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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Auburn, NY
    Posts
    423

    Default Early packages or later packages. Pros/cons best for NY?

    Its that time of year where my bee fever kicks in. And this year I need more bees to fit the 3 new hives I bought and one emtpy one I lost from last year. I had to buy new hives to make use of the new extractor I bought. In retrospect, seems like I have bee fever all year. Anyway.. I found a source for quite early packages, toward the end of March. Also found other sources for later April. I am leaning heavy toward early packages so they can get started but I worry about things like available forage. Do you have to feed constantly that early? Is there usually enough forage that early? Will a leftover frame of honey do the trick until things start blooming heavy? There are willow trees around and masses of dandelions. Thoughts???

    Thanks!!
    Dan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Lake County, Indiana
    Posts
    82

    Default Re: Early packages or later packages. Pros/cons best for NY?

    I constantly feed a package, well at least as long as they'll take it. Feeding honey is the best but syrup will work if warm enough. It all depends on the weather March for me can mean blizzard or 60 degrees like last year. I prefer later packages because I can be more certain of the weather and I worry less.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
    Posts
    3,353

    Default Re: Early packages or later packages. Pros/cons best for NY?

    We annually purchased packages ( some years 45 at a time) in the mid 1990's. I've tended packages that sat for a week in early April waiting for hiving weather. Of course your right on the Norh end of Seneca Lake so your right smack in the lake effect snow zone as well ( A'm in the same situation on the South end). During those early years I purchased 3, 4 and 5 lb packages for comparison. 3 lb packages the the end of April or 1st couple days of may did as well for us as any size purchased in early april. Keeping in mind bees are limited for forage flights, comb building and brood coverage during those early april weeks while all along losing population daily. Often the earliest queens for early packages are the poorest bred due to weather as well. It always seemed to me with the more settled weather and the abundant bloom the beginning of May a good later package acted more like a swarm with that git er done attitude and required much less work. If you do go early signalten's advice for constant warm feed will help a great deal. But as he stated, I'd go with certain weather and less worry.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,461

    Default Re: Early packages or later packages. Pros/cons best for NY?

    The gamble around here is to hit the dandelion flow a few days after hiving the bees. That USUALLY means the late packages work best, except for last year, when most plants where 2 weeks early, and the dandelions flopped. Usually the later packages have younger bees, and better queens(as noted above), so we go with the later ones.

    Crazy Roland

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    syracuse n.y.
    Posts
    1,653

    Default Re: Early packages or later packages. Pros/cons best for NY?

    exactly what joel and roland said!! where did you end up finding the packages?
    mike syracuse ny
    I went to bed mean, and woke up meaner. Marshal Dillon

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,505

    Default Re: Early packages or later packages. Pros/cons best for NY?

    Key to the success of that package is the area of brood that they can cover. Strongly consider making follower boards with foil clad styrofoam, reduced entrances and Solid bottom boards. The earlier you do buy your packages the more important these measures will be. And yes, feed them! I really like gallon ziplocs on the top bars above the cluster as the bees keep the syrup warm and useable.

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