Installing 3lbs of swarming bees into their new hive box is something one does carefully. First we must remove the feed canister and then the queen box and place a cover over the hole in the box. The queen is in a separate small box so the other bees in the package have time to adjust to her. This box has two openings. One with a candy plug and another with a simple wooden plug. The candy side is opened and the box is suspended so that opening is facing up. I have found that using a chop stick and a rubber band works well to properly suspend the queen cage between frames.
Once the queen is removed and suspended in the hive, the rest of the bees can be added. This is the most intense moment of the installation. This is a box filled with three pounds of vibrating stinging insects. First we knock the box to send the bees to the bottom and then quickly flip the box over to dump the bees out and into the hive through the hole the feed canister had been in. There are always a few bees left in the box. We just set this in front of the hive and the bees will find their way inside. We also sprinkle some of the syrup that they were shipped with onto the frames. This keeps the bees busy eating instead of stinging. We also prop this up on the shipping box so the bees can get the rest of the syrup and none goes to waste.
We use the brush to get the bees down into the hive and we replace the inner cover and lid of the hive. It is also important to note that we use a smoker to calm the bees during this whole process.
We prefer to install bees in the early evening. Honey bees do not normally leave the hive after dark so the bees will move into the hive fastest at this time of day. Once they emerge in the morning they will automatically home back to this new hive. We usually feed the bees some pollen replacement patty and sugar syrup at this point. This is to give the hive an easier start. The package bees have no stored honey or wax to work with. They must draw out all the wax to build the new comb and find sources of pollen and nectar in a strange environment.
If five days we will return to the hive and check that the queen has been released. If she is still in the queen box and the bees are acting accustomed to her, we will open the other end of the queen cage and release her.