125 East Main Street
Whitesboro, TX 76273
How to Take Care of Your Bees
You have purchased a top bar hive with bees from Butterfield Bees. We guarantee a laying queen
and a healthy hive when you pick up your hive. We are not responsible for the hive or bees once
they leave the apiary.
This is a low maintenance, very healthy environment for your bees. This top bar hive may have
different types of bars in the hive, as some bars were taken from existing hives to start your hive.
This is normal. Continue to use the bars you have in the hive.
Place your hives in a place free from livestock, pets, and people. Face east. Afternoon shade is
preferable. A south and north windbreak is also helpful. Hives should be level.
Secure the roof with a strap or bungee cord.
Hive Body Care
Occasionally check for cracks, peeled paint, and loose parts. No other care is needed.
Feeding Your Bees
After receiving your bees, you need to feed them for about 4-6 weeks, twice a week. Use a 1:1
sugar water solution (1 ¾ cups of sugar, add water to make 4 cups). Make sure sugar is completely
dissolved. Feed bees with a Boardman Feeder.
Checking Your Bees
Check your bees every two weeks at a minimum, no more than once a week. Inspect for the
presence of a queen or eggs, brood, drones, pests, disease, honey, and pollen. Check the brood
pattern. Check how full the hive is. Make sure there is enough room for the bees to expand with
brood and honey.
Use a smoker, and smoke the hive at the entrance once and then top opening of the hive once you
remove the divider board. Use smoke sparingly.
Use a hive tool to pry apart the bars. Place bars back in the order you remove them.
About November 1 to April 1, place a Boardman Feeder in the hive entrance, and block the
entrance with blocks of wood so that there is an opening just wide enough for a bee or two to fit on
both sides of the feeder.
Be sure the top is snug and secure. Check the hive only when the temperature exceeds 50 degrees
(60 degrees being preferable). Check for the queen and the presence of honey. If there is no
honey, feed the bees sugar water until the nectar starts flowing in the Spring (about April 1).
As a rule of thumb, there should be one full bar of honey stored per two full bars of bees or brood
for the winter.
Once the nectar flow begins, remove the feeder and entrance reducers. Allow the bees to gather
honey and pollen. Check the hive in August/September when the nectar flow is low, and make
sure there is enough stored honey. If not, feed the bees.
In Texas, honey extractions should take place about mid July. Remove excess bars of honey until
there is about 2 bars left.
Brush the bees off the bars. Slice the wax right where the wood portion of the bar ends. Place in a
large bowl. Mash with a potato masher.
Drain through a fine sieve (paint sieve is good) for a few hours, then store the honey in a lid tight
The bars can be placed in the bee yard for the bees to clean up, then place back in the hive.
Look for your queen or eggs each time you open the hive. If you see a queen cell in the middle of
a bar of wax comb, that is a supercedure cell the bees are building because they want to replace
their queen, or the queen had died. Allow them to continue. If you see a queen cell or cells along
the edges of the wax comb, those are swarm cells. This means there are too many bees in the hive
or there is not enough space left for storing honey or brood. You have two options. Allow the
bees to swarm and continue with what is left. If there is more than one swarm cell, remove all but
one. Let the bees swarm and then just continue. Another option is to split the hive. Place have
the bees and honey in another hive with the swarm queen cells (remove all but one). Allow the
queen to hatch and continue with the hive care.
Call James at Butterfield Bees with questions or email. Consider joining a local honeybee
association like Collin County Hobby Beekeepers Association.