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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Roseville, CA
    Posts
    109

    Default Installing a New Package in an Old Hive

    My hive unfortunately did not survive the winter this year - I strongly suspect that it was due to an overwhealming mite population, as when I finally decided it was a problem late in the fall, it was too late to treat. That is not what I am debating here, though.

    I want to either install a new package or catch a swarm in this hive. I just cleaned out all of the old bees, excess propolis, etc. Hive is in great shape, no evidence of wax months (which is great considering that the hive has been just sitting there empty for two months.

    There are two deeps, the bottom is empty built out comb with some honey and pollen. Not much though, considering that this was the brood chamber. The top is completely filled with honey. After the bees died I did not extract this excess honey because I fed them sugar water towards the end of fall to build their stores.

    What do I do at this point? Do I install my new package of bees with everything as is or would you recommend me cleaning out the top deep and storing it before hand? I also want to try to attract a hive before my package comes in (this would save me $125), would take out the existing honey or leave it in there?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,966

    Default Re: Installing a New Package in an Old Hive

    I would clean the dead bees and debris out of the full box and seal it up in a big trash bag and put another one over that and set it out of the way in storage. That will keep the wax moths and ants out of it. If you have cleaned out the brood chamber i would do the same with it. Now, search and read all the information about swarm tapping you can find and build a couple of those to trap your swarm. leaving out your valuable drawn comb and honey will just invite wax moths or some other vermin to destroy it. When you trap your swarm, you have a home ready made to put them in. The second swarm can be put on the box with all the stored sugar syrup and they can turn that into bees. It is easier to run two hives than one anyway.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,659

    Default Re: Installing a New Package in an Old Hive

    I would store the honey frames in the freezer for now and leave the brood box out as a swarm trap. Also, call the Sacramento Beekeeping Supply store and put your name on the swarm retrieval list for the Roseville and Citrus Heights areas. You will get lots and lots of swarm calls and therefore free bees! Make sure you have lots of boxes built to put them in. When you start getting the swarms, give each one a frame or two of honey from what you have stored in the freezer. I have a feeling it's going to be an early swarm season this year. Good luck!
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,365

    Default Re: Installing a New Package in an Old Hive

    Less than 60 miles away from you is Tinoco Bee Service who has a reputation in the Bay Area for excellent bees and queens. His prices are affordable as well.

    2012 Italian and Carniolan packages will be sold at these prices:
    These prices include cage cost and are same price for any type of queens.
    #2 - $55
    #3 - $65
    #4 - $73
    Pick ups for packages only at address below.

    Nucs will be available as a fill your equipment bases.
    For 3 frames of brood and a queen ; $ 55

    Tinoco Bee Service
    3332 milky way
    Biggs CA, 95917
    530-531-5245 (Juan)
    jtinoco_03@yahoo.com


    So here's what I would do. I would buy a package from Tinoco and put it in all new equipment. I would store your old frames like Vance recommended except for two of your nastiest brood frames. I would turn your old boxes into swarm traps by placing the nasty brood frames in each box, add a couple of drops of Lemon Grass Oil at the entrance or inside and then stand back and watch the swarms come. Swarm season where you are is coming in a couple of weeks. (Add your stored resources as you think necessary).

    This way you'll have at least two hives this season to move resources around with. If you only want two hives, I would continue to trap swarms and sell them to make up some of your cost. The going rate for swarms last season was $10 a pound or $50 to $75 regardless of weight.

    Good luck and happy swarm catching!
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Roseville, CA
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: Installing a New Package in an Old Hive

    Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I really appreciate it!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Posts
    1,235

    Default Re: Installing a New Package in an Old Hive

    If you do NOTHING..... The surrounding hives may start robbing. However within the next 4-6 weeks a swarm will likely move in on it's own.

    Swarms should be available in your area in the next couple of weeks. Get your name on somebodys list and go collect a swarm. It fun, useful, and
    gives the public a good opinion of beekeeping.

    Fuzzy

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