I just got my first package of bees and installed them in the hive but while opening the queen cage ( she had no atendents or candy) she flew out before I could get my thumb over the entrance . I hoped for the best and checked the hive three days later and could not find the queen . The bees where not bringing in pollen . So I ordered a new queen which should arrive any day. I was wondering if I should do anything with the hive before the queen arrives ? They have already finished almost a gallon of sugar water and have almost 2 frames filled with uncapped honey .
Just double check for eggs and brood. Usually the queen comes back because she has no where to go and they are giving off Nasonov pheromone. If there's no eggs and brood then just introduce the queen. If there's candy, just put a hole in the candy and put it so the bees can get to the wire to feed her and accept her. If there is not candy, put a miniature marshmallow in the hole.
If there IS signs of a queen (brood etc.) then they will kill the new queen, so you will have to decide if you want to split the hive and put the new queen in the queenless half or what you want to do with the new queen.
I too learnt that lesson the hard way. I was able to bat her out of the air, and spent a good 15 minuties looking for her. She was in the empty hive body beside the hive.
I too had this year for the first time a package without candy in it. I understand that this is the norm for California packages. Anyway, the gentlemen whom I bought the bees from suggested that you take the queen cages out of the packages and take them into a small bathroom with you. He said that if you do this and you accidently lose the queen she wil probably fly to the window where you can easily catch her and put her back in the cage with candy.
I actually wanted to try this, but I only got one new package this year and accidently dropped the queen cage into the package when I went to get her out! Oops.
What worked for me was to break off the outside part of the cork, (THAT part was by accident!), then, when she was facing AWAY from the opening, I pushed what was left of the cork inside the queen cage.
The queen had to 1. turn around and 2. get over the piece of cork, before she could get out. It gave me the time that I needed to get the hole covered and plugged.