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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    high bridge, nj, usa
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    68

    Default 3# package in a top bar

    Good Morning,

    On May 1st I will take delivery of a 3# package and queen (I live in NJ). I've built a top bar for them and want to do a direct install of the queen. Couple of things I'd like your thoughts on; 1) Dump in the queen first or the bees? I'm leaning on the bees first. 2) Feed or not? I'm leaning on not, as I feel that at this time of the year that this is really just a swarm situtation and if they had swarmed on their own, than they would have nothing to start with and would likely be fine. Your thought's would be appreciated.
    \"Bee Healthy, Eat Your Honey\"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,583

    Default Re: 3# package in a top bar

    I would reccommend reading this page from Michael Bush:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beespackages.htm

    Swarmed bees know they are going to a new home, and load up on honey before they leave. Package bees don't have that opportunity, so feed them. TBH bees need to build a lot of comb, quickly, and feeding them will help them do that.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: 3# package in a top bar

    I agree with Rader, and I'd add that I feel it'd be unwise to put the bees in the hive before the queen...
    Put her in before the workers have any chance to make plans of their own; better chance of her getting "accepted in the confusion" that way, in my mind at least.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Athens, OH
    Posts
    2,726

    Default Re: 3# package in a top bar

    Any chance of obtaining even a small piece of comb? I'd melt it onto a bar to give orientation to the comb that they will build and make a place to release the queen onto.
    Buy the ticket, take the ride. -H.S. Thompson

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,901

    Default Re: 3# package in a top bar

    What I do is spray the screen of the package with 1:1 syrup a couple times just before installation. Shake bees down to bottom of package then immediately remove syrup can and queen cage, then spray syrup onto the bees in the cage through the hole where the can was, not alot but just enough to wet their wings. Turn package over and shake bees quickly into bottom of hive near entrance with top bars removed or pushed all the way to the back. Take queen cage and hold down in bottom of hive above cluster of bees and prying off the screen release the queen on top of the bees, she will immediately burrow down into the cluster. I would only use about 8-10 top bars to start with putting the follower board behind them and close up the hive. Also, I would reduce the entrance down to about the size of a quarter for the first day or so. John

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Lumberton, NC USA!
    Posts
    94

    Default Re: 3# package in a top bar

    jmgi is spot on with his recommendations. Also, I'd do as Rader suggested and read Mr. Bush's comments. He's one of the best!
    "Death smiles at everyone. Marines smile back!"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    high bridge, nj, usa
    Posts
    68

    Default Re: 3# package in a top bar

    Thanks all,

    I truly appreciate your comments. I don't see how a bee would be able to store any significant amount of honey if it knew it was going to swarm and spraying the bees is contrary to what Mr Bush recommends. In fact I would also refrain from smoking them at this time as I feel that it is important for them to be able to recognize the queens pheromones during this time. The bees will come with a sugar syrup to feed them on their journey so it's not like the would be without before placing them in their new hive. Still looking for some sound reasoning. Thanks!
    \"Bee Healthy, Eat Your Honey\"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,583

    Default Re: 3# package in a top bar

    Quote Originally Posted by Fat Nancy View Post
    The bees will come with a sugar syrup to feed them on their journey so it's not like the would be without before placing them in their new hive. Still looking for some sound reasoning.
    If you are going to follow Mr. Bush's advice, consider this from the "Package" page:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beespackages.htm

    Don't just keep feeding figuring they will stop taking it when they don't need it. I've seen packages that swarmed when they hadn't even finished the first box because they backfilled it all with syrup. Feed until you see some capped stores. This is the sign that the bees have put some of it in "long term storage" meaning they consider it a surplus. If there is a nectar flow at that point, I would stop feeding.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
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    1,310

    Default Re: 3# package in a top bar

    Quote Originally Posted by Fat Nancy View Post
    I don't see how a bee would be able to store any significant amount of honey if it knew it was going to swarm and spraying the bees is contrary to what Mr Bush recommends.
    I'm not going to argue with M. Bush, as I know he has FAR more experience than I do, but I WILL say that bees have been known to "hang out" in a swarm cluster for up to 3 days without building a single cell of comb, that's a LOT of stored honey compared to the 2hrs that foragers last before starving to death when they accidentally get themselves locked in my home! I personally would give them a quarter cup, or so, of syrup, just to last them 'til the foragers start bringing in fresh nectar in the afternoon.

    This is from the page Rader Sidetrack linked in his post:
    Quote Originally Posted by BushBees.com
    Don't postpone

    Don't postpone installing them because it's a little drizzly or chilly. Unless it's like 10 F or less I would install them and consider it an advantage that they won't want to fly and they will settle in better anyway. Just make sure you have food for them so they don't starve. Capped honey is best. Dry sugar that has been sprayed with enough water to get it damp will do.
    Last edited by robherc; 04-01-2012 at 09:32 PM. Reason: added quote from Michael Bush's Website

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Default Re: 3# package in a top bar

    >1) Dump in the queen first or the bees? I'm leaning on the bees first.

    It's not hard to keep the bees there a few minutes but it is hard to keep the queen from flying. I would dump in the bees, uncork the cage with your finger over the hole (the non candy end if there is any) and lay it on the bottom with the bees and then let her go. We aren't talking about a lot of time here. The bees should still be in a pile on the bottom of the hive because you just dumped them in. If the queen feels she's not with the bees she will fly off to find them.

    > 2) Feed or not? I'm leaning on not, as I feel that at this time of the year that this is really just a swarm situtation and if they had swarmed on their own, than they would have nothing to start with and would likely be fine. Your thought's would be appreciated.

    You MIGHT get away with not feeding IF the weather doesn't turn cold and there is a flow. But those are "ifs". I would feed until they have some capped stores. That way if it gets rainy for several days they still have food or if this warm winter is interrupted by a late freeze (as warm winters often are) and all the flowers are killed they will have something to tide them over until something blooms again.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Charles Town, WV
    Posts
    306

    Default Re: 3# package in a top bar

    When I hived mine last Spring, there was already a gazillion dandilions in bloom all around my hive (not just my yard, but the whole 100+acre development). Still, they took about a quart of syrup as they got settled and started making comb. After that, they hardly took any.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Redmond Oregon
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: 3# package in a top bar

    Friday I will install my package in a top bar. I have comb honey I'm going to lean against the end of my TBH under bar number one. I assume this is as good or better than feeding sugar?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Charles Town, WV
    Posts
    306

    Default Re: 3# package in a top bar

    Quote Originally Posted by whalers View Post
    Friday I will install my package in a top bar. I have comb honey I'm going to lean against the end of my TBH under bar number one. I assume this is as good or better than feeding sugar?
    Here's what I would be concerned about... will the comb be 'in the way' of them building their own comb straight down from the bars? If weather or something else prevents you from getting in there as soon as you plan to remove it, you might have an ugly mess to contend with. I'm not a fan of putting anything below the bars that can encourage them make a mess of the comb.
    Instead, I'd consider trying to affix the comb to the bottom of a bar, nice and straight, which would 1) feed them and 2) act as a guide for building more straight comb. They'll get it anchored down nice and put it to use.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Athens, OH
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    2,726

    Default Re: 3# package in a top bar

    I second the notion of attaching comb to a bar. (That is, if you are sure of the source of the honey.)
    Buy the ticket, take the ride. -H.S. Thompson

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Redmond Oregon
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: 3# package in a top bar

    I like that idea. Going to try it. The honey is from one of my own hives that I lost last year.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Postville, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    381

    Default Re: 3# package in a top bar

    Quote Originally Posted by whalers View Post
    ...comb honey I'm going to lean against the end of my TBH...
    Follow the others' advice to attach the comb to a bar so it is oriented properly. Get the bees started right. They will build comb very quickly under optimum conditions, and they will follow the lead you give them. If your comb is off kilter, their comb will be too. --DeeAnna

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    high bridge, nj, usa
    Posts
    68

    Default Re: 3# package in a top bar

    With my bees coming on May 1st, I really wonder if I'm going to need to feed at all (I live in NJ) and I think there will be plenty for them. Has anyone tried to just put some raw honey (without comb) in the hive? I know Mike said that some sugar sprayed with some water will do, but if I can give them some raw honey to work with what's the harm?
    \"Bee Healthy, Eat Your Honey\"

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
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    1,310

    Default Re: 3# package in a top bar

    Quote Originally Posted by Fat Nancy View Post
    Has anyone tried to just put some raw honey (without comb) in the hive? I know Mike said that some sugar sprayed with some water will do, but if I can give them some raw honey to work with what's the harm?
    Boiled honey = dead bees (messes with their digestive systems)
    Raw honey = can transmit diseases; if you don't know the bees that it was taken from (all of them), DON'T RISK IT!

    Just my opinion, but I think I'd sooner run the risk of having a bit of neonicotinoids in the sugar/HFCS than give my hive AFB (and end up quarantined + have to burn a lot of equipment) because whoever harvested the honey was ignorant.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    high bridge, nj, usa
    Posts
    68

    Default Re: 3# package in a top bar

    I know where the honey came from and I wouldn't touch HFCS with a ten foot pole! My bees are small cell and untreated.
    \"Bee Healthy, Eat Your Honey\"

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: 3# package in a top bar

    LOL, that's fine...just as long as you're 100% sure the honey is pure, NOT from diseased bees, and actually raw; that was the point (I don't use HFCS on my bees either, due to the chance of neonicotinoid contamination).
    (my bees are TBH+natural cell, and the only treatment I've ever used so far is 3 drops of LGO+Spearmint oil to encourage the new swarm to feed on sugar syrup while getting established)

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