I would just like to go over what I have done with my first package in the first week and get input from those of you who have much more experience than myself....
Picked up the Wolf Creek Apiaries 3lb Package on Monday (April 23). I use 8 frame medium equipment with foundationless frames, with the exception of two frames of small cell foundation just to make sure that the bee's start out comb building on the right track. I cut the frames down to 1" wide so that I could fit 9 frames in an 8 frame box. I also use a screened bottom board and a plywood cover. On Monday the temp was 52 with wind gusts of about 25mph, but I installed in the late afternoon anyway. Worked out well because the bee's were very lethargic. The temp was supposed to drop to 30 Monday night so during installation I placed a piece of cardboard over the screen in the bottom, and also cut a piece of cardboard to serve as a temporary follower board to keep the bees in a 5 frame section of the hive. I hung the queen cage because I wanted her and the cluster to be high in the box in case it got rather chilly. I used an 8 frame queen excluder as an includer so the bees would not abscond, and finally I used a standard entrance reducer set to the smallest entrance possible. I built a no drown top hive feeder using a plan from dixie bee supply, and I used 1:1 sugar syrup with lemon juice mixed in to keep the ph down.
Today (Friday April 27) I opened the hive and did the following:
: Removed the cardboard follower board
: Removed the queen cage, the bees had released her, there was only a small amount of bur comb.
: Removed the includer
The bee's have already drawn out close to 3 frames, and the queen has started laying eggs, which is why I removed the includer. I did not attempt to locate her, and probably won't try to locate her much. I added more sugar syrup to the feeder and sprinkled ground cinnamon around the feeder because I already have an ant problem. I did not adjust the entrance reducer, figured it was too soon. Bees are bringing in pollen, which is a relief to me because most things have already bloomed out here do to the lack of a winter and warm spring.
What do you guys think? Should I have done anything different? Do you have any recommendations for me?