyone who shows up to the Added Value Community Farm in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

The address is: 3-49 Halleck St, New York, NY 11231

If you are interested in coming and helping me man the table, shoot an email to Tim at BoroughBees dot com. You'll get some bee time, lunch, and probably some honey! Downside? Gotta be there early! 8:30-9 early! And it ends at 4!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Our Honey Week Events

As you know, Tim is one of the original founders of the NYC HoneyFest! The BoroughBees crew will be at the HoneyFest on September 13th, but if you would like to come say Hi, ask questions, or buy honey in a less hectic environment, we have two more FREE events for you to attend. Both are through the Gowanus Canal Conservancy!

Urban Ecology Lecture: 
The Role of Honeybees and Other Pollinators in Urban Areas
Timothy O'Neal - September 10, 2014, 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM, FIND Furnishings (43 9th St., between Smith St. and 2nd Ave.)
Timothy ONeal, a local beekeeper and founder of, will lead a dialogue on the role honeybees and other pollinators play in our local, national, and global food systems. He will discuss how bees and humans interact with each other, and how those interactions may be improved and made more sustainable in the future. He will be joined for a Q&A session by fellow BoroughBee members Shelly Fank, Kimberly Rubin, and Olivia Weber. Please pre-submit questions to 
Tim ONeal is a New York City public school biology teacher who maintains and consults on hives throughout New York City. He has kept bees for almost 20 years and got his first two hives in middle school. He was as popular as that implies. 
Shelly Fank has worked as an environmental consultant, native plant conservationist, beekeeper, and puppet maker all over the U.S. She's migratory, but her bees are staunch New Yorkers. 
Kimberly Rubin came to New York by way of Maine by way of Illinois. This is her third season beekeeping in Brooklyn. In her spare time she enjoys reading novels that contain obscure references to bees. 
Olivia Weber is a private practice Art Therapist and Yoga Instructor in NYC. She has lived in over 15 states, but was born and raised in Singapore. She speaks Tagalog, enjoys cooking, and makes art. This is her 3rd year as a beekeeper living in constant awe of these tiny creatures. 
Click here to RSVP!

Local beekeepers at the Gowanus Canal Conservancy invite wanna-bees into our own Salt Lot for a tour of our apiary for NYCHoneyweek! Join the tour at Gowanus Canal Conservancy, September 14 at 11:30 a.m. 
To RSVP, email Kimberly at:

Friday, August 15, 2014

Busy, Busy, Busy...


 * TONIGHT! Tim from Boroughbees on NY1 Inside City Hall with Errol Lewis, Friday, 8/15 7pm and 10pm

* TOMORROW! Celebrate National Honey Bee Day Saturday, 8/16, approximately 11:45 with our weekly hive inspection in the Brooklyn Saint Marks Avenue Prospect Heights Community Garden at the Redwing Blackbird Hive (at St. Marks and Vanderbilt, behind Zaytoons)


*The Beekeeper  NYC film premiere featuring Boroughbees beekeepers. Wednesday, 8/20 at Anthology Film Archives (Lower East Side at 32 Second Avenue & 2nd Street) The evening program ( begins at 7:30 PM. The Beekeeper, the feature presentation, (trailer here: will screen at 9:15 PM. Tickets for the whole evening are $6 and are available at the box office the night of the screening. Filmed several summers ago, a New York City urban beekeeping documentary, screening on as part of the NewFilmmakers Summer Series.


*Urban Ecology Lecture Series at Gowanus Canal Conservancy: The Role of Honeybees and Other Pollinators in Urban Areas Wednesday, 9/10, 6:30-8pm at FIND Home Furnishing 43 9th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215   RSVP for free tickets here:

* NYC Honey Fest with Boroughbees observation hive and honey extraction events: Saturday, 9/13, 11am-sunset Rockaway Beach 97 (97th & Ocean) Free, daylong festival features art, food, music, film, kids’ arts and crafts, and a bee-product marketplace. Fun for the whole family, Honey Fest is a perfect way to close out the summer by spending the day at the beach.

*Gowanus Canal Conservancy Apiary Tour with Kim from Boroughbees: 9/14 11:30 AM to 12:15 PM on the Salt Lot at 2 Second Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215


*Tim from Boroughbees on WFUV Cityscape: The World of Beekeeping in NYC:

*Shelly from Boroughbees on Fiorella Eats (from Smorgasburg Food Book Fair):!Food-Book-Fair-Food-Book-Farm/c4ij/39F786DB-C8D0-4C7F-A31E-F69152CF2988

Monday, August 11, 2014

Public Extraction Pictures

We recently hosted a free public honey extraction, courtesy of the Brooklyn Kitchen, who provided the space, and additional assistance from Jim Fischer of NYC Beekeeping, who kindly lent us his motorized extractor and uncapping machine. Through their generosity, we were able to extract the honey of many community beekeepers completely free of charge! Minus a small jar of honey for my collection!

Prepping the extractor for the first load of HONEY.
Photos Courtesy of Mackenzie Anne Smith.

We got there early to rinse out and set up all the equipment in the back classroom; having a real restaurant style Kitchen made a world of difference. All the honey buckets went into the industrial dishwasher and came out sparkling clean.

Beekeepers from around the city had been invited to sign up for extraction slots and began to show up almost immediately. With two separate extraction set ups, we got to work quickly uncapping the honey and getting it into the extractor.

Loading Loren's uncapped mediums into the motorized extractor. She brought quite a few helping hands!
Photos Courtesy of Mackenzie Anne Smith.

The uncapper really did make an easy job compared to the knife method. Still, I never got it to work as quickly as the people in the videos! Maybe it takes practice....
Photos Courtesy of Mackenzie Anne Smith.

The automatic 'sideliner' extractor is pretty cool, but works best on FAT frames that the bees have drawn out thickly. It works by rolling the frames between what look like curling irons, which press through the cappings, allowing the honey to flow out. If the frames are skinny, the wooden side bars will prevent the rollers from making good contact with the caps. When that happens, a quick scratching with the uncapping fork will take care of it.

Uncapping forks are great. I'm just gonna mention that. They're also super cheap!
Photos Courtesy of Mackenzie Anne Smith.

The motorized extractor was great to have; it could empty 9 mediums in 2 or 3 mediums going full tilt. With a motor salvaged from an old washing machine, this thing packed some serious oomph and could get going at quite a clip. If the load was unbalanced, the entire thing would walk across the floor unless held in place. By me.

A way to minimize this is to snatch a wooden pallet from the street and secure the extractor to it using large screws or bolts. You can then get a lot of people to stand on the pallet and weight it down. It will still vibrate and be mildly terrifying, but it won't go flying off into the wild blue yonder.

Definitely NOT an OSHA violation.
Photos Courtesy of Mackenzie Anne Smith.

Filters are slow, but effective... if you are patient.
Photos Courtesy of Mackenzie Anne Smith.

Kim demoed the manual extractor and got her workout at the same time! Great!
Photos Courtesy of Mackenzie Anne Smith.

The manual extractor isn't as fast, but is a bit more flexible. While the motorized machine can only take medium or shallow frames, the smaller manual extractor can take deeps, mediums, or shallows, in any combination, as long as you balance it. We noticed that the motorized model had problems with plastic frames; the side bars were too wide to fit in the guides, so they would go flying. Not a problem for the manual extractor! It took a lot longer to get the honey out, but for the people who brought honey in anything but a medium, it was the only choice.

She's a multi-tasker.
Photos Courtesy of Mackenzie Anne Smith.

Honey Tasting and Sales Table
Photos Courtesy of Mackenzie Anne Smith.

We also ran a honey tasting from our hives around Brooklyn. Almost all the honey was light and linden-y, although the moisture content varied significantly between our rooftop and garden hives, which affected the flavor significantly. 

Shelly, impressing the guests.
Photos Courtesy of Mackenzie Anne Smith.

And impressed they were!
Photos Courtesy of Mackenzie Anne Smith.

Mike brought about 36 frames of fresh linden honey. With the extractor going full tilt, it took less than an hour to process his honey from start to finish! In fact, it only took 18-20 minutes of spinning! Everything else was uncapping, prep, and clean up!

Mike, hard at work.
Photos Courtesy of Mackenzie Anne Smith.

Stay tuned for another free extraction event, coming up this weekend in Brooklyn, led by NYC Beekeeping. It won't be open for viewing by the public, but any beekeeper who has honey they need out will be able to sign up for FREE extraction slots!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Picture Dump

Been spending more time behind the camera than in front of it. Thought I would dump a few pics of what we've been up to for your viewing pleasure.

“Busy, busy, busy, is what we Bokononists whisper whenever we think of how complicated and unpredictable
the machinery of life really is.”

― Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle

Olivia, inspecting.

Kim, copying.

Queen, crawling.

Worker, carrying.

Bees, festooning.

Neighbors, onlooking.

Frames, foundationless.

Ladies, curious.

Shelly, educating.

Plant, pollinating.

Nurses, caring.

Honey, dripping.

I feel like my photography has improved since I started the blog. My equipment has, at least. Wish I could say the same about my writing!


It's raining, it's pouring, the public hive inspections are canceled. 

You get the idea. No bees in the rain. Individual bees have less thermal mass than a raindrop. When a worker gets caught in the rain outside the hive, she will do her best to take shelter. If she gets wet, it is likely that she will lose so much heat that her wing muscles will cease to function. Without those muscles, she can't warm herself and she will die. 

I think there is a Death Cab For Cutie song along those lines....

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Highline Honey Day

Hey All,

I'm bringing the observation hive to the High Line Honey day, along with some raw honey for sale. We'll be in the Artisanal Honey Market, just south of the 14th street entrance from 2-7PM. Hot damn!
Taste your way through New York City’s first artisanal honey market. Friends of The High Line and the Brooklyn Grange Farm invite you to meet beekeepers from all five boroughs at this pop-up gathering of spectacular, sustainable, hyper-local food producers.
Meet the beekeepers and take home a jar of your favorite borough’s honey.
Get an up-close-and-personal look at the inside of a beehive through a glass-paned demonstration hive. Sharpen your eyes to spot the queen bee, or catch a glimpse of the nuanced “waggle dance” that bees use to communicate the location of nectar hot spots. Learn which High Line plants these pollinators love to snack on.

VIEW & DOWNLOAD a guide to High Line Honey Day

14 Street Passage
On the High Line at 14th Street

Here is my blurb, for anyone interested:
Timothy ONeal of is a New York City public school biology teacher who maintains and consults on hives throughout New York City. He has kept bees for almost 20 years and got his first two hives in middle school. He was as popular as that implies.

He and a team of beekeepers from BoroughBees will join the High Line Honey Day festivities with an observation hive containing several thousand workers, a few hundred drones, and a single queen bee. See if you can spot her!

He will also be selling a limited quantity of seasonal foundationless comb honey, ethically harvested from treatment-free hives located in Fort Greene, Gowanus, and Prospect Heights.

I will have LINDEN honey from Prospect Heights and Fort Greene, as well as a very limited amount of FOUNDATIONLESS COMB HONEY. Maui wowie!

See you there!

c. Alex Brown Photography 2014

Friday, July 25, 2014

Extraction Update

Hey all! Remember that the extraction happening at the Brooklyn Kitchen this Sunday (July 27th) is totally open to the public! If you just want to come watch, buy honey, or ask questions, show up any time! You don't even need to sign up! We'll be in the Brooklyn Kitchen lab/classroom in the back!

If you are bringing honey to extract, please make sure you pick up an appropriate number of time slots on the schedule ( and EMAIL ME the number of supers you are going to bring so I can make sure everyone will have enough time! Hit me up at .

Yes, that email is correct. Plus sign and everything.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Extraction Day!

Join us for a FREE Honey Extraction Event, hosted by BoroughBees, NYC Beekeeping, and The Brooklyn Kitchen.

Ever wonder how honey gets from the hive to your table? Feel free to come watch the honey flow and ask all the honey-related questions you've been dying to ask! Tim and Shelly from will be on hand with answers!

Got a bumper crop of Linden honey that you're just itching to extract and sell? NYC Beekeeping has provided the use of their new uncapping machine and motorized extractor! Sign up at for a FREE extraction time slot! You'll even have the chance to sell your honey on site at the Brooklyn Kitchen! BYO Bottles or buy them direct from The Brooklyn Kitchen!

Sunday, July 27th, 12-6PM
The Brooklyn Kitchen, 100 Frost Street

Saturday, June 28, 2014


Hey All,

We'll be at the NY Hall of Science today with a fancy new Ulster observation hive. If you have any kids, or haven't killed off your own sense of wonder with carefully sculpted New York City cynicism, come on out and eat a cricket or something. Here's their blurb:
Celebrate bugs with entomologists and bee keepers at this one-day event. Activities include bug eating, hissing cockroaches from NYSCI and the New York City Entomological Society, a local beekeeper with honey, a lady bug release, carnivorous plant workshops, the BioBus and much more. Free with NYSCI admission.

It's happening at the NY Hall of Science today between Noon and 4 PM!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Brower Park Butterfly Garden

Hi All,

We'll have our observation hive out in Brower Park today to celebrate the creation of a new "Pollinator Garden"! Come out any time today between 11-4 to see the bees, some Monarch caterpillars, and possibly snag some kettle corn (while it lasts.) If you want, you can even get your hands dirty, planting some tasty, tasty flowers!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

BoroughBee Space Calculator BETA

So I made a thing: A beespace calculator.

As you might have realized, there are many bee manufacturers, and each one uses slightly different measurements. This results in a mish-mash of equipment that is only compatible in theory.

Have too much of a gap between the bottom of one super and the top of the frames in another? BAMMO! Burr comb on errything.

Space between supers tighter than a hyena giving birth (seriously, just look it up)? Your bees are gonna propolize everything to hell, and you will be miserable trying to pull apart your boxes.

Using raw data kindly provided by Jim Thompson and originally published in Bee Culture Magazine for the same purpose, I have created a Google form which will spit out the space between any combination of supers and frames you may choose to enter.

Unfortunately, it is still a bit clunky. To find your results, you have to go to the publicly available results spreadsheet and hit 'Control + F' to find your name and results. You can also probably just scroll to the end, unless this thing gets super popular.

Lemme know how it works and feel free to leave me some feedback or suggestions for improvement!

You can find the results here:

It might take a few second for the results to update! Its free! Relax!

I currently have data on Bee Forever, Beeline, Brushy Mountain, Dadant, Humble Abodes, Walter T. Kelley, and Mann Lake deep supers. The frames I have measurements for are: Beeline; Brushy Mountain; Dadant; Honey Super Cell; Humble Abodes; Walter T. Kelley Wedge Top; Walter T. Kelley Slot Top; Mann Lake Wood; Mann Lake Plastic; Pierco, Black; Pierco, Green; Pierco, White; and Rossman Apiaries.

If you have hive bodies or frames that you want me to add to the calculator, please email me at info {at} BoroughBees {dot} com!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Queen Differences

One of the greatest worries of new beekeepers is figuring out if their queen is doing her job. “Is my queen healthy? Is she laying enough eggs? IS MY BROOD PATTERN OKAY!? OH MY GOD, WHAT DO I DO!?”

Sussing out the quality of a queen can be one of the greatest challenges a new beekeeper faces. A healthy queen is a wonderful thing, but it is important to remember that she is only part of the picture. The workers of your hive have a huge responsibility. They must feed, groom, and clean the queen, spreading her pheromones throughout in the hive. After she lays her eggs, it’s the nurse workers who feed the developing larvae, determine whether she will become a worker or a new queen, check every growing baby bee for signs of disease or parasitic infestation, and enclose the new pupae in a layer of protective wax.

With that in mind, without a healthy queen none of that matters. No healthy queen? No healthy brood, let alone the workers needed to care of it. Eventually the hive will die of attrition, as the oldest workers die out and none are born to replace them.

There are many reasons that a queen might be ‘bad’....

She might have been poorly mated or bred. A typical queen will mate with 10-30 drones during the several mating flights she will taking in her first weeks of life. If she mates with fewer drones, she might not have enough sperm in her spermatheca to fertilize the number of eggs she produces every day. If the drones she mates with are closely related to her, she might produce fertilized eggs that are not viable.

The sex of a bee is determined when the queen lays the egg it is born from. If the egg is unfertilized, the egg will develop into a haploid drone, in a process called arrhenotoky, a form of parthenogenesis. A fertilized egg will generally develop into a sterile female, but has the potential to develop into a fertile female queen if it is provided with a protein rich diet of royal jelly.

The exception to this pattern is the diploid drone. If a queen fertilizes an egg using a sperm from her spermatheca and the sex allele (think XX for a girl, XY for a guy) turns out to be identical, the egg will hatch and develop into a diploid drone.

Well, it would, if the workers weren’t capable of recognizing such a genetic abnormality and ‘recycle’ the larvae almost immediately, leaving a gap in the laying pattern. The lower the genetic diversity of the drone population the queen mated with, the higher the chance that this will happen. Inbreeding is bad, mmkay?

If you’re lucky, a good queen will produce amounts of high quality brood proportional to the amount of resources coming into the hive. If you’re feeding your new hive light sugar syrup, they are likely to produce a LOT of brood. A lot. If you’re lucky enough to have comb that is already drawn so your workers don’t have to split their attention between raising brood and building comb, you will likely have a ridiculous amount of brood, and fast.

So how do you figure out if a queen is good? Look at the comb! Look at the eggs! Look at the young larvae.

Is the pattern of eggs and newly hatched larvae tightly and solidly packed? Your queen is well mated, healthy, and fertile. Don’t stress out about the amount of brood; the workers are in charge of feeding and directing the queen, and thus the number of eggs she will lay. If the brood in a new hive looks healthy, but there is only a small amount, the hive might be short of a vital resource (nectar, pollen, clean water, clean comb), but is unlikely to be suffering from a serious disease or parasite.

If your brood looks patchy, especially at the very early stages of development, you just might have a dud queen. A good queen won’t miss many cells; she’ll plant an egg in almost every one. If she has a diverse collection of sperm stored away, very few of the fertilized eggs will turn out to be non-viable diploid drones and get ripped out. Lots of egg gaps? Worry.

So what does a bad queen look like? That’s hard to explain, but easier to show. Look at the images I took from a couple of my hives over the last few weeks. The first image shows a healthy egg laying pattern. Roll the mouse over, and you’ll see the same image edited to show a poor pattern. I’ve made images using both new and old comb containing both new eggs and young larvae. Determining the quality of a queen is a very subjective thing, but I hope these images might provide a little perspective.

It is always important to keep in mind that queens, new queens especially, may take a little time to get into the groove of things. Practice makes perfect. Some queens, particularly newly introduced ones (to repeat myself), may take 2-3 weeks to start producing the kind of brood they’ll give you for the rest of their lives. Maybe they’re a grower, not a shower. If a queen in one of your hives seems weaker than the other, transfer some healthy brood and nurse bees from a healthy hive. Maybe she just needs a little more support, nutrition, or time to develop her ovarioles.

Far too many new beekeepers replace the queen too quickly without giving her the chance to develop, wasting a potentially great queen, and $20-$30 plus shipping. Wait too long however, and your hive might peter out and have too small of a population to bounce back when you finally introduce a new queen. If you’re unsure, get another set of eyes on your hive! There are lots of beekeepers in your community, and some of them will be willing to offer an opinion.

All of them, actually.

When you do decide to replace a queen, however, don’t waffle. Call your supplier, order a new one, and introduce her to her foster daughters. I’ll talk about introduction techniques and equipment in a later post.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Food Book Fair at Smorgasburg!

Come visit the bees at the Food Book Fair! We're set up with Meg Paska and Organic Valley Farms!

Bees on everything!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Dud Queens!?

Queens from the same breeder, installed in the same area and at the same time can turn out to be profoundly different.

Check out these two pictures from different hives, both installed two weeks ago. Guess which one is the good queen:

Check back in a few days for explanations of what you're seeing here and what to do about it!


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Graffiti From Pompeii

"Lovers are like bees in that they live a honeyed life."

(Bar of Astylus and Pardalus)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Bees On Errything.

It's that time of year again; package installs!

We got our packages from Mann Lake this year, as they offered the one of the earliest pickup dates and lowest price. One of the NYC beekeeping organizations did a group pickup, which meant we didn't even have to drive to pick them up! The packages themselves are from California, as I assume the queens are, implying that they were taken from hives intended for pollination. I'm interested in seeing what kind of genetic diversity is shown in the populations of the new hives once a few laying cycles have passed.

Notice that these packages have no piece of masonite to seal in the queen cage and can of sugar syrup, unlike most of the packages we've purchased in the past. This means that they must be transported carefully; if any were to tip over, the can could become dislodged, allowing the bees to escape. Whoops? I can't imagine that a small piece of chipboard would add significantly to the unit cost. On a higher note, the packages themselves looked healthy and many were on the healthy side of three pounds, with very few dead on the bottom.

We picked up a total of 7 packages for both our personal and public hives, as well as a few for other people. It was a Saturday in Brooklyn, so parking was a beast. We ended up carrying the packages about half a mile to the car, which resulted in quite a few stares and selfies.

Arriving at the first location, we decided to try a variety of package install methods. Traditionally, a beekeeper might choose to knock the package firmly down to dislodge the bees and make removing the feeding can and queen cage easier. This requires a bit of finesse. Do it too gently, and the can and cage will come out covered with bees, which might intimidate new beekeepeers. Slam the cage down and the shock might damage the queen in her cage. Remember that bees are remarkably sensitive to any damage the queen may sustain. A twisted leg or bent wing may interfere with the worker bees' recognition of the queen, resulting in a rapid supercedure and a significant delay in colony build up and production. Bad news bears.

Any method that doesn't involve potentially damaging the queen is superior, although it requires you to be more exposed to bees. Is that scary? Don't be scared. You're a beekeeper, remember?

As I mentioned, the Mann Lake packages did not come with any piece to secure their feed can, meaning that Shelly could just use her hive tool to lift it out with her hive tool, bees and all. Easy. Great. Still a little scary that there is nothing securing it in place.

Depending on the number of bees attached to the can, you may choose to plop them into the hive, or leave them be for the moment so that you can get the majority of them in faster.

Then comes the queen cage. In this particular case, the small, California-style queen cage is held in place by a small strip of metal folded through a slot in the top of the package. To remove it, just slide the cage out and gently remove it, bees and all.

When you pull the cage, it will most likely be covered with bees. This is where an assessment needs to be made. The bees on the outside of the cage are strongly attracted to the pheromones released by the queen, but they may not have accepted her yet. Remember that the queens shipped with packages are likely as not from the same breeding stock, let alone the same hive. When the packages are assembled, preproduced queens are inserted into the boxes of bees shaken from any number of strong hives. The queen is completely foreign. If they let her loose, the workers would likely reject and ball her to death.

Take a close look at the bees on the cage. Are they gently hanging off and attempting to feed the queen through the screen? Look for their dark red tongues darting through the cage. They're small, but if you spot them, it means they have likely accepted the queen and you can release her right then and there, eliminating a later trip to release her or remove her cage.

Do they look agitated? Are they running around? Biting the cage? If so, you might want to consider leaving the queen protected for a few more days until the workers become accustomed to her scent. Better safe than sorry. For the most part, these bees seemed quite accepting of their new queen, which makes sense considering they had a couple of days to become accustomed to her face on their trip from California.

In this case, the bees seemed a little tetchy. It's easiest to wedge the queen cage gently in between two frames in the middle. If the cage has candy, the bees will chew through it to release the queen. If there is no candy, you will have to leave the cork in.. In either case, you will have to return in a couple of days to either remove the queen cage, or release the queen.

Once you place the cage, we gently shook the majority of the bees out into the hive. Again, there are a few methods of doing this. The easiest is to shake the bees directly out through the feeding can hole. If you're feeling fancy, you may use your hive tool to remove one side of the package entirely, letting you get all the bees out in one quick shake.

In either case, the bees are shaken directly into the hive and allowed to settle for a few minutes. This is an enjoyable process and you should treat it as such. Watching the bees pour out of the package is an awesome experience, especially if you're the one doing it.

Alternately some beekeepers suggest merely opening the package and allow the bees to migrate into the hive naturally as they are attracted to the queen pheromones. If you have a lot of time, this might work, but I think it is much more efficient to get them in the hive quickly so that they can get to work. The chances of injuring any particular bee when you shake them out is very low; just remember to do it gently.

With that in mind, there will always be a few (or a lot) of stragglers left in the packages, depending on how aggressively you shook them. In this case, the man lake packages came with a wooden reinforcement baffle on one side of the can cut-out, making it difficult to shake the bees out. Place the package directly next to the entrance and the bees should move into the hive relatively quickly.

Be careful when you put your hands in your pockets. If there is a bee in there, you just might get stung.

Like me.


The hives in Red Hook went in quickly. In both cases, we let the queens out immediately. They were eagerly being fed by the workers in the package. Bees remaining in the package after the initial install were shaken out onto the front porch of the hives before we left.

Kim's hives had a wide variety of honey left over from the year before. Take a look at the almost water white honey in the upper left and compare it to the dark amber stuff in lower right.

Kim's first install went quickly, and the bees quickly moved into the hive. Notice the number of bees spraying Nasonov scent into the air, marking the hive as their own.

For her second install, she opted to remove a few frames, making a space in the middle for her to pour the bees into. This gets them deep in the hive faster, making it easier to close them up when you're done.

Once the majority of the workers were in, Kim released the queen directly into the mass of workers. It is easiest to do, not by removing the cork and trying to shake her out (don't do this), but by removing the screen holding her in gently with your hive tool. Be sure not to poke her.

Once the cage is open, the queen will eagerly run down in with the workers and disappear from sight.

Kim shook out the remaining bees and then gently inserted the previously removed frames.

Notice the large amount of pollen remaining in the frame; this will be a major boon to the developing colony as it grows up their brood.

Putting a few undrawn frames allows the new colony to put their young workers to good use, building up fresh comb. They like doing this. Drawn comb is a great advantage for a new colony, but new hives are remarkably adept at building up new comb. Take advantage of this if you have any frames that are ready to be recycled.

Once the bees were in, Kim closed up the hives and we were done for the day.