Buzz the Apiary

© 2017-19, ZBees Apiary, Waynesville, NC.                                                                                                          Buzz the Apiary

Lifetime member of the North Carolina State Beekeepers Association

“Bee-Day” arrived on April 15, 2017, as I received two packages of bees from KT’s Orchard and Apiary in Canton, North Carolina. My new hives were ready, and I prepared for this day yet, I still had many thoughts:

Would the queens survive the trip to their new apiary?

o Yes, each hive of workers accepted the queen. They are laying eggs (see Beekeeping in Tennessee, Races of Bees).

Would the bees survive the trip or possibly “fly away during the installation?”

o Out of 10,000 honeybees, I lost about eight. After installing the two packages I found another ten to fifteen dead bees over the next couple of days.

o All hives are healthy, and the bees have accepted their new home and starting to bring in pollen.

Did I study and watch other beekeepers enough to protect the investment I have made so far?

o Yes, the hives were ready, the books I read and videos I watched helped to identify what bees I wanted and how to install the packages effectively.

o I sought the counsel of experienced beekeepers and asked them to come by the house and see if they agreed where I wanted to place the apiary. Thanks, Mike, Allen, and Rich.

Did I take enough notes at the monthly bee club meetings?

o What I learned by taking notes helped me prepare for what comes next, “hive management.” I learned a valuable point from Tyree Kiser, an experienced beekeeper.

o He pointed this out in his presentation, “Learn at least one new thing about bees every time you attend a meeting or seminar.” Thanks, Tyree, I do!

Do I have the necessary tools and equipment needed to setup and preserve an apiary?

o Yes, I procured what I need to set up the foundation for the hives, I bought tools, protective clothing, a respirator, and built a toolbox to carry these items.


Planning and preparation are the key ingredients to a good installation, but they are not always a guarantee of a “stingless” installation. They are “insects” after all. When in doubt- WEAR PROTECTION!

Ask most beekeepers about the best way to install a package of honeybees you will get an array of answers. Here is what I learned about installing honeybee packages.  The best method for installing packages “depends” on two limitations, 1) The “comfort level” of the new beekeeper in handling honeybees, and 2) How quickly do you want the bees to congregate around the new queen?  Your “comfort level” will usually decide the manner in which you load the hives and I was comfortable in just “dumping” the bees onto the frames.  I suit-up for the inspections because I do not like bee stings and I am not allergic to honeybees.  I just prefer to keep from itching during the four days after I get any sting.  Here is an afterthought to consider about bee stings, during the first year I received twelve (12) honeybee stings from two hives with a total estimated population of 130,00 honeybees. During the second year of beekeeping, I received six (6) honeybee stings from five (5) hives with a total estimated population of 225,000 honeybees. and to date for 2019 the count is two (2) stings from a new estimated population of 107,000 honeybees.

The resulting decline in stings is due in part to “greater knowledge” about caring for honeybees and “slower movements” around the hives. Weather can have a detrimental affect on the honeybees temperament however, stings usually occur when beekeepers do something wrong during the installation or inspection process. As with any beekeeper, you will determine the best way for you to load your hives with honeybees.

Package Installation

Package installation of a new apiary

Questions to Consider…