Installing a package of bees in The Modified Layens Hive is very quick and simple, but more importantly, the process is also very easy on the bees. The package has already undergone a traumatic experience, therefore the installing of them in your hive should be as smooth as you can make it.
Consider this - they have been taken from their own hive, caged together with other workers as well as a queen they don't recognize and force fed a questionable diet. They are then trucked, for what must seem like an eternity, to a distant land they don't know and dumped into a environment that both looks and smells weird. Sound about right? Makes me want to abscond along with them just thinking about it.
While we have very little to no involvement in the process of packaged bees getting to us, we do shoulder the responsibility of what happens to them once they do. The Modified Layens Hive makes the installation very gentle on both bee and keeper.
Installing more than one package and concerned about drift? Not an issue with The Modified Layens Hive. I recently installed several packages at once (18 in one location, 13 in another) and though tracking the movements of each bee is, of course for me, not possible, I experienced no discernable drift between hives.
Here is a quick rundown of the process used to install a package of bees in The Modified Layens Hive.
The hive should be prepped by having 7 frames and the division board in the hive. Place 6 frames on the entrance side, then the division board (with the gap on the bottom) and then the 7th frame.
Start by sliding 3 frames and the division board to the opposite end of the hive, place the package of bees on this end and remove the syrup can and queen cage from the package. (This is certainty much easer with a helper.) With one person holding the strap to the queen cage the other can pry the syrup up and remove it. I do not use foundation in my hives so I place the can on top of the bottom rails of the frames allowing the bees to utilize the rest of the contents.
Next remove the queen cage and staple the strap or wire to the top bar of the fourth frame. It is not at all necessary to shake the workers from the cage and I would discourage doing this. If you are using foundation I would recommend using a frame with just a "starter strip" of foundation or a thin wood strip, to hang the queen cage from.
Once the queen is in place, slide the frames and division board back in place with the other frames. Place the package, with remaining bees, on it's end in the open space in the backend of the hive.
Put the insulation board in place over the frames and package and you are ready to close the hive up.
I know this may seem overly simple, but it truly is this easy. I have found that with the use of the division board, the bees exit the package and cluster with the queen rather rapidly. I remove the package container in 1-2 days, relocate the syrup can to where the package was (I place it on a couple stick to give the bees room to access the bottom) and then check in on them in a few days to make sure all is going well. I remove the syrup can when it is empty and add frames as needed.
Recently, two fellow keepers and I installed 50 packages using this method. The time it took per hive was less than 3 minutes each. Installing a package of bees in The Modified Layens Hive truly is very quick and simple, but most importantly, it helps to soften the blow of an already difficult transition for your bees.
Here are a few pictures of package bees in The Modified Layens Hive, 31 days after installation.
See the queen?