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Frequently Asked Questions

Bees and Shipments

What bees do you have and what are the differences between them?

Carniolan bees on honeycomb, including the queen

Italian bees on honeycomb, including the queen

Carniolan Bees

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Italian Bees

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Spring Build Up Very Quickly Normal
Swarming Tendency Above Normal Normal
Honey Production Normal Normal
Gentleness Mild Known to head butt in Spring
Wintering Method Large Colonies Smaller Colonies
Suitable for First Year Beekeeper? Yes Yes

How many bees are in a 3lb package?

10,000-12,000 bees and 1 mated queen (either Italian or Carniolan, depending on which you order)

When are the bees shipping?

Bees will ship during the month of April and the 1st week of May. As the date approaches we will contact you and let you know the exact shipment date.

Installation and General Beekeeping

What is the best time of day to install my bees?

Before dusk, as this forces the bees to stay in their hive.

How quickly should I install my bees after receiving them?

It is recommended to install bees within 24 hours. If there is rain or snow please see the next question.

It’s raining/snowing where I am. How long can the bees stay in the shipping container before I install them?

Although it is recommended that you install within 24 hours, the bees can wait to be installed up to 3 days later if necessary (not recommended unless conditions require). You will need to care for your bees in the meantime. If it is cold (55 degrees or below) bring your bees inside, leave them in the wooden cage. You can remove the outer shipping box. If the bees are very loud and buzzing, they are hot and you can LIGHTLY mist with water to help cool them. The bees have a sugar feed inside and won’t require any syrup of food. The key is keeping the bees cool. They need to be in an environment around 65 degrees. Do not place them in direct heat, wind, sunlight or on a heat vent.

It’s still cold where I am. Can I wait to install my bees until it warms up?

As long as it is not snowing or raining, the bees will be fine to install. Cooler temps are actually better than high temps.

How do I remove the piece of wood on top of the package to get my bees out?

Your hive tool acts as a great pry bar otherwise a flathead screwdriver will do.

Should I smoke them or spray them with sugar water before I install my bees?

There is no need to use a smoker or spray with sugar water on install. The bees will be active and want to get into their hive. Feel free to view Harvest Lane Honey's install video if you are unsure:

What is the best way to get my bees and the queen in my hive?

Please see Harvest Lane Honey's install video for guidance:

Should I mark my queen?

We don’t recommend marking her unless you are experienced in this method. You could accidentally injure the queen without knowing and cause the hive to reject her. Finding the queen on inspection isn’t as big a deal as knowing that you have eggs. Eggs are a very good indicator that the queen is active and laying.

I forgot to put a marshmallow in my queen cage and it still has the cork in, what should I do?

The bees won’t be able to release her with the cork still in. Go ahead and take the queen cage out of the hive and switch the cork out for a marshmallow (be careful not to release the queen) and put the cage back into the hive.

I don’t want to squash all my bees, do I have to put all the frames into the hive or can I leave a couple frames out?

Yes it is totally normal to have to leave a frame or two out of the hive on the 1st week after install. This will not hurt the bees; just remember to replace the frames on your one week inspection. You can on your 1 week inspection just use your bee brush to gently push the bees out of the way. Use slow motions when replacing the frames and this will prevent any unnecessary bee crushing.

Should I feed my newly installed hive?

Yes, we recommend having the feeder set up prior to installing. Starter Kits come with an in-hive feeder which you can fill prior to installing bees. If you forgot to put a feeder in we suggest using an entrance feeder.

What should I feed my new hive?

We recommend Harvest Lane Honey Liquid Bee Feed

How long after installation do I wait to check them?

You should wait 7-10 days before checking on them.

How often should I check my hive?

You should check your hive no more than 1 time per week. Checking during the heat of the day will ensure that most of the hive is out foraging and make for an easier inspection. You should not check your hive at dusk or early morning, the hives are easily aggravated during these times and naturally more aggressive.

How long should I continue to feed my new hive?

Until the end of June in colder climates, end of May for warmer climates.

What setting on the entrance reducer do I use when installing my package?

Use the smallest setting.

When should I add the 2nd deep box?

It will take about 4-6 weeks before you will put on a second box to the hive. How you will know the hive is ready for this, is when 8-9 frames are built out with a comb and the bees are beginning to fill the comb with brood and honey reserves. Once you see this, it will be time to add another box.

Concerns About the Bees or the Queen

I have about an inch of dead bees at the bottom of the package, should I still install?

Yes, this is normal. Our supplier actually fills the bees fuller in anticipation of the hives having some loss.

My bees are all dead. What should I do?

Please reach out us immediately (customerservice@familyfarmandhome.com) with an image of the bees.
Note: You must have been home and signed for the bees to receive a refund or replacement.

My queen is dead how do I get a new one?

If the queen is still in her cage:
Please email a picture to us immediately (customerservice@familyfarmandhome.com).
Must send within 24 hours. Queens will only be shipped M-Th. Your bees will be fine without a queen, so don’t worry. You can install the bees now and the queen when it arrives.

If the queen is NOT in her cage:
You can purchase a new queen and we can have her shipped to your home M-Th. Your hive will survive during the wait period. If you haven’t installed your bees go ahead and do that. Please reach out to us (customerservice@familyfarmandhome.com) to inquire about purchasing a queen.

My queen flew away, what do I do?

You can purchase a new one and we will have her shipped to your home M-Th. Your hive will survive without her for a few weeks. Please reach out to us (customerservice@familyfarmandhome.com) to inquire about purchasing a queen.

My queen is a drone layer, how do I get a replacement?

Please email a picture to us (customerservice@familyfarmandhome.com). Please note, we can only accept claims within 3 weeks from receiving bees for a drone layer.

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