Worcester Honey Farms Banner



Packages, Queens, and Nucs: By now, your packages should all have brood in all stages with capped brood hatching or ready to hatch. If your hive does not show any signs of brood, move a frame of eggs/larva over to your hive immediately. Do not let your hive turn into laying workers. (See Below)

Queens: Members of the Montgomery County Beekeepers, Chester County Beekeepers, and the Philadelphia Bee Guild are all raising queen cells now. We encourage you to check out their offerings should you need a replacement queen or wish to split your hive.

Where to meet for the next hands-on class (Sunday, July 16).
Image of Beekeeper

Spring Packages

2018 Southeast Pennsylvania Spring Bee Packages

The spring packages are sold out for 2017. The next package pickup is scheduled for two Saturdays, March 31 and April 28, 2018. See you then.

Click here for 2018 Package Order Form.

Please read the recommendations and warranty for Starting Packages or Queens.

Hands-on Class


We will start taking orders for 2018 Nucs in November.

Nucs include a freshly mated queen, 5 deep frames consisting of 2 brood, 2 honey, and 1 frame which can vary between brood, honey, or foundation for expansion. Once the nucs are ready, we will work with you to find a time for pickup.

Click here for Nuc Order Form.

Please read the recommendations and warranty for Nucs.

Hands-on Class

Hands-on Beekeeping Class

This course is scheduled for five Sunday sessions from January thru July at Pennypacker Mill, Morris Arboretum, and Worcester Honey Farm. Only 25 people for each group of classes will be accepted. You can start mid-course and finish up the course next year.

The instructor is committed to present a knowledgeable and enjoyable, interactive, and intensively hands-on workshop. We are friendly and encourage you to contact us throughout the course for advice, help, or a sympathetic ear.

Become comfortable opening and working your hives, touch bee’s shoulders to get them to move over, hive a swarm from a crabapple tree, bring your honey to extract on the last class, and inspect hives―there will be hives set up with typical beekeeping problems such as laying workers―and resolve any problems found. All this plus beekeeper camaraderie and tasty appetizers.

Click here for more Hands-On Beekeeping information and registration form.

There are two class time options: 9-12:30 or 1:30-5. Enrollment status: Space still available.

Next Class on Sunday, July 16, 2017, will be at Worcester Honey Farms.

Please bring folding chair, veil, smoker, and hive tool, if you have them. Bring your questions. There will also be a pot-luck, so please bring a dish to share. (Dishes with honey get a gold star. Deviled eggs and oatmeal cookies are always welcome.)

We will be extracting honey, so bring your supers if you have any honey that you want to extract. We will have jars for sale, if you want to bottle the honey, or bring a container if you want to take it home in bulk.

Please visit the Honey Bee Health Coalition varroa control web page for information about treatments for Varroa mites.

Worcester Honey Farms, Inc.
2011 Shearer Road, Lansdale, PA 19446

Email: WorcesterHoneyFarms@pabeekeeper.com

Web Site: www.pabeekeeper.com

Recommendations and Warranty Information

Number of Hives:

We cannot express how important it is to have at least two hives or a bee-buddy with a hive with the same size frames. If you are unsure if your hive has a queen, the easiest way to diagnose the hive is to insert a frame of eggs. Without access to a second hive, you may not be able to raise a new queen or recover from a drone-laying worker hive. See Laying Workers below. If you do not heed this warning, you may not be able to recover or restart your hive, should there be a problem.


Please inspect your package carefully before you accept it. If you are unhappy with the package for any reason, do not take it. Once you receive the package, it is your responsibility to keep it alive.

Do not place the package in heat nor in the light--that will kill the bees. Keep them in the dark around 50-60 degrees until you install them in the hive.

The holes in the feeder cans in the packages are not scientific, do not rely on them to keep your package alive. Please spray packages down with sugar water periodically until they are installed.

When you install the package, if the queen is dead, call and we will find a replacement. Before installing the queen, make sure that she is alive in the cage. Inspect the corks to be sure that no cork is missing. When installing the queen cage, be sure that the screen is open to the bees--do not place the queen cage screen against the frame bar. Install the queen where the cluster will form--do not put the queen on the bottom board, as it is the coldest part of the hive. We will have a limited number of extra queens available through April. If there is queen failure during April and we have queens available, we will offer a queen to you at our cost.

We recommend that you keep the sugar water entrance near the queen cage--the best way to feed is through a jar with holes over the inner cover. If the weather is colder than 50 degrees at night, the bees may starve if the cluster is not touching both the sugar water and the queen cage. We do not recommend boardman feeders, top feeders, or frame feeders if the temperature at night is colder than 50 degrees, especially if you are installing a package in a new hive with no drawn comb.

We do not recommend the "No Shake" method of package installation. If you do not shake bees onto the queen cage and have them cluster there, you have a high likelihood that the queen will die--especially if the first night or two are cool. We will not provide a replacement queen for you should you decide to use the "No Shake" method and your queen dies or fails. We may have some replacement queens available at full retail price should you decide to take a gamble and lose. Even if the queen survives, chilled queens are one of the causes of early queen failure.

For feeding packages, we recommend light sugar water the consistency of nectar (1:1 sugar to water). One recipe is 5 lbs sugar to 3/4 gallon hot water from the tap. Use only white granulated sugar. Do not use honey that is not your own, brown sugar, organic sugar, nor molasses. Some of these may kill your bees or spread American Foul Brood (AFB), an extremely contagious bee disease.

If the bees from your package become lethargic or start to pile up on the bottom board or bottom of the hive, they are most likely starving. There is something wrong with the sugar feeding system, the feeder is not next to the cluster, the sugar water has spoiled, the holes to the feeder are clogged, etc. This problem is not a virus or genetic defect. Each year this happens to a couple packages out of a thousand--and most often with top bar hives. If the hive has not gone too long, you can spray the bees with light sugar water and allow the sun to warm the bees. This may revive them. Please do not starve your bees!

It is very important to leave the queen caged until the workers have settled down and accepted the hive body--possibly 4-5 days, especially if the box is freshly painted or has never had bees before. The packages are fresh and often the queen has been with the workers for not even 24 hours--not enough time for the workers to have accepted the new queen.

If you install more than one hive in the same location, the package bees may drift and one hive may become stronger or weaker than the others. You can minimize this issue by using entrance reducers, placing grass in the entrance, or installing the packages later in the afternoon.

If the queen dies or is not accepted, place a frame containing some brood in the hive. This will keep the bees from leaving and also prevent laying workers. (See below.)

We recommend that you do not order packages for top bar hives if the weather is expected to be cold (below 50 degrees at night), unless you have a way to feed the hive with sugar syrup directly near the queen cage. We have had success applying Fondant on the side of the divider board and suspending the queen cage next to the Fondant. We recommend that you purchase a marked and clipped queen if you are installing into a new top bar hive, as the bees may abscond if there is no smell of wax or propolis and all of the smells are foreign.

Should you have any problems with queen acceptance, we plan to have some spare queens, which you may purchase at our cost. Please do not let the hive go for long without a queen or brood, as workers will start laying drones. (See below.)

Single Queen Purchases or Replacement Queens (Not Queens in Packages):

Please inspect your queen before you take her. Be sure she is alive and kicking. Check that corks are in both sides of the cage. Once you receive the queen, it is your responsibility to keep her alive.

Do not put place her in the light--that will kill her. Keep her in the dark at room temperature until you install her in the hive.

You must remove any existing queens before you install the queen. It is an extremely good idea to move a frame of eggs over to the hive first, and then check in 2-3 days to see if they form a queen cell. If they do not form a queen cell(s), your queen will probably not be accepted. If you see multiple eggs or many drone cells, See Laying Workers below.

If you do have a problem with queen acceptance, please let me know and you may purchase a queen at my cost subject to availability.


When you arrive for pickup, please be prepared to go through the nuc and check for eggs and/or a queen. If you are not happy with the nuc for any reason, please let us know before you take the nuc home and we will offer you another nuc. This means you should wear a veil and bring a smoker, smoker fuel, and a hive tool.

Process for pickup. When you arrive, you will be given a nuc to go through. If you are happy with the nuc, we will write your name on the nuc. If you are unhappy with the nuc, please see either Jim or Bill. Sometimes the queens are dark and difficult to spot--we will help you find the queen.

Once you leave with the nuc, it is your responsibility to keep it alive.

Laying Workers:

The workers are females and therefore have ovaries. The queen pheromone and the brood pheromone keep the workers from laying eggs. If your hive goes queenless or you think the hive has no queen, we recommend that you place a frame of eggs in that hive. The presence of brood will keep the workers from laying eggs.

If your hive is queenless and all of the brood hatches, the workers will then start to lay eggs (unfertilized drone eggs) and you will see many eggs in a cell and bumpy drone brood all over. At that point it is nearly impossible to recover the hive. (When this happens in nature, the hive will die.) Most beekeepers take the loss, dump the bees out, and start anew.

Do not let it get to that point; place eggs or brood in a hive whenever you think it may be queenless. We highly recommend that you have at least two hives or a nearby friend or neighbor with compatible-framed hives who can provide you a source of at least a frame with a few eggs.