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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ankeny, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    579

    Default Suggestions on package failures?

    You may have read my posts last weekend about trouble with 2 packages. I will purchase two more packages and try again. Here is what I had for equipment and what I did.

    All new Mann Lake equipment, 1 deep brood box with 10 frames of wax coated plastic foundation and wood frames, screened bottom board, cedar hive stand, 2 gallon top feeder in shallow super filled with 1-1 sugar syrup and a pollen pattie substitute on top of the foundation bars, inner cover over feeder and telescoping cover. First package I placed queen with candy between center frames and dumped 1/4 of bees on queen, closed up hive and dumped 3/4 in front of hive per instructions in the book "The new starting right with bees".....the bees were slow to enter the hive and some clustered under and behind hive(it was a little windy). The other hive was set up the same but I dumped 3/4 in the hive and 1/4 in front of hive. Most all of these bees entered hive. The next day was very windy and all the bees in first hive were clustered on outside of hive away from wind, I brushed them in a pail and dumped them back inside....they came crawling out as fast as I put them in and again clustered behind the hive(I had entrances reduced to 1 inch on both hives) so I brushed them into a pail and put them back in the hive and blocked the entrance, then removed the blockage two and a half days later. This morning when I checked, nearly all the bees in hive one are dead.....just a few very slow moving around.....the second hive has more live bees but they act like they are sick as they also are moving very slowly and certainly don't look healthy. Other than putting all the bees inside the hive from the packages, what do I need to do different? These are my first hives.

    Thanks for any suggestions.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,710

    Default Re: Suggestions on package failures?

    You may find this useful:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beespackages.htm

    > "put them back in the hive and blocked the entrance".
    If by that you mean you blocked the entrance with a solid object, they will have a hard time with that. A screen would have been a better choice. However, note that M. Bush recommends allowing them to fly at will.
    Graham
    --- Victor Hugo - "Common sense is in spite of, not the result of, education.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,678

    Default Re: Suggestions on package failures?

    Did you get these bees on your own or were they part of a club purchase? They don't sound like the packages I have gotten in the past though I must admit my prejudice in favor of nucs for the reasons you've described in your posts. It doesn't seem like there would be any benefit to having the packages replaced. Are there any other sources for bees available to you?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Windsor, Maine, USA
    Posts
    55

    Default Re: Suggestions on package failures?

    I don't have a lot of experience, but I have installed three packages successfully. I was taught to install the Queen cage first, then remove a few frames and shake the bees in. As many as possible. Replace the frames, put your covers on, and then place the package on a cinderblock or something close to and more or less level with the entrance of the hive with the hole pointing towards it. All the remaining bees will go into the hive within an hour or so. It has worked for me.
    But in your case the bees eventually DID enter the hive and came back out later, correct?
    I would guess, and this is only a guess, that there was something toxic in the hives themselves that the bees didn't like. What did you paint the hive with? How long ago? Did you paint anything on the inside? Maybe the Pollen Pattie had gone bad. Did you boil your sugar water? Obviously there was something about those hives they didn't like. Some came out and some stayed in but they stuck around until they died because their queen was still in there. Otherwise they probably would have all came out and found a new place to live.
    I installed a package last weekend in a setup almost exactly like yours. New medium hive body, new Mann Lake PF120 plastic frames, new Mann Lake Hive Top Feeder, used Hive Stand, covers, and solid bottom board. I painted everything with one coat oil-based primer and two coats of Sears Weatherbeater paint. (On the outside only.) Everything had at least two days to dry (mostly more) before I got the bees. I fed them 1:1 sugar water syrup (boiled) and no Pollen Pattie. I checked on them today and they're doing great. Drawing out comb, bringing in nectar & pollen, laying eggs and loving it.
    Unless you can figure out what was poisoning them, my suggestion would be to install your next packages on some different equipment and see how they take to it. If they do OK, then your current equipment is probably contaminated with something. I wouldn't have expected it with new stuff, but you never know.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Madison, WI, USA
    Posts
    175

    Default Re: Suggestions on package failures?

    This is what I was taught and is working reliably for me: Remove 4 frames from the box you are introducing the bees into, dump all of the bees into the "hole" where the frames were removed, rap, smack and shake the package until all of the bees are out and in the hive. Carefully replace the frames that you removed and place the queen cage a little off-center (like between frame #3 and #4) and close up the hive. Add a feeder over the inner cover hole. Reduce the bottom entrance to 1" wide, close all upper entrances. A couple of things that I do a little differently from what you read in books: I hang the queen cage from a small nail driven into the side of a frame top bar rather than squeezing the cage between two frames. Also, I wait at least 5 days and sometimes up to 7 days to release the queen (my queen cages do not come with a candy plug, just a cork).

    Keep experimenting! You will find a way that works for you, it may be different from what others are doing but who cares if it works!
    life is finite while knowledge is infinite. - Zhuang Zi

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Macoupin,Illinois,USA
    Posts
    355

    Default Re: Suggestions on package failures?

    a few things,do the pkg's have stickers from state they came from showing the apiary is inspected,do u know if supplier treats for nosema,and or varroa, are u sure they are able to get syrup,did u make syrup in a manner to be sure you didn't caramalize it. opinions vary but i always put all the bees in the hive,put entrance reducer on smallest opening till bees build up and can protect there hive.never put bees back in hive sick bees will naturally leave hive if they know there sick,putting them back may put disease back in hive.and what are your overnight temps,shouldn't be a problem now,but with the extra super all there heat is escaping

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Macoupin,Illinois,USA
    Posts
    355

    Default Re: Suggestions on package failures?

    another note i always put the sticky tray in sbb for first few weeks till day temps stay fairly warm

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ankeny, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: Suggestions on package failures?

    Yes, with a solid object. That was suggested so they would get used to the hive.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    You may find this useful:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beespackages.htm

    > "put them back in the hive and blocked the entrance".
    If by that you mean you blocked the entrance with a solid object, they will have a hard time with that. A screen would have been a better choice. However, note that M. Bush recommends allowing them to fly at will.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ankeny, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: Suggestions on package failures?

    I got them from a local beekeeper. I spoke to another beekeeper today that got his bees on the same day, so far so good for him. No nucs for sale in Iowa that I am aware of.



    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Dewey View Post
    Did you get these bees on your own or were they part of a club purchase? They don't sound like the packages I have gotten in the past though I must admit my prejudice in favor of nucs for the reasons you've described in your posts. It doesn't seem like there would be any benefit to having the packages replaced. Are there any other sources for bees available to you?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ankeny, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: Suggestions on package failures?

    Hives were painted by Mann Lake and dated July 2010, so they had plenty of time to air out. Bee patties were just purchased and they smell fine. I have 6 more deep brood boxes from Mann Lake so I can try different equipment.



    Quote Originally Posted by Albatross View Post
    I don't have a lot of experience, but I have installed three packages successfully. I was taught to install the Queen cage first, then remove a few frames and shake the bees in. As many as possible. Replace the frames, put your covers on, and then place the package on a cinderblock or something close to and more or less level with the entrance of the hive with the hole pointing towards it. All the remaining bees will go into the hive within an hour or so. It has worked for me.
    But in your case the bees eventually DID enter the hive and came back out later, correct?
    I would guess, and this is only a guess, that there was something toxic in the hives themselves that the bees didn't like. What did you paint the hive with? How long ago? Did you paint anything on the inside? Maybe the Pollen Pattie had gone bad. Did you boil your sugar water? Obviously there was something about those hives they didn't like. Some came out and some stayed in but they stuck around until they died because their queen was still in there. Otherwise they probably would have all came out and found a new place to live.
    I installed a package last weekend in a setup almost exactly like yours. New medium hive body, new Mann Lake PF120 plastic frames, new Mann Lake Hive Top Feeder, used Hive Stand, covers, and solid bottom board. I painted everything with one coat oil-based primer and two coats of Sears Weatherbeater paint. (On the outside only.) Everything had at least two days to dry (mostly more) before I got the bees. I fed them 1:1 sugar water syrup (boiled) and no Pollen Pattie. I checked on them today and they're doing great. Drawing out comb, bringing in nectar & pollen, laying eggs and loving it.
    Unless you can figure out what was poisoning them, my suggestion would be to install your next packages on some different equipment and see how they take to it. If they do OK, then your current equipment is probably contaminated with something. I wouldn't have expected it with new stuff, but you never know.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ankeny, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: Suggestions on package failures?

    That's why I'm not giving up......something has to work, but I just need to figure it out. My queens had the cork, but I removed it and inserted the candy tubes I was given. Both queens were very active and looked healthy.


    Quote Originally Posted by Tom B View Post
    This is what I was taught and is working reliably for me: Remove 4 frames from the box you are introducing the bees into, dump all of the bees into the "hole" where the frames were removed, rap, smack and shake the package until all of the bees are out and in the hive. Carefully replace the frames that you removed and place the queen cage a little off-center (like between frame #3 and #4) and close up the hive. Add a feeder over the inner cover hole. Reduce the bottom entrance to 1" wide, close all upper entrances. A couple of things that I do a little differently from what you read in books: I hang the queen cage from a small nail driven into the side of a frame top bar rather than squeezing the cage between two frames. Also, I wait at least 5 days and sometimes up to 7 days to release the queen (my queen cages do not come with a candy plug, just a cork).

    Keep experimenting! You will find a way that works for you, it may be different from what others are doing but who cares if it works!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ankeny, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: Suggestions on package failures?

    The packages were from Iowa and the queens from California. Others seemed to not have problems. I mixed 5 lbs of sugar in a gallon jug which gets you very close to 1-1 and added Pro-health to it. Shook it well.....waited and shook several times again, but did not heat or boil the water. The inner cover was above the feeder.....not a jar feeder but the plastic Mann Lake feeder with the entrance in the middle and screen to keep the bees from drowning.


    Quote Originally Posted by mrqb View Post
    a few things,do the pkg's have stickers from state they came from showing the apiary is inspected,do u know if supplier treats for nosema,and or varroa, are u sure they are able to get syrup,did u make syrup in a manner to be sure you didn't caramalize it. opinions vary but i always put all the bees in the hive,put entrance reducer on smallest opening till bees build up and can protect there hive.never put bees back in hive sick bees will naturally leave hive if they know there sick,putting them back may put disease back in hive.and what are your overnight temps,shouldn't be a problem now,but with the extra super all there heat is escaping

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: Suggestions on package failures?

    So if I'm reading this correctly, you bought two packages that failed, then put two more in the same gear and they failed. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    Since I've heard and tried very different ways of hiving a package, I don't believe your experience is related to procedure.

    Sounds like something is killing them. Is anyone nearby using pesticides? Are they within easy reach of an uneasy neighbor?

    If you give it another go and since you are most likely entering the flow, I suggest trying with new unpainted gear in a different location and forgo any feeding. Most of mine don't take any syrup when nectar is available anyway.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ankeny, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: Suggestions on package failures?

    No, two total packages in two hives, but the bees kept leaving one hive, so I put them back in twice. The second time I blocked the 1 inch opening to try and keep them in the hive as was suggested on this site.


    Quote Originally Posted by throrope View Post
    So if I'm reading this correctly, you bought two packages that failed, then put two more in the same gear and they failed. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    Since I've heard and tried very different ways of hiving a package, I don't believe your experience is related to procedure.

    Sounds like something is killing them. Is anyone nearby using pesticides? Are they within easy reach of an uneasy neighbor?

    If you give it another go and since you are most likely entering the flow, I suggest trying with new unpainted gear in a different location and forgo any feeding. Most of mine don't take any syrup when nectar is available anyway.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ankeny, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: Suggestions on package failures?

    Ok , the question about the water got me thinking......I used cool well water to mix the sugar syrup.....maybe there is something in the well water that they don't like? I will use city water next time and if you think it's necessary I will boil it?

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: Suggestions on package failures?

    I'm pretty new but your experience sounds really strange to me. Don't know if this will be any help but this is how my package installation last year went.

    Equipment: one deep with ten frames duragilt foundation. Solid bottom, migratory cover boardman feeder. Everything came used and had been sitting empty outside for five plus years.

    Set an empty deep ontop of the hive filled with frames. Removed the queen, added a marshmellow cork and hung her on the center frame. Dumped all the bees directly onto the frames using the empty deep on top as a kind of funnel. (it was a really windy day, I was afraid they would all blow away without a windbreak around them) All the bees crawled down into the frames after about five minutes. Took off the empty deep, replaced cover. Entrance reduced to 2"x3/4"

    Two days later checked hive, queen had been released, all was well. Hive did great all summer until being destroyed by bears.

    Things I didn't do: Use smoke, or sugar water spray or anything in the syrup besides sugar.

    I did notice that they didn't seem to be feeding at all the first couple days. I eventually smeared a half teaspoon of honey on the lid of the entrance feeder. That got their attention and they promptly sucked down a whole jar in a day.


    The only thing that sounds strange about your install is dumping some of the bees outside the hive, I don't know why you would do that. Also, bees need a lot of air,completely blocking the entrance with a solid block seems like it would cut off the air they need. I would use mesh of some kind.
    Last edited by Aerindel; 04-21-2012 at 10:15 PM.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ankeny, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: Suggestions on package failures?

    I didn't block the hive until they wouldn't stay in the one hive and they had a screened bottom board so there was plenty of ventilation. My only other thought is the strong smell of spearmint from the Pro Health product....could that be what they didn't like? I won't use any with the next packages.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Seneca, sc
    Posts
    830

    Default Re: Suggestions on package failures?

    Good luck.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ankeny, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: Suggestions on package failures?

    Thank you if you are being sincere......if not.....oh well.


    Quote Originally Posted by scdw43 View Post
    Good luck.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Lashmeet,WV,USA
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Suggestions on package failures?

    I installed a package about a week ago. Prefer to place the queen in the middle between two frames w/ drawn comb if possible. Then place a empty deep on top put the open cage on its side in the empty deep. Never shook.smacked,etc the package. All the bees were out with exception of maybe fifty in about one hour. Removed the cage and empty deep put on feeder, cover, lid and done deal. This way all frames are in except the one that goes where the queen cage is currently at. This is replaced when queen is out and her cage is removed that is unless you direct release eleminating the need to leave out the one frame. I had great results doing it this way it dosen't stress or injure the bees more than the already are. There are many ways this is mine. You may have better luck with a different method. Good Luck no matter how it is done.

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