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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Platteville, WI
    Posts
    134

    Default 2 LBS or 3 LBS for Packaged Bees?

    I am about to order my first 3 packages of bees. I found a seller that is just a couple hours from me. They offer bees in 2# and 3# packages; however, the 2# packages are available sooner, and at a lower price. So, as I will be a new beekeeper, what are your suggestions? Ideas? Is it worth getting bees a couple weeks earlier, if I get less? The bees will be introduced to a hive of wooden frames with foundations - no drawn-out comb.
    "Life will find a way - it always finds a way." -Jurassic Park (MOVIE/BOOK)
    USDA Zone 5a

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Long Beach, Ca
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: 2 LBS or 3 LBS for Packaged Bees?

    Wait until spring. They most likely (definitely) wont make it through winter.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Kenosha,WI
    Posts
    195

    Default Re: 2 LBS or 3 LBS for Packaged Bees?

    Get the 3# package next spring. The larger population makes a big difference that first month.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Pitt County, NC
    Posts
    27

    Default Re: 2 LBS or 3 LBS for Packaged Bees?

    I think I would go with the 2# package two weeks earlier as long as it is at a time that the queen will start laying. If that's the case, with the two week head start, say she laid 1,000 eggs a day that's 14,000 young bees (brood at that time, but you get the trade off) you'll have instead of 10,000(extra pound) old bees. You just have to keep in mind the weather at the time you get them and if it is a time hives start growing in your area.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Haslet, Tx
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: 2 LBS or 3 LBS for Packaged Bees?

    If you had drawn comb 2# packages would be ok but considering the lag of building cells to lay in I would get the 3# packages and let them draw comb.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Norfolk, VA
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: 2 LBS or 3 LBS for Packaged Bees?

    How about two 2#, one w/queen, one w/o?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Pinellass County, Florida
    Posts
    1,113

    Default Re: 2 LBS or 3 LBS for Packaged Bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by bbrowncods View Post
    How about two 2#, one w/queen, one w/o?
    This man has the plan

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,593

    Default Re: 2 LBS or 3 LBS for Packaged Bees?

    I would choose to wait 2 weeks, and get the 3 lb packages. You haven't told us what dates those bees would be available. Keep in mind that you can't predict what the weather will be like for those two weeks this far in advance. If its quite cold, the "two weeks early" won't help much at all.

    And for those advocating putting (2) two lb packages in each hive, consider that Mr Osborn is planning 3 hives, so you are advocating buying 6 packages, versus three. New beeks have enough potential challenges already that I say 2 lb packages are best left for experienced beekeepers.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Platteville, WI
    Posts
    134

    Default Re: 2 LBS or 3 LBS for Packaged Bees?

    Thanks for the input. I should have mentioned that the 2# packages come in early April and the 3# packages come in mid to late April. It looks as if the 3# packages may be the way to start. Again, thanks for the input. I'll consider that double 2# thing in the future. I hadn't thought of that, and I certainly don't have a budget that could support it... but it is an interesting idea. Thanks, all.
    "Life will find a way - it always finds a way." -Jurassic Park (MOVIE/BOOK)
    USDA Zone 5a

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Posts
    361

    Default Re: 2 LBS or 3 LBS for Packaged Bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Osborne View Post
    and the 3# packages come in mid to late April.
    I'm guessing that early April may be too early for you--assuming we get a cold winter, which I suspect. I, personally, would go w/ two 2 lb packages w/ one queen per hive mid-Apr at the earliest (but I don't know the normal weather there). I'd order them for that time then watch the weather and delay the delivery if needed (I installed one this year on 02 Apr w/ night time lows in the mid 30s and they did fine). That being said you could go w/ 1.5 3lb packages per hive if you want. The hive I started this spring I started w/ 1.5 3lb packages and they are doing much better than the hive I started w/ 1 3lb package the year before (the other 0.5 lbs went to this hive and the package was ordered just in case the hive died out--but the warm winter saved them). The flow was so strong this spring, and I so inexperienced, that both hives swarmed and I got a third hive out of it.

    If you are set on NOT harvesting any honey the first year then 1 3lb package per hive is fine (NOT 2lbs in this case--too small). Just make sure you know when the dearths are and feed accordingly (the mistake I made). Would have had three times more honey this year had I fed during the dearth last year.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Clifford Township, PA
    Posts
    2,082

    Default Re: 2 LBS or 3 LBS for Packaged Bees?

    Having bought many dozens of packages over the years, I can't think of a single time when I got them and wished I had less bees. Since a package is a small cross-section of bees in a hive, keep in mind that a lot of those bees are fast approaching or are at the end of their lives. The two weeks and the few dollars that you gain with a third less bees is not going to help you build your hive stronger or faster than if you wait a couple weeks and start off stronger in milder temperatures.

    It might be a good plan in the south but since you probably have a similar climate to me here in Maine, I'd never buy a mini-package to start a hive here . Northern colonies have it hard enough without setting them up to fail.

    Wayne

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Des Moines, Iowa
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: 2 LBS or 3 LBS for Packaged Bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by bbrowncods View Post
    How about two 2#, one w/queen, one w/o?

    Starting with 4 pounds of bees, 1 queen and no drawn comb? YES! I totally agree with bbrowncods!! Nice thinking!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Lake County Illinois
    Posts
    261

    Default Re: 2 LBS or 3 LBS for Packaged Bees?

    I bet we are getting ours from the same place. I order 2# Early/mid April. So far they have worked out fine. Why spend the extra money...difference is about $30, right? If there was such an issue, why would he offer the dates?

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