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Tractor Supply Co.

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Main Content

1. When are the bees shipping?

Bees will ship from mid-April to mid-May depending upon weather patterns. HLH will send the shipping schedule to TSC two weeks prior to shipping your bees. TSC will contact you and let you know the exact shipment date. The planned shipping schedule is to start with Southern states first and then work north.

2. Where do the bees ship?

The live bees will ship via UPS overnight to the address you provide. These are live insects and must ship next day air for delivery; therefore, TSC store delivery is not available. You are responsible for receiving the bees on the day of delivery.

3. Where are the bees coming from?

Northern California

4. Do the bees come with a health certificate?

Yes. Each package comes with a health certificate.

5. How do I insert the queen into the hive?

See the video in the link below.

6. What is the best way to get all my bees into the hive? Should I shake them, or should I place the shipping box next to the hive and let them find the hive themselves?

See the video in the link below.

7. How long do I wait to check them?

One week— NO sooner.

8. How often should I check my hive?

You should check your hive no more than one 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; thus, they are naturally more aggressive.

9. Do I feed my newly installed hive?

Yes. We recommend having the feeder set up prior to installing. If you forgot to put a feeder in, we suggest using an entrance feeder.

10. What should I feed my new hive?

A feeding ratio of 1:2 water to sugar. It should be very thick.

11. How long do I feed my new hive?

In colder climates, you should feed your new hive until the end of June. In warmer climates, you should feed your new hive until the end of May.

12. When do I put the second box on?

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

13. It is raining where I am. How long can the bees stay in the shipping container before I install them?

It is recommended that the bees be installed within 24 hours. The bees can wait to be installed up to 3 days if necessary (not recommended unless conditions require). You will need to care for your bees in the meantime. If it is cold (65 degrees or below), bring your bees inside, leave them in the wooden cage, and remove the outer shipping box. If the bees are very loud and buzzing, they are hot; You can LIGHTLY mist them with water to help cool them down. The bees have a sugar feed inside and will not require any syrup or food. The key to delaying the installation 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.

14. It is 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 temperatures are better than higher temperatures.

15. How many bees are in a 3lb package?

10,000-12,000 bees, including1 mated queen.

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

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

17. How quickly should I install my bees?

Recommended within 24 hours. If there is rain or snow, please see question 12.

18. Should I mark my queen?

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

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

Use the smallest setting.

20. When do I change the setting on the entrance reducer?

If the weather is above 65 degrees during day and night, you may remove it. If it is dropping below 65 degrees at night, leave on entrance reducer to help the hive hold onto their heat; be sure it is set to the larger.

21. Should I smoke them or spray them with sugar water before installation?

No There is no need to smoke or spray with sugar water before installation. The bees will be active and want to get to their hive. Please view the installation video if you are unsure.

22. Do I dump the queen cage in with the bees, or is there a better way to install her?

Please see our installation video.

23. I forgot to put a marshmallow in my queen cage. It still has the cork in it. What should I do?

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

24. I do not want to squash all of 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 our two out of the hive on the first week after installation. This will not hurt the bees. Remember to replace the frames on your one-week inspection. On your one-week inspection, 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.

25. Do I have enough space to be a beekeeper?

Space is not an issue. Bees that are maintained properly do not have to be a nuisance. What you need to provide to be a responsible neighbor is this: the entrance of the hive is like the runway to the airport; the bees use this flight pattern every time. In order to not bother neighbors, face that entrance away from any busy areas. Also provide a clean water source for your bees.

26. I have kids and animals will that be problem?

No. Bees can co-exist with families and other animals. The key to this not to face the entrance of the bee hive towards any play or active areas. Teach children about respecting the bees’ boundaries; you can co-exist, but space should be respected. We even suggest putting a fence around the hive if you are concerned about children or noisy livestock such as horses or cows getting into the hives.

27. We have bears in the area is that an issue?

Bears need to managed. Like the famous cartoon bear, bears love honey, and they will stop at nothing to get a bite of that yummy honey comb. You will need to have your hive in an area that the bears do not bother, like a shed or greenhouse or have some type of barrier.

28. What is the time commitment to be a beekeeper?

Beekeeping takes less time than other hobbies, and requires less checking and feeding than other livestock and domesticated animals. We recommend checking/inspecting one time per week Spring through Fall. In winter, you will not have to inspect at all, unless you are in a warm area. Remember, although bees do not need frequent interactions to live, in order to be a good neighbor, inspecting hives regularly is a must.

29. Will I get honey my first year of beekeeping?

You can get honey your first year of beekeeping. We advise our customers that the first year is a building year. However, some hives are super strong and allow for honey extraction. Others will be slower and take a second year.

30. Do I have to buy Bees every year?

No. Queens can lay up to five years before they will need to be replaced, but a strong active hive does not have to be replaced. Your bees would only need to be replaced if your hive died.