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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Concho, AZ
    Posts
    23

    Default Newbie needs help - packages arrived 6 days late

    Hi all, I'm new here and need advice!

    Two packages of bees from Spell Bee in GA. shipped by UPS Monday June 1, arrived damaged, bees loose in cardboard box, shipped back to Spell Bee.

    They re-sent the next Monday the 8th, the packages got to Louisville, Ky same day, stayed there until Friday, arrived today, 8 days later.

    ON Thursday while the bees were "stuck" in Louisville for "who knows what reason", Spell Bee said they would send AGAIN today, 3rd time!

    So now I still have two packages to arrive this Wednesday, and I picked up the poor bees that were sent 8 days ago. Maybe 1/2 to 2/3 still alive. Have sprayed them with 1/1 sugar water.

    So, I do not want to install these bees into my two freshly build top bar hives, would prefer to put the next packages in (assuming they get here ON TIME AND UNDAMAGED)

    So, what can I do for these two packages right now?

    How can I combine them into one "good hive" right now? It would have to be a cardboard box, I could wire some bars into the top, so that any comb they build could be installed into another top bar hive when I get it built...should I put them into a box with a sheet of newspaper in between so they can get acquainted slowly? Should I put both queens in and let them "fight it out"?

    Please let me know what I can do with these two packages...

    I don't want to just let them all die!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    637

    Default Re: Newbie needs help - packages arrived 6 days late

    I'd certainly try a cardboard box or even a miniature top bar hive with the same bar length just to get the bees out and foraging.

    Cheers,
    Matt

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Concho, AZ
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Newbie needs help - packages arrived 6 days late

    What happens to the queens? Won't the two packages fight if combined?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Bay City, MI, USA
    Posts
    87

    Default Re: Newbie needs help - packages arrived 6 days late

    Pick one queen, put it's cage in with the bees from both boxes, and install them the same way you normally would.... by the time she is released, they should all have accepted her as their queen.... my $.02

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Red Hook Ny
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: Newbie needs help - packages arrived 6 days late

    I would combine the live bees from both packages, but only put in one queen. With two small populations, the newspaper combine Is probably unnecessary.

    Spray both packages well with sugar water, dump in the first, smoke the bejeesus out of them and then immediately dump in the second. Place the queen cage on the floor of the hive, remove it in three days.

    If you are feeling lucky, you could try a direct release of the queen. If they kill her, then put the second one in via the candy/cage release. My guess is that amid all the confusion with the dumping, the sugar syrup and the smoke, the queen will slip past scrutiny from the bees from the other package.

    These bees have had a hard enough time, they need to be hived now, not a week from now. Use one of your existing hives now, start building a third tomorrow. Or, make a dividing board to go in the middle of other hive and dump one of the new packages in either side. This would buy you enough time to build the third hive.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    637

    Default Re: Newbie needs help - packages arrived 6 days late

    Bakerboy had good suggestions. Go that route.

    Cheers,
    Matt

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Concho, AZ
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Newbie needs help - packages arrived 6 days late

    Thanks to you both for your help!

    Sooo, you don't think they can go a week or so in a cardboard box for a temporary hive, (with openings of course)?

    We have company coming, won't have the time to make another hive.

    If I put them into 1/2 of a hive, with a new package in the other half, how hard is it going to be to move one side to a new hive in a week or so? Harder than moving them from a cardboard box? I do have extra top boards I can put in a cardboard box...

    oh, and I don't have a smoker...guess I need to order one?

    The bees around here are SOOO gentle that I just move slowly around them without a problem (sometimes I leave the top off a 55 gallon drum of ground feed - corn, soy, vits and minerals, and the bees are in there by the hundreds (they LOVE the stuff), and I just go ahead and scoop out what I need without any trouble!)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Polk Co, NC, USA
    Posts
    201

    Default Re: Newbie needs help - packages arrived 6 days late

    I saw a temporary hive made of a plastic square planter with a hole drilled in the side.... the top bars lay right across and then were bungied down. I thought that was pretty quick and easy. AND easy to transfer to a tbh.

    Also, can you put them to the outside of one of your follower boards and drill a hole toward the bottom to make a separate hive entrance?

    Too new to be of help, but good luck!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Dalkeith, Ont, Canada
    Posts
    206

    Default Re: Newbie needs help - packages arrived 6 days late

    I would go the rout of the divider board in one hive to make two smaller ones until you get a third hive, fairly easy to move the bees to a new hive just move the bars, then tack some leaves covering (not blocking) the new hive entrance, this should get them to reorient and not go back to the "old" hive.
    My blog @ Bee Crazy

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Bucksport, Maine
    Posts
    177

    Default Re: Newbie needs help - packages arrived 6 days late

    Lauren,
    Good for you….never too new! That is a great idea. Two flower pot hives. You save both colonies with their queens and they can be stationed where their future hive will be. Stronger than a cardboard box and the only thing to build is top bars. There are a lot of good suggestions here but I have to say Lauren’s is quick and easy.
    Dave - PM me if you are interested in natural beekeeping in Hancock County Maine.
    http://www.davesbees.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Concho, AZ
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Newbie needs help - packages arrived 6 days late

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam-Smith View Post
    I would go the rout of the divider board in one hive to make two smaller ones until you get a third hive, fairly easy to move the bees to a new hive just move the bars, then tack some leaves covering (not blocking) the new hive entrance, this should get them to reorient and not go back to the "old" hive.
    Thanks for the suggestion, this is what I did, made another divider board, so I have two hives in one, and one hive in the other. Not enough survivors from the first packages to support two hives, not sure they'll make it even in one hive, but at least I tried...

    I peaked (naughty naughty) into one the the new packaged hives, and they are drawing perfect comb totally straight on two bars already! YAY!

    I made the bars by cutting 2x6's into 20 inch boards, then ripping three 1.5 inch squares (with a bit left over) from each board and then cut each square into triangles. Then I ripped the triangles' sides down to either 1.25 or 1.5 depending on whether for brood or honey, then notched the ends to lay flat on the hive sides.

    So I got 24 top bars per 2x6. (Minus some learning curve errors)

    Oh, and I just made 4 foot long box hives - Tanzanian.

    Now, if the older packages make it, I have to make another Box!

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