Passive Release or Shake ’em in?

With this being the time of year for many of us to get new packages of bees, essentially a box with a mated queen and her workers, I often wonder about the best way to install them in their hive.

I’ve prepared the boxes for them, with built-out comb and thyme-infused sugar syrup to ease their transition.RR_Bees_Hiving_0062

And once I place the queen cage in position in the center of frames 5 and 6, I always take an extra several minutes to decide my next move in the installation.

I think about whether to shake the box of bees into the hive or whether to more gently place the box, with its large opening out toward the queen cage, so that bees can simply find their way out with less agitation.

This year, I did a little of each, and no hive seems any better or worse for the wear.  Maybe it’s too early to tell?  I’ll keep you posted.

What do you do?