Stocking Your Hives
The beginner will usually obtain his bees in one of two ways. He/She may order a package of bees or a nucleus colony.
Package bees are usually sold as a 1.5 kg (3.3 lb.) package with a single Queen or as a 4 lb. package with two Queens (this will make two colonies). These packages are shipped in a sturdy cardboard box covered with hardware cloth mesh.
Where the difference lies between the two is how the Queen is shipped. In the 3.3 lb. package, the Queen is suspended in a Queen cage inside the package. The Queen cage has a store of hard Queen candy and several attendants to look after the Queen’s needs. In the 4 lb. package, the bees are shipped with a Queen pheromone strip in place to make the bees think a Queen is present, while the real Queens are shipped in separate Queen cages. In transit, the bees are being fed by a suspended container of sugar gel.