Have questions? We've got answers! This time of year, our phones are ringing off the hook. To get the fastest answers to your simplest questions, check out this list of FAQs!
As a reminder, please note that all reservations must be done on the phone or in-store, as online bee-purchases are not yet available.
Haven't bought your bees yet? Visit our BUY BEES page to learn more,
then stop by the store or give us a call to reserve!
Q: Where do I pick up my bees?
A: If you ordered a package, pick up will be at Wild Mountain Bees (23 Merrimon Ave, Weaverville, NC).
Q: What if I'm not available on the date of pick up?
A: Our pick up works in waves. If you're not available during the first wave, we'll push your name to the top of the list of the second, and then so forth until there are no more waves left.
Unfortunately, there is no way for us to save your package for you if you cannot pick up on any of these days. Our best advice is to ask a friend (perhaps from your local bee club) to pick it up on your behalf and have them do the initial installation for you.
Q: I want to have someone mark my queen. How do I go about doing this?
A: Unfortunately, we are not offering queen-marking services for packages at this time. We suggest that you mark your queen or have a trusted bee-friend mark her for you, after the package has been successfully installed.
Q: What breeds of bees are available?
A: The bees from our supplier are Italians or Carniolans, or a hybrid of the two.
Q: What if I want a specific breed of bees?
A: Unfortunately, you can't request a specific breed at this time– we suggest you reserve an italian or carniolan queen, which is possible with us, to guarantee a breed. You will have to requeen your hive on your own, as we will not be able to replace the queen in your package ahead of time.
Q: How do I install my package?
A: Before the day of pick up, make sure your bee yard, bear fence, and hive are bee-ready. (For example, it may be a good idea to paint your bee-boxes ahead of time, as after your bees arrive, it will be quite difficult to do!) If you're a first timer, you may want to have your bee-mentor or a friend from your bee club assist you in installation. Your steps will essentially consist of a night-before prep for feeding, picking up your bees, putting them in the hive, and observing as things go forward.
The Night Before:
Prep a sugar syrup with a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water. The majority of this solution will be used to feed your bees, so they have food readily available as they're adjusting to their new home. Put some of this solution into an unused, clean spray bottle, which will be used to spray your bees before you open your package.
The Day of:
Pick up your bees as early as possible at Wild Mountain Bees. They won't escape in the car, but make sure they won't tip over or be overheated in the journey home so they arrive unagitated. Once at the bee yard, put on your entrance reducer and open your hive by taking off your telescoping top and inner cover and leave your brood box accessible. (If you have a deep, all you have to take off are these covers. If you have double mediums, or have extra honey supers, take off all the supers.)
Spray your bees through the screened walls with sugar syrup. (Don't over-spray, as this could drown them.) The idea behind the spray is 1) to distract them as you put them in the hive and 2) as they clean themselves and each other, they will begin to warm up to being a hive. Remember that they are not yet a colony, just stranger bees in a box. This sugar cleaning ritual offers them food and a bonding activity.
Use your hive tool to take off the wooden cover, exposing the top of the feeding can and part of the strap attached to the queen cage. Pull out the can at the top, being sure to hold onto the queen cage. Don't let it fall into the package! Carefully take the queen cage out of the package. Pull out the middle three or four frames. Afix her cage to the center frame with a tack or some tape. There should be a cork over the candy cork–if there are two corks on either side of the cage, be sure to only pull off the cork covering the candy cork. The bees will spend the next few days warming up to her scent, eating at the candy cork covering the entrance to the cage. After the first couple days, the cork should be gone, she should have emerged into the hive and her bees should have accepted her. If the cork is stuck or is a regular cork wait a week to manually extract it.
Next, lift the box and gently shake the bees out, directly onto the frames. Replace the frames, being careful not to squish any bees in the process. Leave the box in front of the hive for any stragglers to fly back into the hive. After putting the bees in the hive, make sure to feed your bees with whatever method you've chosen (we don't suggest entrance feeders at this time or for beginning beekeepers as they can cause robbing). Close the hive.
Your bees have taken up residence at your hive! In the next few weeks, observation is key. Do not enter the hive in the first week, allowing the bees to warm up to their new home without intrusion. Be sure to keep their feeder full and look for bees coming home with pollen. After a week, you may enter and remove the empty queen cage.