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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Salem, Oregon
    Posts
    457

    Question

    Hi all,

    I hived my packages on Thursday evening. One problem I had was the strap broke in half on one of the queen cages so when I pushed the frames together the top of the queencage stopped the frames from going together.

    I want to go into the hive today and release the queen, if she is not out, and remove the cage. It looks like it might rain on and off all day today. So, what is the best way to proceed? And how do I get the queen out of the cage? Remove the cork from the other end? Rip the screen off? There are no attendents in the cage.

    The package was made up on Thursday, so the queen has been with them only since Thursday.

    Friday was a beautiful day so the bees were flying that day. Saturday, well, it started raining around 9:30 am and didn't stop till dusk. So the girls may not be too happy right now.

    Well, I'd better run my morning errands then play with the smoker. I just can't get it to work right. I think I'm making it more difficult than it is.

    Thanks for any help folks!

    Pugs

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Post

    I'm not sure I follow what your rush is. Why not wait until Monday or Tuesday or so and then let her out? I just pull back the screen, but sometimes they are quick and they fly. This last set of packages I got the first one did, so I took the rest in the bathroom and clipped and marked them and put them in a queen catcher and took them back and put them on the top bars. They didn't fly then. [img]smile.gif[/img] I also found the first one on the side of the hive with some attendants and clipped and marked her too.

    These were all Italians and I'm going to replace them as soon as I have some of my own queens.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Salem, Oregon
    Posts
    457

    Post

    Michael,

    I'm in a rush as I don't want them drawing comb with that gap there. I figure they'll start drawing it wrong. Yes, I'm a newbie and worrying too much.

    I'll wait till Monday and see what the weather is like then.

    Pugs

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    3,401

    Post

    This can happen, but it really is no big deal.

    The usual model is that the bees draw some
    comb attached to the queen cage itself, so
    you don't really have that much of a mess.
    You can pull out the queen cage with comb
    attached, shake off any bees on the comb,
    and melt the comb down, or give it to a
    local child for "show and tell" at school.
    (Kids love brand-new comb, and it is pretty
    amazing stuff.)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Post

    Yes they probably will draw some comb on the queen cage. But I'd be more concerned that they accept her since the package was just made up. A little comb isn't that big of a deal.

    As Jim says, it's pretty cool stuff to look at for kids or adults.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Salem, Oregon
    Posts
    457

    Post

    Thanks guys! I'll calm down. I just want everything to be perfect and of course, I'm not perfect, and know it, so I end up not doing alot of things.

    The bees are flying this afternoon. The clouds broke up and it is warm out. I'll check the feeders later today and put in the reducers.

    Pugs

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Salem, Oregon
    Posts
    457

    Post

    Added more syrup and put in entrance reducers. The openings are now about 4 inches, I guess. I lot fewer bees flying about. Some are climbing the hive before taking off. I'm guessing these are robbers? There doesn't seem to be any fighting going on. Very few dead bees in front of the hive. I had expected more from what I've read here. They are pretty calm. Kinda a happy buzz coming from the hives.

    Pollen is coming in. Bright yellow stuff. I can hardly stand waiting to get in and see if the queens are loose. Tomorrow I do that.

    Pugs

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Warren County, Kentucky
    Posts
    113

    Post

    Pugs, I had to leave my queen cages in there extra long as well. They built these little oval sections of comb that were attached to the sides of the top bars and hung down on both sides of each queen cage. They looked like little flattened out honeycomb footballs. But it wasn't attached to the foundation at all, so I could just scrape it right off with the hive tool and slide the frames together. I heard somebody else say this free-hanging oval comb is often what they build with extra space. It wasn't any trouble to remove, since I wanted to get the frame out anyway to look for eggs. I was surprised at how fast they built it, but I guess they hadn't had time to make much of a mess. I bet yours won't either.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Nebraska
    Posts
    74

    Post

    Don't worry too much Pugs. My bees are still living in spite of my "help", but I know how you feel. You can read as many books as you want but nothing replaces the real thing.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Kirkland, WA, USA
    Posts
    1,020

    Post

    > can read as many books as you want but nothing replaces the real thing.

    I second this heartily. I read and studied and talked to other beekeepers, but until I actually did it myself, I didn't really know what I was in for. I'm in the same position with the queen cage, introduced on Saturday. I was told to let her out after two days if she wasn't released yet, but I'm thinking it won't hurt to wait until tomorrow to go in and check.

    Should I smoke the hive when I open it to remove the cage? They seem to be much more active than when I put it in, I doubt they will simply cling to the bars without putting up a fight at all, now that they have a queen.
    http://www.voiceofthehive.com - Tales of Beekeeping and Honeybees

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Salem, Oregon
    Posts
    457

    Post

    I just took at the queen cages. The queens had been released. I didn't look much more than that. I did see new comb. A large bit on one from will obviously have to be culled, but since I'm planning on that I wasn't worried. It wasn't raining, hasn't rained all day. Cloudy though.

    Oh, yes I did get the smoker going this time. Worked like a charm, with Michael Bush's soup can insert. I use paper from between sheets of foundation with a sprinkling of olive oil to get it started, then covered with dried apple twigs. Made a nice smoke and plenty of it.

    Yes I smoked them. They weren't sure if they wanted me around right now. Not bad, but not the same as when I hived them.

    I think my dog must have got stung twice. Once when she caught a bee to eat and later in the paw. She was sitting and really worry one paw. Of course, it's what she gets for sticking her head in front of the entrance.

    I didn't get stung.

    Ants in one hive big time. Cinnamon to the rescue.

    Pugs

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Central Wisconsin
    Posts
    342

    Post

    My queen cages were left in a week and all had that cool football shaped comb when I slid them out. My first thrill in beekeeping was looking at those pristine white combs. After showing them to everyone till they were all sick of telling me that "yeah, those are really cool" I put them in my wax melting pot for later melt down. I'm finding that all of my not quite perfect technique creates great learning experiences. And of course the folks in this group do very nicely at setting me straight!
    Buy locally, buy only humanely raised animals, eat in season, keep bees!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Salem, Oregon
    Posts
    457

    Post

    Mabe,

    Not a spot of comb on either cage. I hived them Thursday between 7 and 8 in the evening.

    Pugs

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
    Posts
    3,361

    Post

    An easy way to determine if the queen has been accepted and can be released is to observe the workers on the outside of the cage. If they are biting at the screen then you need to wait. If the workers are trying to feed(sticking out those long probiscis) through the screen she is accepted and it safe to release her. Be careful to make sure you release her below the top of the frames as they like to fly of into the light. it's a special feeling to watch an accepted, $12.00 queen go flying off into the wild blue knowing she's never coming back!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    307

    Post

    >> Should I smoke the hive when I open it to remove the cage?

    I fire up the smoker any time except when hiving a package. If you don't need it, no big deal. If you need it and it's cold, you're looking pretty foolish.

    By the way, I bought a bail of cedar chips, intended to be hamster bedding I think, and it makes great smoker fuel. I think I paid $4. (They had a smaller container that wasn't on sale that cost more.)

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