Installing Package Bees In A Rooftop Hive Named Willow

Installing Package Bees into Willow Hive

On Saturday after picking up our three bee packages, Brian and I set out to install them.  First we got the roof ready for the new hives.  The roof is black and can get very hot in the summertime, sometimes reaching temperatures of 30 degrees or more above the outside temps.  Since we don’t want to cook the bees up there, the first thing we did was place a white PVC sheet down underneath the new hives.  This actually reduces the heat significantly and makes the temperature the same as the outside.  It’s amazing what a little color or lack of it can do!

The bee package.

We also setup the hive stands and empty hives in preparation for the bees.  Willow hive was installed first.  This hive will be managed by me and was named after the willow tree and it’s importance as a food source for bees.  Willow has its own page on the site so you can follow along with the hive’s progress.  You can also get there by mousing over The Apiary link above and clicking on Willow Hive.  My goal is to have this be a foundationless hive.  I started the girls on a mix of wired wax foundation and wired frames with wax starter strips.   The highlight of this install was seeing the bees clustered all over the queen cage.  Bees are so amazing!

The bees clustered around the queen cage.

Here is a picture of me shaking the bees into the hive.  You can also see some of the frames with starter strips next to the hive.

Shaking the bees into the hive.

In this picture most of the bees are inside the hive and it’s time to close it up.

Most of the bees are in the hive now.

To see more detailed pictures and descriptions of the package installation view the gallery below.  Just click on a picture then scroll through the slideshow by clicking on the arrows.  If you click on the picture the gallery will close.  If you are viewing this in an email or reader you may have to read this post on the website for the gallery and descriptions to display properly. Enjoy!


Other Posts You May Enjoy:

  1. It’s Queen Cage Removal Time!
  2. Picking Up The Package Bees
  3. Bee Package Installation – Don’t Forget The Cork!
  4. I Want Candy! So Let’s Make A Candyboard For Winter Feeding
  5. Installing Package Bees In Dandelion Hive

This post was linked to Farmgirl Friday and the Barn Hop.

Author: Anita Deeley

Anita Deeley is a biologist and former state bee inspector who maintains 100 honey bee hives. She is the beekeeper, writer, owner and creator of When she is not spending time with her girls (the bees), she enjoys being a wife to her beekeeping cohort, Brian and mother to 3 little boys (the beekeepers in training). Read more about Anita here >> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Connect with Anita on Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Facebook here.


  1. Hi there, I found thourgh the Barn Hop and so happy that I did.
    I installed foundationless frames in a honey super about two weeks ago. It’s my first time not using foundation. I used foundation for the brood chambers and will slowly swap the frames over to foundationless over time. I’m going to be adding a new nuc in a few weeks and will start that hive totally foundationless. In fact a friend, gave me 20 large frames of foundationless comb that I’m going use for that colony.
    I’m enjoying watching my experiments as they unfold.

    • That’s great! I hope to go all foundationless with this hive. If it works out well, I will switch my other hives over also. It’s nice you have a friend to give you the comb, then the girls won’t have a chance to mess it up (at least at first). I’ve had trouble with one colony on the pierco foundation. They would rather build burr comb than draw out the plastic. I think they may be trying to tell me something. I’ll probably switch that hive over to foundationless pretty soon as well. I’m interested to see how your foundationless hives work out. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

  2. I didn’t know the hive had to level to have the girls draw out the foundationless comb. I wonder if that was one of our problems–we have our hives a bit tilted to let the rain out.

    We put in one foundationless comb a couple days ago, between two frames of capped honey. My teacher said the girls would be more likely to draw out the comb if the surrounded frames can’t be built onto.

    Great pics, btw. You sure put in a lot of effort for this post. I’m appreciating it; it was awesome.

    • Thanks Mil! I think the best way is to put the foundationless frames between two drawn frames of capped honey. Let me know how it works for you. If this hive works out well, I’ll try that method on my other hives. Yes the hive needs to be level for them to build the comb correctly. I do have the outer cover tilted back slightly, so the rain drips off (I did this after the queen was released). If you balance the very end of it on the inner cover and move it forward enough for it to overhang over the inner cover entrance it works great. You can see a better description of that at the end of this video. My mentor Stan taught me that trick last year and it works great. Good luck with your frames!

  3. Pingback: Parts of a Beehive - Beginner Beekeeper's Guide - Beekeeping - BEVERLY BEES

  4. Hello
    Boy am I glad I found all you here.
    I am a died in the wool rockie beginner.
    I purchased a hive with 2 deep supers and a medium super with a peaked roof.
    I also purchased a package of bees coming soon.
    Now the fellow did not tell me where to put the screened thin board and the thin oval slotted board.
    I read your installation on pkg. bees and very much appreciate it.
    but this hive maker says the screen goes between the top med. super and the others below.
    your install says put the queen bee tied between a couple of frames.
    I hope someone can make things more clear for this rookie.

    • You can hang the queen between the two frames or use a rim board to install her. Either way is fine. You should only start the bees out in 1 deep and add the rest as they need it.