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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Pepperell, MA, USA
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    Default a couple of "within 24 hours of installing a package" questions

    Ok, so thanks to anyone who is still reading my frantic posts. :-)

    My bees were installed yesterday around 6pm-ish. They were sprayed with sugar syrup to calm them before dumping them in. There were still quite a few bees in each upper corner of the little plywood box when I put it on the ground under the hive. The rest are in the center of the hive under about 8 top bars. I drilled a hole in one of the follower boards and added a foil pan of syrup so they could get to it. I put the queen's box in the bottom of the hive and closed it up.

    So today.....
    When I went to see what the hive looked like this morning, I found that there were tons of them outside flying around in, what *I*, in my limited knowledge, assumed to be confusion. Very few were using the entrance holes. The package under the hive still had the remaining bees in the corners clustered together. So, I decided to make a space between a couple of top bars, tip over the package and point the opening between the bars so they would see where they were supposed to go.

    I didn't check on the queen at that point.

    This afternoon I checked on them again. Food container was still full of syrup. Outside of the hive still had masses of confused bees. When I opened the bars to check on the queen, I found that she was still stuck inside. I opened the screen on her little box a bit and she flew out. I *think* I shooed her down towards the hive.

    Anyone have any insights? Suggestions? I really hope I didn't just free the queen. When would I check again and ascertain that information? Is it ok for there to be bunches of confused bees outside? Also, I have plywood on the top of the hive now, and I'm wondering if they are confused since I had the package there, which allowed some access through the bars. Should I remove the plywood for a bit and let them go through the bars to access the hive for now?
    Last edited by spiritfreedom; 05-11-2009 at 03:11 PM. Reason: added text

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
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    2,516

    Default

    One...in the future let the bees release the queen by eating the candy. Being that it was a package they should know the queens pheromones and you should be ok. Also next time either hand the queen cage so it hangs in the middle of the frame or wedge it between two drawn combs if you have drawn comb. The bees are going to have to get used to the hive, especially if you have no drawn comb. I would spray some lemongrass EO into the hive in a sugar water mist. This should attract them into the hive. In the evening they should all move into the hive to stay warm. Hopefully this is happening. Not to get you worried or anything, but since you freed the queen and if they don't like your hive they could fly off to find a better home, so keep an eye on them for a few days. Lastly put something in the pan of sugar water so they don't all drawn. A piece of wood or something that floats would be good.

    Hope it works out for you.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Pepperell, MA, USA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by alpha6 View Post
    One...in the future let the bees release the queen by eating the candy. Being that it was a package they should know the queens pheromones and you should be ok.
    I had hoped they would have made *some* progress. They hadn't. There were pieces of cork that were blocking the way to the candy and they weren't coming loose. I'm a worried new mom. ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by alpha6 View Post
    Not to get you worried or anything, but since you freed the queen and if they don't like your hive they could fly off to find a better home, so keep an eye on them for a few days.
    That is *not* good news at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by alpha6 View Post
    Lastly put something in the pan of sugar water so they don't all drawn. A piece of wood or something that floats would be good.
    Absolutely. There are tons of little sticks in there.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    You are supposed to remove the cork from the end of the queen cage that contains the candy - bees eat candy they don't eat cork.

    Placing the queen cage on the bottom of the hive - not good, you want the queen up, just below the top bars, where you want the bees to be, so they will start building comb.

    It's best not to disturb them for at least five to seven days. During that time the bees will adjust to their new home and should begin building comb as well as eat the candy out of the queen cage and release her.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Pepperell, MA, USA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Clemens View Post
    You are supposed to remove the cork from the end of the queen cage that contains the candy - bees eat candy they don't eat cork.
    I know they don't eat the cork. There was a tiny piece of the cork that was too hard to remove. It seemed like they hadn't done anything since there was about 1/16th of cork still showing.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    Not that it matters, now that you have released the queen (I hope she sticks around), but when you remove the cork from the candy end, you can also carefully poke a hole completely through the candy (supposedly this can help expedite the release).

    I've been keeping bees for awhile now, I know that most, if not all, of we who've been keepers for more than a few years, often advise against disturbing the bees more than necessary. But, I, for one, only really keep them so I can open them up and look at them whenever the mood strikes me. It may be detrimental to the bees, but it doesn't bother me, as long as the bees stay and keep doing what they do - so I can keep watching them.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
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    2,674

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Clemens View Post
    Not that it matters, now that you have released the queen (I hope she sticks around), but when you remove the cork from the candy end, you can also carefully poke a hole completely through the candy (supposedly this can help expedite the release).

    I've been keeping bees for awhile now, I know that most, if not all, of we who've been keepers for more than a few years, often advise against disturbing the bees more than necessary. But, I, for one, only really keep them so I can open them up and look at them whenever the mood strikes me. It may be detrimental to the bees, but it doesn't bother me, as long as the bees stay and keep doing what they do - so I can keep watching them.
    I open mine new hives a lot also... even with over 100 hives I just like to look,,, BUT I don't use smoke thats sets them back..... and if its cold i don't peek, let them keep the heat in....

    Othere than that, it will take them a week or two to get good and started and eat that much syrup.... in 2 weeks they should have at least 1 frame of comb drawn and the queen should be laying.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Sebastopol, Ca.
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    307

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    SF, you are going through the toughest part: learning patience. Please remember that these are WILD creatures and have no memory or insight of what or how you do your thing. No biggie.
    The bees flying outside are "orienting" themselves to their new location. They will do that for hours as the sun moves across the sky. As a matter of fact, in about three weeks you will see your newest brood doing that occasionally as that is what new comers do when they first leave the hive. You have them all now new to the 'hood, so the foragers are out there doing their thing. No biggie. If you are patient and stay out of their way you will see that they fly in a figure eight pattern, for the most part, and at different levels and distances from the hive.
    I didn't understand your last sentence, but in case I did, leave them alone, leave your hive alone, leave your roof line alone. The tough part, wait 10 days, or 7 if the weather is nice. But if you want to tough it out, try the day after tomorrow, but just to move the back bar and peak, if you don't have a window. Let us know what you see. Your bees will be alright, as they've been practicing for about 65 million years. You, on the other hand, have been at it for but a minute. So wait another minute or two.
    Breath, slow and deeply in your case.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
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    635

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    I installed 20 packages (11 warre hives, 9 top bar hives) this year and placed the cage in the bottom of each hive for the bees to release her. Out of 20 installs I only had 1 abscond and all are drawing out comb beautifully now. I don't know what the normal success rate is of package installs, but at 95% I'd say the queen-on-the-bottom method works okay.

    Matt

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