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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lucasville, OH, USA
    Posts
    113

    Big Grin First Package Received and Hived! (Long, as usual. )

    Well, we’ve received and hived our first package today! This morning I was fixing breakfast before going to work and the dogs started barking. I looked out and saw the mail carrier’s Jeep coming up the drive. She was as excited as we were! She’d made a special trip out to deliver the package before going back to the post office to load up for her regular deliveries.

    This package is from Gold Star Honeybees, raised on small-cell and treatment-free. It was cool this morning when delivered so they were a bit subdued. Not a lot of dead bees, either. I showed them to my wife and put them down in the basement on top of the freezer to wait until I got home.

    I managed to get home a little bit early. We were excited. I wired a piece of brood comb bought from GSH to a bar I’d brought in previously. We gathered up our things for the walk out to the hive. I brought the bees up from the basement and set them down in the family room. Several of our cats came to have a look but didn’t get too close. We put our tools and stuff (feeder and jars, notebook, etcetera) in a box (we really need to get a good plastic box to keep this stuff in) and walked on out. The temperature was about 67 and cloudy.

    At the hive we loosened up the strap we have holding it down and opened the lid. We took out some bars and moved the follower board over a bit to accommodate the feeder. I placed the bar with the brood in place and we started to get down to the hiving process—but first I took a photo of Rhonda with the package.

    I opted to let Rhonda do most of the hiving as she probably won’t be here this weekend when I’m expecting to pick up our second package. She started to go at the cover when I remembered we hadn’t done anything to distract the bees. She’d wanted to go with spraying the bees with syrup and I’d wanted to brush the screen, but I’d forgotten to bring out a container of syrup whereas she’d brought the sprayer. Unfortunately, she found that the sprayer had clogged and wouldn’t spray anything but a stream. I went back to the garage and got out a new paint brush. I poured syrup from the spray bottle onto the brush and started painting the screens. The hum of the bees dropped quite a bit! Once they were calmed down a bit we pulled the syrup can out, and then the queen cage.

    We looked into the queen cage and Rhonda noted that the queen was fine, but all but one of her attendants were dead—and one of those was imbedded in the candy. We’d been going back and forth on doing a direct release or hanging the queen from a bar (I wanted the direct release, but said that if we hung it from a bar it should be in front of the comb we put in.) Well, with things being the way they were in the cage we opted for a direct release.

    Rhonda bumped the package a couple of times to get the bees down on the bottom, then started shaking them into the hive. Once she had most of them out I tried to pull the end cork from the cage, but it slipped inside instead. It went to one side. I held the cage down in the hive and the queen came out and disappeared into the mass of bees. I dropped the cage in so the remaining attendant could get out and to have as much of the queen’s scent in the hive as possible. That done, we gently placed the remaining top bars into place. Bees were flying all around us. We closed the lid, and looked into the hive from the observation window. We couldn’t see much other than a bunch of bees, so that was that. We went around the front of the hive and Rhonda placed the package on the ground below the entrance. We then stood back and watched, grinning at each other from time to time.

    The bees that were outside the hive started landing around the entrance, with some going on in. Eventually there were quite a few gathered there. From time to time a bee poked her head out of the entrance, but for the most part they were going on in. There was a nice, steady buzz coming from the hive. Nothing that sounded overly excited, just a nice buzz. We took a few pictures, walked away from the hive a bit and brushed of the few bees that were staying with us, and watched as one of our dogs snapped at bees in the air. She’s always snapped at flying things, including bumblebees, but this time I think she got one. I don’t think she liked it.

    One key thing that you might have noticed here was a complete lack of mention of a smoker! Nothing about problems getting it lit, nothing about using one at all. That’s because we completely forgot about it! We never felt a need for it during the entire process. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have had it handy or that we’re against using a smoker—we’d simply forgotten.

    So there it is… our first package has been hived. We’re excited and looking forward to seeing how they get on in their new digs!

    Cheers,
    Tom

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Josephine County,Oregon,USA
    Posts
    125

    Default Re: First Package Received and Hived! (Long, as usual. )

    CONGRATS!!!
    The fun and wonder has just begun! The last three weeks have been a constant row of good days for me;I've been so interested in everything my bees do.Also I just like to visit them and listen and watch. So many firsts. First jar of syrup gone,first day they found my fruit trees,first comb built,first full pollen sacks coming in,first head-butt,first view of laying pattern and larvae. Sigh. It's just great. I know you'll be lovin it too!
    Congrats again and ENJOY!!! HB

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lucasville, OH, USA
    Posts
    113

    Default Re: First Package Received and Hived! (Long, as usual. )

    Thanks, HB!

    I went out about an hour after the hiving and stood nearby, watching and listening. My wife went out later and did the same, commenting on how it's almost mesmerizing to watch.

    I went out later to say goodnight to the bees and found that most were in the hive. I took a look in through the observation window and saw that they were nicely clustered around the brood comb we’d hung from a bar. They seem to be content in their new home!

    When I went out and stood there the first time after the hiving I had a funny feeling inside--something telling me that our lives had just taken a turn on the road of life, and I'm looking forward to seeing where the bees take us.

    Cheers,
    Tom

    P.S. Thought I'd add some photos:







    Last edited by Tango Yankee; 04-29-2013 at 08:28 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    901

    Default Re: First Package Received and Hived! (Long, as usual. )

    Mine wanted nothing to do with the bar of comb I robbed out of another hive they went straight to the follower board and started building comb right above the jar I didn't want to but I had to open it after 2 days to move the jar behind the board before they locked it in

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: First Package Received and Hived! (Long, as usual. )

    Congratulations! I'm curious as to why you chose to get a northern package and a southern package instead of two northern. I lost both hives this past winter and had to restart this spring with a package out of Louisiana but am hoping it is the last package I have to buy. I hope to either build them up enough to split them for my second hive or lure a swarm into one of my traps. I had some issues with pests (small hive beetles and wax worms) that came with purchased bees so I am a bit leery of bringing new ones in.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lucasville, OH, USA
    Posts
    113

    Default Re: First Package Received and Hived! (Long, as usual. )

    Hi, Colleen,

    Good question! It's because we ordered the first (southern) package when we were first starting our learning curve. We first started looking into becoming beekeepers in January. We found a beekeeping class listed by a regional beekeepers association and signed up for it. The cost included the first year of dues for the association, so we went to our first meeting on Valentine's Day. There we learned that one of the members sold packages. We went ahead and ordered one from him. My wife wanted to try to catch a swarm for the second hive.

    As we learned more I realized that catching a swarm would be a fairly random event. During my online research I came across Gold Star Honeybees and decided I wanted to fill the second hive with Christy's bees. I had to do some persuading to get my wife to agree. I like the idea of a swarm myself but didn't want to count on one so placed our order with Christy as soon as I got her to agree.

    I think that starting the two hives within a week of each other should make for interesting comparisons, though nothing that you could safely draw conclusions from. We'll see how it goes. I'm keeping my eye out for sources of northern queens should we decide to re-queen and have come across Olympic Wilderness Apiary as one possible source. We'll just have to see how it goes!

    I have started buying materials to build an additional hive and some swarm traps, so perhaps we'll get lucky in that regard as well.

    Regards,
    Tom

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lucasville, OH, USA
    Posts
    113

    Default Re: First Package Received and Hived! (Long, as usual. )

    Quote Originally Posted by Harley Craig View Post
    Mine wanted nothing to do with the bar of comb I robbed out of another hive they went straight to the follower board and started building comb right above the jar I didn't want to but I had to open it after 2 days to move the jar behind the board before they locked it in
    Harley,

    I've some concerns about that happening as well, and plan on keeping an eye out for it. I noticed that some bees were getting around the follower board (I think they're getting past where the observation window is). I had thought about drilling a hole in the follower board and placing the feeder behind it but opted to try putting it in with them to start.

    Cheers,
    Tom

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: First Package Received and Hived! (Long, as usual. )

    My bees were getting past my solid follower too and then would get trapped on the other side and die. I also noticed when I was fighting pests the pest larva were hiding from the bees between the side wall and the follower with the hole in it. I ended up making a new follower that had beespace on the sides and bottom. So far that has been working great - the bees can get to the feeder and the pests lost a hideout.

    This year my bees are building up so fast I am going to have to split them so I am really glad I only bought the one package. I am also really glad I can take one of my swarm traps and use it as a nuc for the split!
    Last edited by Colleen O.; 04-30-2013 at 07:15 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    901

    Default Re: First Package Received and Hived! (Long, as usual. )

    Quote Originally Posted by Tango Yankee View Post
    Harley,

    I've some concerns about that happening as well, and plan on keeping an eye out for it. I noticed that some bees were getting around the follower board (I think they're getting past where the observation window is). I had thought about drilling a hole in the follower board and placing the feeder behind it but opted to try putting it in with them to start.

    Cheers,
    Tom

    Yeah I cut the bottom off of a spare follower board @ 3/8 inch and replaced them after I moved the syrup, and watch them through the window, they had an assembly line under the board transfering feed up to the cluster festooning on the other side, it was pretty cool, and I'm told they wont think that as part of their hive right now so they shouldn't build on that side unless they run out of room on the other.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,278

    Default Re: First Package Received and Hived! (Long, as usual. )

    I never smoke a package or a swarm. They need the smells to get organized. I would smoke an established colony, though...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lucasville, OH, USA
    Posts
    113

    Default Re: First Package Received and Hived! (Long, as usual. )

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    I never smoke a package or a swarm. They need the smells to get organized. I would smoke an established colony, though...
    And that makes sense to me, Michael.

    With the package I certainly didn't feel a need for it, and off the top of my head I can't think of where I might have read anything about having the smoker handy when hiving a package. I've taken in a heck of a lot of information about beekeeping (including all of your three-volumes-in-one book ) over the past few months. I think that having had the idea of having the smoker lit when working with the bees emphasised in some of my reading and in beekeeping class resulted in my suddenly realizing after it was done that we were out there working with bees without a smoker. All I know for sure is that when I was getting together the items needed to hive a package the smoker never crossed my mind, so I must have absorbed the right information along the way!

    Cheers,
    Tom

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lucasville, OH, USA
    Posts
    113

    Default Re: First Package Received and Hived! (Long, as usual. )

    Thanks for the feedback on what worked for those two instances with the follower board, Colleen and Harley! I'll keep both in mind as we go forward.

    Cheers,
    Tom

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Casper, Wyoming
    Posts
    146

    Default Re: First Package Received and Hived! (Long, as usual. )

    Quote Originally Posted by Colleen O. View Post
    My bees were getting past my solid follower too and then would get trapped on the other side and die. I also noticed when I was fighting pests the pest larva were hiding from the bees between the side wall and the follower with the hole in it. I ended up making a new follower that had beespace on the sides and bottom. So far that has been working great - the bees can get to the feeder and the pests lost a hideout.!

    So do both your followers have free space around them for the bees to traverse?

    Hank

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: First Package Received and Hived! (Long, as usual. )

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverbackotter View Post
    So do both your followers have free space around them for the bees to traverse?

    Hank
    No they don't. I removed the solid follower and just have the beespace one in the hive. I didn't find the solid one necessary after I moved the entrances to the upper end of the side. I am keeping it just in case I need to divide the hive and have a nuc at one end but since it doesn't fit perfect I would really hesitate to do that. At first it fit perfect but it kept warping and I had to keep trimming it, etc... more trouble than it was worth. The bees seem to be fine with the beespace one.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lucasville, OH, USA
    Posts
    113

    Default An Update Re: First Package Received and Hived! (Long, as usual. )

    As you might expect, I went out to check on the activity around the hive as soon as I got home from work this evening. There didn't seem to be a lot of activity around the hive; some bees buzzing around the entrance, a few coming and going. I went around the back of the hive and opened the observation window because, you know, I just couldn't resist peeking in!

    Inside I found that both feed bottles were down by about a third (and with fairly equal levels, too.) Even better, an inverted shark-fin shaped comb extending down at least six inches! Woohoo! I tried to take a photo, but one thing that hadn't occurred to us when getting ready to hive the package was to dust the inside of the window after the hive had sat out there empty for a month or so. Here's a poor photo, but the best I have for now. The comb can be seen just beyond the flashlight in the photo:



    Lovely!

    Here's another lousy photo.



    One down side to having observation windows in the side of a Kenyan TBH: you have to get down lower than the window to see up into it. Not so easy for some of us! But worth the effort.

    Cheers,
    Tom

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lucasville, OH, USA
    Posts
    113

    Default Day Two Re: First Package Received and Hived! (Long, as usual. )

    Checked on the bees when I arrived at home. They’ve taken more syrup, but not near what they took the first day—must be out foraging already. It looks like they’ve got at least four bars of comb going; saw festooning on the nearest one. Very cool! Tomorrow I plan on opening up the hive above the feeder and removing the queen cage and giving the inside of the window a wipe to clear up my view inside.

    Well, after I typed the last sentence I went back out to the hive with the idea of opening up a bar above the feeder and lower the camera lens part of my iPhone into the hive and take a couple of pictures. I went out and raised the lid, and then did as planned. The bees weren’t bothered in the least. I moved over and opened up three bars, then slowly reached in and removed the queen cage, which had several bees on it and at least one inside. I saw bees coming out from under the feeder so I know they were still using it. I took a number of photos, and noticed a comb about 4 inches long and maybe up to 2 inches wide in a stretched oval shape on the floor of the hive. It had some bees on it. I slowly reached in and lifted it out. In the meantime, bees are coming up and flying out from time to time. I did make an effort to try to attach it to one of the bars, but gave it up as probably not worth the effort as it probably wouldn’t stay on so I brought it into the house with me.

    I did take out my handkerchief and wiped the inside of the window.

    I may be foolhardy, or be over confident, but I did all this without any gear on—no jacket, gloves, or veil. I simply keep my moves measured, listened to the bees (who were really very quiet) and kept calm even when I felt a bee in my hair. When I could, I bent down and pulled some long grass and brushed the bee out of my hair. (It’s not very long or thick these days.)

    Yes, I will be wearing the jacket and veil when I opt to lift out the bars with combs on them

    For hive notes, this started around 8 PM, temperature 75 degrees, partly cloudy.

    Photos!






    I just realized that they've removed all the dead bees that dropped in with them when they were dumped into the hive! There aren't any dead bees on the floor of the hive.



    Cheers,
    Tom

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    East Lansing Michigan USA
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: Day Two Re: First Package Received and Hived! (Long, as usual. )

    I'm expecting my first package in a week, your posts give me a good idea of what's to come...

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lucasville, OH, USA
    Posts
    113

    Default Re: Day Two Re: First Package Received and Hived! (Long, as usual. )

    May 16, 2013

    Went out to check on the bees and see how they are doing. It’s been 18 days since they were hived. We’ve not had a repeat of finding a bunch of dead bees on the floor, so that’s a good thing. The colony population has dropped quite a bit, but we realize that is going to happen when you don’t have brood emerging during the first three weeks. We’ve never found the queen, but we haven’t looked all that seriously for her. Didn’t think we needed to as the bees are happy and we now have lots of capped brood! We expect a population explosion next week!

    The bees are still taking syrup. I think that they’ll be able to start capping honey in a few days as well.







    Look at that almost solid wall of brood! We may not have seen her since we hived her, but that queen is doing great!

    Other notes: When I opened the top I found in the non-used side of the hive some of those very large black ants. We got them out, but they were back soon after we closed the hive.

    We’ve had a problem with our hives rocking back when we opened the lid. I purchased some pre-made wood shims and inserted them between the tops of the stand legs and the hive. I had considered securing the hive to the stand, but I like this better.

    I’m going out of town tomorrow. I’m looking forward to coming home next week to a larger colony!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Montgomery County, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Day Two Re: First Package Received and Hived! (Long, as usual. )

    Tom,
    Great information and photos. I am outside of Dayton, OH. I started my first hive with a package this week. I hived the bees without issue Tuesday night the 14th and they seem to be doing fine. I will be pulling the queen cage tonight. Thanks for posting all this great stuff!
    -John

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,421

    Default Re: Day Two Re: First Package Received and Hived! (Long, as usual. )

    I love the hive tool. Did you make that yourself?

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