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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Altamont, NY
    Posts
    146

    Default Hiving Bee Package Options

    Hi Everyone...

    I am looking for opinions on the different methods of installing packages. So far I have heard/seen two different ways that beeks install their bees.

    One, and the most widely used method, involves removing the queen cage, placing it in the hive, then banging the package, flipping it over, and dumping (while shaking) the bees out into the hive.

    The other method involves removing the queen cage, placing it in the hive, then setting the package on top of the frames to allow the bees to crawl/fly out of the box. I'm assuming that this method would require an empty super and then placing the outer cover on top.

    My hunch is that beeks who prefer the second method say they use it because it is less stressful on the bees. Either that or they don't want to upset them.

    So, what is your preferred method of installing packages? As this is my first year at beekeeping - and I will be picking up my packages in a few weeks, I thought I'd see if there are any other methods that people use.
    Thanks!
    Keith

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Crystal Falls, Mi.
    Posts
    181

    Default

    Not sure if it was right or wrong but I saw a video of a guy removing the queen then taking the screen off the side and dumping the bees in, Looked like it worked well but I dont know enough yet to say......
    Good luck with yours and keep us posted.
    T.G.
    When I grow up, I want to be like John K.......

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,340

    Default

    If the weather is nice and you get the package out and remove the top box soon, they both work pretty well. If the nights are cold, sometimes the cluster doesn't find the queen and she dies with the cluster still in the package. But usually the outcome is similar. I prefer to shake them in, direct release the queen and be done with it. I avoid the issue of cold nights, I avoid the issue of them deciding to cluster in the top box and start building comb on the lid instead of the bottom box and building comb in the frames.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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

    Default

    Shaking the bees out may seem to be violent, but the bees really
    won't mind at all, and the practice eliminates multiple risks that
    might crop up after you walk away.

    If it makes you feel any better, you certainly do not need to shake
    every last bee out of the package. You can shake out "most", and
    then set the package near the entrance. The remaining bees will
    figure out quickly that the queen is in the hive, not in the package,
    and they will join the rest of the bees in the hive.

    And of course you can pop staples off one half of one of the
    screens on the side of a package, and pour the bees out with much
    less shaking.

  5. #5

    Default

    I picked up two packages today, no liquid in the feed can, just some kind of candy that the bees were tunneling in. I and my friend Frank removed the Queen first and then shook the bees in. Then we put the Queen in between the frames(still in queen cage) and put the last frames back in. Not the first mad bee and bare handed and no veil after first box. Did the second one the same way no problems.They were happy to see there new home and the sugar water feeder. My Friend annd I had no problems with them at all, they moved right in and started playing house. Did the quart zip lock baggie feeders on top of frames and a pollen pattie. Was windy and about 55 degrees on the shore of Lake Michigan. There about 1400 feet from that cold old lake and loving there new location. We will check on them Thursday evening on our way home from work.

    Charlie

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    LA Co, Calif, USA
    Posts
    86

    Default

    Just helped install over 200 packages. Method used was to put queen (in cage) between frames in bottom deep; empty shallow on top. Placed package (with bees still in it), on it's side on top of frames, then put cover on top of shallow. Had syrup in feeder. Checked a few days later and bees are out of package, on the frames.

    Curious about the direct release of queen. How do you do this? Success rate?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
    Posts
    575

    Smile Shake, shake, shake!

    I have always used the method of shaking the bees out over the frames where the queen cage has been positioned inside the hive body. I spray the bees in the package with some light sugar syurp before dumping them into the hive. This keeps the flying down to a minimum when I shake the bees out. I remove a few frames from the side to allow space to safely and quickly dump the remaining bees that are not shaken right over the queen. Then I carefully replace those frames and put the hive cover back on. I leave the package that the bees came in on the ground outside the hive entrance for those last few bees that seem to cling to the inside of the package cage. I generally install just before dark. When I come back the next day, the few remaining bees inside the package have found their way into the hive. This is what works for me. Of course, you must have feed for that new package so they can draw foundation. I come back in a few days to see if the queen has been released from her cage. If so, I remove the queen cage and make sure the frames are pushed together so the combs are built nicely. I resist the temptation to go into the hive for at least a week. By then I can tell if all is going well. Sometimes, I think it helps to keep your fingers crossed and utter a little prayer. Good luck to you!
    "My child, eat honey, for it is good." (Proverbs 24:13)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Owen, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,552

    Default

    The temperature of the package is important, especially if you are installing in the cold or even snow like some of you up in the northwest. It is important to make sure the bees are warm enough, no matter what method you use. If you dump bees that are too cold into a box they could lay on the bottom and die. Make sure they are climbing up the frames. Ditto if you put the queen between the frames and leave the bees in the package above her; they must be warm enough to move out of the package cage to join her or she will die.
    Prior to installation you can keep them warm in your vehicle or if you have multiples to install, group them together with a tarp over the top, being careful not to OVER heat as well. Too hot, and if they fly they die in the snow/cold.
    <edit>With practice you can judge the right temp by the bees behaviour. They should be quiet in the package, not runny but if you tap the cluster loose they should run back to reform it. If they are slow to recluster they are too cold.
    Sheri

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    GASTON SOUTH CAROLINA USA
    Posts
    8

    Smile

    I like to use the shim method this way all frames(10) are set to disourage burr comb. the shim is about 2inch set onto the deep super. Do the same procedure for instalation except for the following. I use HBH(sugar mix) to spray the bees. Place the queen cage on top of the frames with the screen side up in relationship to the sun. If on none drawn comb leave the cork in for three days this will give the workers a chance to have drawn comb for the queen to lay in and reduce the chance that she may abscond. after the three days remove the cork and make a small hole in the candy be carefull to not hurt the queen!!!!. Then after three days remove the queen cage and the shim. then after about 30 days remove one of the 10 frames that has not been drawn or drawn if all are drawn and set proper bee space(9) frames. I like to install either in the late afternoon or early morning depending on weather conditions. You can place a shallow super on at the 30 day mark if they have the 10 frames drawn out if not wait then place it on.This super is for the bees only if they fill it then i will put another on for them! leave the first super on and it will help them in the winter.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,340

    Default

    >Curious about the direct release of queen. How do you do this? Success rate?

    I've done a lot of both direct and candy release. In my experience about the same as candy release. Either way an occasional package will drift next door and abandon the queen. I suspect the queens they abandon don't have enough QMP. Perhaps virgins?
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Kanosh,Utah
    Posts
    166

    Default

    I usually use the thump and dump method with out any noticable ill effects to the bees, but this past weekend I had 20 packages to hive and had constant 40mph winds. After I put the queen cage between frames I put on an empty deep then placed the package upside down on the frames right above the queen. Went in the next day (still windy) removed the empty boxes and deep then replaced the cover. I will check in the next couple days to assure the queen has been released.

    Blessed Bee
    Doug
    May the Great Spirit watch over you as long as the grass grows and the water flows.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Seattle, Washington State
    Posts
    4,398

    Default

    Two years ago, I hived a lot of packages and we did it later in the evening. We took the queen out, and placed the cage between some frame. Took a pail of warm water and QUICKLY dumped each package into the water and out and shook them into the hive. This worked great with no real flying at all.
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Altamont, NY
    Posts
    146

    Default Thanks!

    Thanks for the input! I'm not sure what method we will go with but will be sure to post. My guess is we may try two different methods since we have two hives. I don't mind experimenting. Guess that's how you make it interesting.

    Keith

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    LA Co, Calif, USA
    Posts
    86

    Default

    I would like to hear exactly (details, please) what you do to direct release your package queen. (This was my 2nd year helping install packages and I mentioned to the beekeeper that others (from this forum) direct release the queen. He asked what the proces was I didn't know.)

    Would the number of packages in a yard have any effect on whether you direct released or used candy? We put 100+ in one yard.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    North Hills, CA USA
    Posts
    453

    Default

    Mbholl, we hived 40 four # packages 4/12/08 in the Sunland, CA. area, direct release of queen.
    That was the Saterday that temps were in the 90's.
    We started at dusk, 40 hives were ready to receive packages. Deep with seven drawn comb and one comb of food. Extra deep hive shell and top.
    Two frames removed in center of box.
    Transport feed can removed, caged queen cage removed , cork removed, cage with screen upward placed on topbar, feeder can placed with hole end down at end of top bar, some bees shaken over queen cage and down in to missing frame area. Package cage set on one end on top bars other end on feed can, hole downward above queen cage. Empty shell went on with cover.
    Two days later package, queen cage and feeder can removed, missing frames replaced.
    One out of 40 absconded. One hive had about 8# of bees close by. Hives are on pallets and flow is on.
    Walt

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,340

    Default

    >I would like to hear exactly (details, please) what you do to direct release your package queen.

    I remove the syrup can. Remove the queen cage, dump in the bees, put the queen in a queen muff and let her out of the cage, put her in a marking tube and mark her. Take the marking tube and keeping it pointed down, head her into the hive. If I wasn't marking her, I'd pull the cork and keeping it pointed down, let her run into the hive. The only risk is her flying and the best way to avoid that is keep it pointed down between two frames. Keep the other hand ready to block her if she tries to fly. Usually your hand hovering over her tends to discourage her thinking of flying.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Owen, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,552

    Default

    Three frames are removed from the single deep box. We set the syrup can aside, remove the cork from the queen cage, place the queen still in her cage on the bottom board, then shake the bees out of the package cage on top of the opened queen cage. We then replace the frames, close the hive up, and when you come back in a week or so, presto chango ya got a colony.
    You can let the queen walk out onto the comb but we found doing that increased your chances of having her fly and slowed us down a lot, while not impacting our success to any measurable degree.
    Doing 100s this way each year we had less than 1% failure. Some of the package yards had 100 or more colonies , some were regular bee yards of only 32-36 or so, it didn't make any difference.
    If it was particularly hot we would spray them with a light syrup water just prior to installing, to keep the flight down.
    Sheri

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    LA Co, Calif, USA
    Posts
    86

    Great info - thanks

    Thanks for all of the install instructions/ideas. I printed them out and can hardly wait until next years packages. I hope I get to be a 'helper', again! I really enjoy it.

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