1 - The best time to start your hive is when it’s warm, but bees can be available for purchase well into mid summer. It depends where you live though – some places are warm all year round, some not – so it really depends. When you get your bees, they have to forage enough food and grow to put themselves through the winter, so usually at the start of spring, or when it’s warm and the flowers bloom, you can get a small swarm. If you live in a climate with four seasons and you decide to get bees in the middle of the bee season, it’s best to get a bigger swarm to give them a head start. If you get bees during the cold months, they will get cold and this will stress them out. They won’t go outside to find pollen, nectar, etc which they need to finish the new hive, and therefore won’t grow. So you have to move them when it’s “bee season” in your area.
2 - When you introduce the bees, it is best to put the nuc on top of the B-BOX for three or four days. This is because bees have a very sensitive sense of orientation, and this way the entrance levels will be more or less similar. Moving for them means they have to get adjusted to their new location, new flowers, new house. Letting them sit in a new location in their old house makes it a little easier on them, so when we place the B-BOX in the place of their old hive, they will think that that is their home. The beekeeper would normally bring you bees on around 4/5 already populated frames. The hive fits up to 10 frames, both Dadant and Langstroth sizes, so you can get whichever you prefer or whichever is available in your region. We suggest putting frames with a wax foundation; this way the bees will have a head start and can produce honey and grow faster. The top bar of the frame can be a maximum of 48.5 cm and a minimum of 45.5 cm.
3 - When you first introduce the bees into the hive, you can put a feeder on top of the metal net in the upper part instead of the white honeycombs. Or you can put the feeder on top of the little holes of the bee escape. We advise you to remove the white honey comb frames at the start because the bees are not going to build up if they haven’t finished building their nest. It’s just like in a regular hive, the bees will first finishing building the nest and then move up to the super. The feeder can both be sugar water or sugar patties, which ever you prefer. If there are no flowers around at the moment, or it’s raining consecutively for a week, the feeder will be really helpful. Once you see that the swarm is growing and the bees are gathering a lot of honey, you can remove the feeder. Sometimes you would not need to put the feeder at all, it depends on how much honey they have and on the availability of flowers, pollen etc…
4 - Once the swarm grows and the bees finish up building their brood, you can open up the upper part of the hive and instal the white honeycombs so they can start building up. You will be able to tell when the swarm grows by either opening up the hive and seeing if almost all frames are occupied, or by looking through the plexiglass covers to see if they have expanded all the way to the other side. That should be a good indication that they are ready for more space. The reason why we suggest removing these white honey combs is so you can avoid condensation and it is easier to give the hive inspections. Remember to keep the top wooden cover on though – to protect the bees from the sun, rain, wind etc. Or else they will start closing the metal screen on the top with their wax cells. Before placing the white honeycomb frames, we suggest placing wax foundations between the frames. In this way the bees will have a much easier time building their honeycombs. Bees require a lot of resources to build wax – more than they need to produce honey, so keep that in mind!
You can insert the wax foundations like this: