Beginner beekeepers who are thinking seriously about breeding honey insects will need to learn all the nuances of acquiring, keeping bees and organizing a bee farm. And one of the most important concepts that a novice beekeeper needs to know: “Why do we need bee packages?”. After all, it is in them that new inhabitants are delivered to the apiary.
What is a bee package
Beekeeping is a commercial project, so the objects of sale are not only the waste products of bees, but also the insects themselves.
During the season, the number of bees in the hives grows strongly (in swarms or working layers). Surplus individuals are put up for sale, forming bee packages. They include a certain number of bees that form a young but independent colony.
According to the standards, the kit includes a fetal queen bee, 1 to 2 years old, 1.3 – 1.5 kg. healthy and strong bees, two frames with printed bee brood, 3-4 kg of feed (depending on how far the family will be transported) and a container for transportation.
The bee family is measured in kilograms, by the weight of one frame (435×300), densely covered with insects.
The package is purchased and formed only in the spring (late April – early May).
First, all individuals are available at this time.
Secondly, the bees are full of energy and have produced a lot of layering.
Thirdly, so that the new settlers can settle down in a new place, start feeding on their own, get stronger and start to carry honey.
Throughout the entire move, insects are provided with adequate nutrition and water.
A bee package is formed from a part of a healthy bee colony. They are created with one purpose – to sell. For example, Buckfast bee packages are very popular. Insects of this breed are distinguished by their peaceful nature, high melliferousness and normal wintering.
Difference from the bee colony
A bee colony is an organized community with a complex hierarchy. It is headed by a queen bee, which is subject to several thousand working representatives with an underdeveloped reproductive system, and hundreds of male drones.
The insect community is organically linked to each other, and each of its members performs specific functions. Bees exchange signals and sounds with each other, exchange pheromones and food. Therefore, individuals cannot exist separately.
Each “honey-bearing” family that has survived one year has its own individual smell, propolisation of nests, productivity, tendency to aggression, resistance to diseases.
The division of the family (layering) is possible at the birth of a second or third uterus, which will form around itself “subjects”. Formation of high-quality bee packages is possible in a large apiary with strong bee colonies.
That is why it is important for the buyer to personally verify the health of the future “livestock” and to choose the appropriate feed.
How the bee package is formed
In order not to harm insects and not be bitten by bees themselves, you need special equipment: a box, smoker, brush, chisel and an old pillow.
- We put a container next to the hive and remove the lid;
- We shake insects off the canvas, before that, raising a little to the hive;
- Using a chisel, carefully remove the frames so as not to harm the honey plants;
- We put the uterus with a frame on a pillow;
- We take out one stern and 2 – 3 frames with a printed brood filling the surface from bar to bar;
- From one frame, the bees are shaken off into a bag (part of the flying bee will return to the hive);
- After 6 hours, the uterus is placed in a special cage to the rest of the family of the bee package.
After manipulating the “seedlings”, add one frame with warm food, a frame with land and two with foundation, placing them through one with brood into the main family. We close the hive.
Bee packages are prefabricated (if selected from several families), and non-prefabricated. In this case, one family is divided into several layers. Such a complete set is possible only from a very strong family.
Description and types of bee packages
According to their design and materials, containers for transportation “packages” are divided into frame and frameless. They can be made independently from plywood, chipboard and corrugated cardboard. The dimensions of the bee packages are agreed with the customer.
The most common type is the Dadan-Blatt honeycomb frame bee package (435×300 mm). It is named for its founder and developer, who adapted the portable hive for the northern regions. Subsequently, the universal design became widespread among beekeepers.
It is a “constructor” of interchangeable parts. It is made up of 3 – 5 frames, which include 3 pieces with brood, and the rest with feed (depending on the distance of transportation).
Bee packages are collected from a queen bee, placed in a special cage, a feeder, which contains sugar syrup or kandy (plastic mass consisting of sugar and honey), 1.5 kg of bees.
The boxes consist of two nets on the sides, and on the other sides are hermetically closed. This type of shipment has a number of advantages over frame delivery:
Firstly, the costs for the prevention of diseases of bee layers are reduced,
Secondly, transportation and the packages themselves are much cheaper than cellular ones.
Thirdly, in the container, the individual behavior of the queen bees is well traced, which affects the further development of the family.
Bee package content
During shipment in plywood containers (parallelepipeds), there are two holes for the cage with the queen and the feeder. Usually, food is loaded into the bee package for 10 days, with a margin.
In boxes with frames, brown honeycombs are usually loaded, they are stronger than white ones. Do not crumple or break on the way. The four-frame bee package consists of two brood and two feed frames. A six-frame bee package is made in the same proportions.
Transfer of insects from bee packages to the hive
In anticipation of insects, it is necessary to prepare their new house – a hive. It should be dry, without cracks and equipped with a drinker and top dressing – sugar syrup. This will make it easier for the bees to move away from the move. The honeycomb is placed in the hives, at the rate of 1.5 kg of animals, five standard or seven multi-frame frames, which are limited by the diaphragm.
The insects are then examined for disease. A long journey and cramped conditions in a bee package can provoke diseases in them.
The methods of relocation of insects depend on the package in which they were transported.
The check-in process from such a package takes place in cool weather. Letki are placed opposite the hive. While the bees are flying and looking around in a new place, the beekeeper must put the frames in the box in the same order in which the bees were transported. Those insects that did not fly should be carefully shaken off into the house from the bee package.
The queen bee is released from the bag only when all residents have adapted.
Even before the arrival of the bees, it is necessary to prepare the Dadant-Blatt framework. Before moving the honey plants from the bee package to the hive, they are placed for several days in a cool place (in the cellar), provided with food and drink.
Then the lid of the bee package is opened slightly and a cage with a queen bee is found. It is opened slightly and placed between the frames in the hive. The rest of the bees are poured into the house in a bag. After a few days, the bee package can be removed from the hive, and the queen bee released.
Popular bee breeds
Depending on the habitat, beekeepers distinguish several popular bee breeds according to their main characteristics. These include melliferousness, disease propensity, how they cope with wintering and aggressiveness.
Karpatki and Karnika are distinguished by a high collection of early spring honey, they grow a large amount of brood, therefore, bee colonies grow strongly in the spring.
During a cold snap, when other insects stop flying, this species supplements and seals the old larvae with the remains of pollen. The rest of the open litter is discarded.
Buckfast is a bred breed recognized as one of the best in beekeeping. “Winged” are distinguished by increased melliferousness, lack of craving for the formation of a swarm, peace-loving character. It was bred for 50 years by crossing the Italian and English representatives (the latter were practically destroyed by the tracheal tick).
The queen bee has a very high productivity, which allows you to keep a high livestock.
This breed is best bred in the south, insects do not tolerate cold climates.
The Central Russian bee is best suited for breeding in the main territory of Russia, with its temperate climate and frequent frosts in the off-season.
The insect has another name – “Double Mellifera”, which in translation from Latin means “Honey, honey”.
The large size of the calf allows collecting the maximum amount of pollen in a short flowering period.
Honey plants are resistant to diseases, tolerate cold well. The hives do not need to be moved to a warm place for the winter.
Central Russian bees are considered very aggressive, so they protect themselves from the attack of strangers. But attacks on humans are very rare.
To successfully engage in beekeeping, such a fascinating and profitable business, learn as much information as possible about the intricacies of the craft from “experienced” beekeepers. And then “the salary twice a year” from the sale of honey and bee packages will be guaranteed.