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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Georgetown, KY, USA
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    16

    Default Inadvertent Package Install Experiment

    Hello all - new BEEK here.

    Built out two TBH based on an ideas gleaned from various forums and installed a package in each today...

    First, the hives:

    20130406_085936_zps43116860.jpg

    Screened bottom but with two hinged panels - plan to keep it closed except for cleaning or observation:

    20130406_090016_zps54529427.jpg

    32 bars, 18.5" inch - cedar - ridged as shown:

    20130406_090141_zps385dfb2e.jpg

    End top periscope entrance, 1"x6". One on each end but far end is blocked until needed.

    20130406_090257_zps771e010d.jpg

    Cedar board mounted at angle as landing board. White board above it is the periscope cover:

    20130406_090241_zps06e51510.jpg

    So far, so good (or if not, do tell!).

    Now - where the inadvertent experiment started...

    Picked up the two packages this morning... the seller noticed one of the queens was dead so he gave me a replacement queen for the package (set it on top of the box).

    Once home, I suited up and installed the first package... the one with the replacement queen on top...
    - removed the syrup
    - rapped the box a few times
    - poured out the bees.
    - popped off the replacement queen's cork and set her on top of ball of bees
    - replaced the bars and closed the roof



    At this point I was feeling pretty good (maybe even smug) and moved on to the second box.

    Did the same with the second box/hive - but paused a moment before popping the queen's cork to note if she was marked... that's when I noticed that she was in fact quite dead.

    But she wasn't supposed to be, the queen in box one should have been!

    Post haste I retrieved the now mostly empty box one and removed the queen cage which I hadn't even looked at since I assumed (there it is) that she was dead and of course she was very much alive.

    So somehow the replacement queen ended up on the box with the live queen, not the dead one, and I had failed to notice (and may well have done it myself).

    This all took but a few seconds... as I am standing there in whirlwind of bees - one closed hived with a replacement queen - one with a dead one... and me holding the live queen that should have gone in the aforementioned closed first hive.

    The idea of trying to reopen hive 1 and hunt for the replacement queen I had released and swap her with the queen that had been in their package crossed my mind... but only for a second as I looked at the open ball of bees in hive 2 that had no queen and no great reason to stick around at present... so into hive 2 went the queen from box 1 and back on went the bars.





    MSPaint diagram of epic fail:

    bee_install_zps2d421a13.jpg


    Off I skulked wondering what the bees would make of their new homes and the inadvertent round of "musical queens".

    Both hives were pretty hot for the next few hours... I kept eyeballing them from a distance.

    Logically I figured worst case scenario (shy of all the girls up and leaving completely) was that the bee's in hive 1 would catch wind of their more familiar queen in hive 2 and rally to her there... but after 4 hours or so hive 1 had all the bustle and hive 2 was very quiet by comparison. So much for my logic.

    And that is where things now sit... waiting for day break tomorrow to see what has transpired...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Harrisonburg Va
    Posts
    172

    Default Re: Inadvertent Package Install Experiment

    What's done is done...i'd wait a few days ...let them settle down...don't know much about tbh's...and just alittle about bees......tough to do a combine with a tbh I would think...wait for better replies

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Posts
    363

    Default Re: Inadvertent Package Install Experiment

    Wouldn't worry too much. My only worry would be they may kill the queens since you released them directly (sounds like what you did) w/out a getting aquatinted period. That's why the queen cages have candy at one end. By the time the bees chew through and let the queen out they are used to her scent and consider her their own (usually takes 2-3 days to release her).

    Check in a week or so for eggs.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Litchfield, CT, USA
    Posts
    430

    Default Re: Inadvertent Package Install Experiment

    Yeah I am not sure what is going on. I have read a few threads lately where the queen was being directly released and the beekeeper is either concerned with that process or did not know that is a bad practice. She definitely needs time to fit in...although she has spent some time with them prior to the install. Sometimes it takes sometimes it doesn't. Always ere on the side of caution and let the bees do the releasing. Hope it all works out for ya though.

    P.S. Nice looking Top bars!
    "Someday we will look back and realize someone was right...and conveniently forget we were the ones that were wrong."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,320

    Default Re: Inadvertent Package Install Experiment

    It sounds like you direct-released an unfamiliar queen into each group of bees. You may wind up with two groups of queenless bees and two dead queens, or somehow each group of bees may accept the queens they were given. One result is more likely than the other, but both are possibilities.

    Your "pivot" point was directly releasing the replacement queen to the group of bees you thought were traveling with a dead queen. Even if those bees had been queenless it would be quite risky to direct-release an unfamiliar queen to them. The direct-release technique is usually reserved for a queen that has been riding with and thereby exposed to the bees for several days before being released to them.

    Then, if you also direct-released the second unfamiliar queen to the second group of bees, also, you have doubled your chances of losing at least one of these queens. I hope you keep us updated on your progress. I am hoping that you beat the odds and both colonies accept the queens you've given them and establish well.

    Queenless bees rarely make much comb, so that could be an indicator of their situations, for you - vs - having to sort through clusters of bees looking for queens. Also, queenless bees often make a mournful, sad, sound, if you listen closely (I'm not kidding). You would need to put your ear to the hive to hear it well.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,574

    Default Re: Inadvertent Package Install Experiment

    Dead queens in.their cage in the package often indicate the presence of another queen...virgin or mated.

    Deknow
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
    -Felicity Jones in "Chalet Girl"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
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    1,256

    Default Re: Inadvertent Package Install Experiment

    There are actually numerous plausible scenarios that may come about.

    The bees who had the unfamiliar queen trusted upon them will probably ball the queen and she will be dead. Especially since there was another queen present at the time. It would have been the hormones of the ruling monarch they would have been governing the hive, even though she was caged. The queen that was placed in the queen less hive may have a chance and a good one if you did not just dump her in but left her in the cage for the bees to release. However since that hive was the one with the dead in the cage queen, it is possible that there may already be a queen in that colony that killed the caged queen. It the new queen survives, there is also a possibility that a scout from her original colony may discover his ruler amidst the other hive and bring the hive to her. Which may or may not result in an out and out battle between the two hives. Depending on their genetic proximity. Then again the bees in the first colony may look at life as no more that a swarming of their original hive and grow a new queen. if you provide them with frames with viable eggs. Just to mention a few! But you have now learned the most important thing about beekeeping.
    It is not a hurry up, breeze through, short cut, acronym using type thing! ATTENTION TO DETAIL. A concentrated methodical approach to every aspect is the barest of essentials required to achieve a consistent degree of success and viability.
    Last edited by Tenbears; 04-07-2013 at 10:25 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Greenwood, Indiana
    Posts
    182

    Default Re: Inadvertent Package Install Experiment

    I like EVERYTHING about your hives' design, and I see no room for improvement... great ideas.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Harrisonburg Va
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    172

    Default Re: Inadvertent Package Install Experiment

    I enjoyed the pics..

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Georgetown, KY, USA
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Inadvertent Package Install Experiment

    Quote Originally Posted by dnichols View Post
    Yeah I am not sure what is going on. I have read a few threads lately where the queen was being directly released and the beekeeper is either concerned with that process or did not know that is a bad practice. She definitely needs time to fit in...although she has spent some time with them prior to the install. Sometimes it takes sometimes it doesn't. Always ere on the side of caution and let the bees do the releasing. Hope it all works out for ya though.

    P.S. Nice looking Top bars!
    Thanks for the compliment on the bars.

    The idea for releasing the queen was based on reading a lot of Michael Bush's thoughts on the matter - mostly in context of avoiding cross combing from hanging the queen.

    That said, the sheer stupidity of releasing the queen in the first hive that I knew to be a replacement was utter stupidity on my part alone.

    I spent the last three weeks mentally walking through the installment process and for whatever reason didn't stop to think and readjust the plan when the shop told me the package had a dead queen.

    As for the second queen... I think I just choked when mid-installment I realized I had placed the replacement in the wrong hive - and I just executed the plan I started with without thinking the release aspect through.

    Hate to learn newby lessons at the expense of two packages http://www.beesource.com/forums/imag...lies/frown.gif

    I checked the hives from a short distance several times today.

    This morning around 0800, hive one was pretty busy already while hive two showed very little activity.

    At noon, both were bustling a lot - both seemed a bit frantic in activity, but I don't really have an eye or ear properly calibrated.

    Late afternoon, hive one seemed very busy but very calm - lots of bees coming and going but little frantic flying in front of the hive.

    Hive two at the same time was also very busy, but noticeably more excited and more bees in the air around the entrance.

    Resisting the urge to take a look inside until at least tomorrow night, maybe Tuesday.

    Should I sit tight in general or try and find two new queens sooner than later?



    ETA - and thanks all for both the well deserved admonishments and the compliments on the builds!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
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    363

    Default Re: Inadvertent Package Install Experiment

    Bet the "frantic" activity is just bees orienting to their new home. Will probably see this from time to time for the next few days and then every once in a while once new brood is emerging. All you can do is sit tight for a few days. I'd watch them from the entrance to see if a lot of pollen starts to come in in a few days and also gauge their temperament. If they completely ignore you and go about their business when you are right at the entrance then that is a good sign. Queenless colonies sometimes get a little pissy.

    I'd open them up in a week and look for comb and for eggs in the comb (look at the combs in the middle of the cluster). As soon as I saw some eggs or other brood (like fat larvae or capped pupae) I'd put it back together and leave them alone. If it was the first frame you pulled then you don't need to pull any more. If nothing then order the queens. If one hive is good and the other does not look good then take one frame of eggs and give to the hive w/ no brood. They will quickly raise a new queen if they don't have one. If you are not sure you can see eggs you can wait a little longer (10-14 days) and you should see the first capped pupae by then.

    The longer you wait, the longer before you can get a new queen if needed. If they seem pissy all the time in the next few days you probably need a queen. If the weather stays nice the workers should live for a little bit--though they tend to die more quickly w/out a queen from what I've read.

    Don't worry about the mistakes--dumber ones will be made, trust me. The more I pre-plan the more I seem to screw up. More than likely at least one queen will survive despite what the books say.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Blacksburg, VA
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    423

    Default Re: Inadvertent Package Install Experiment

    Are you seeing any pollen coming in? That is often a sign of happiness with their queen.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Georgetown, KY, USA
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Inadvertent Package Install Experiment

    Quote Originally Posted by JClark View Post
    Bet the "frantic" activity is just bees orienting to their new home. Will probably see this from time to time for the next few days and then every once in a while once new brood is emerging. All you can do is sit tight for a few days. I'd watch them from the entrance to see if a lot of pollen starts to come in in a few days and also gauge their temperament. If they completely ignore you and go about their business when you are right at the entrance then that is a good sign. Queenless colonies sometimes get a little pissy.

    I'd open them up in a week and look for comb and for eggs in the comb (look at the combs in the middle of the cluster). As soon as I saw some eggs or other brood (like fat larvae or capped pupae) I'd put it back together and leave them alone. If it was the first frame you pulled then you don't need to pull any more. If nothing then order the queens. If one hive is good and the other does not look good then take one frame of eggs and give to the hive w/ no brood. They will quickly raise a new queen if they don't have one. If you are not sure you can see eggs you can wait a little longer (10-14 days) and you should see the first capped pupae by then.

    The longer you wait, the longer before you can get a new queen if needed. If they seem pissy all the time in the next few days you probably need a queen. If the weather stays nice the workers should live for a little bit--though they tend to die more quickly w/out a queen from what I've read.

    Don't worry about the mistakes--dumber ones will be made, trust me. The more I pre-plan the more I seem to screw up. More than likely at least one queen will survive despite what the books say.
    Thanks - this is the approach I think I will take.

    They both seemed pretty calm this morning - a lot of coming and going.

    I will check again at midday and hopefully determine if they are indeed bringing in pollen.

    Another question - I put a baggie feeder in each hive when I installed them.

    They are on the hive floor to the rear, adjacent the partition I put in about 12 bars back.

    Should I ignore that for the week too, or pop a few of the back bars to check/replace it?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
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    363

    Default Re: Inadvertent Package Install Experiment

    Quote Originally Posted by Roto View Post
    Should I ignore that for the week too, or pop a few of the back bars to check/replace it?
    You can check that when you like. Just don't want to unnecessarily disrupt what the bees are doing in the cluster--the fresh white wax is fragile too. IF you have a flow on they may not even touch it. Every package I've installed in the spring has never touched the sugar water I offered. We have HUGE spring flows here--just got started 2-3 days ago.

    From my experience it takes the bees a few days before they really start to bring in pollen from a package--like 3-4. Have to make a place to put it first.

  15. #15
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    Mar 2013
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    Georgetown, KY, USA
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    16

    Default Re: Inadvertent Package Install Experiment

    Dupe post, see below
    Last edited by Roto; 04-09-2013 at 06:09 PM.

  16. #16
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    Mar 2013
    Location
    Georgetown, KY, USA
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    16

    Default Re: Inadvertent Package Install Experiment

    Quote Originally Posted by JClark View Post
    You can check that when you like. Just don't want to unnecessarily disrupt what the bees are doing in the cluster--the fresh white wax is fragile too. IF you have a flow on they may not even touch it. Every package I've installed in the spring has never touched the sugar water I offered. We have HUGE spring flows here--just got started 2-3 days ago.

    From my experience it takes the bees a few days before they really start to bring in pollen from a package--like 3-4. Have to make a place to put it first.
    I did take a quick peek in both hives late in the day today.

    Both were pretty calm having me around, which I thought was a good sign.

    I only removed the last bar before the divider long enough to check on the bag feeders and both had been heavily used.

    Not wanting to bother the cluster, I didn't open it up more... but I did snap a quick video - which ended up off center and upside down, but appears to show a good cluster and some comb formation.

    I'll prepare some more syrup and restock them in a couple days.

    Thanks again all for the input!

    Click picture for short video:
    Last edited by Roto; 04-09-2013 at 06:09 PM.

  17. #17
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    Mar 2013
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    Georgetown, KY, USA
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    Default Re: Inadvertent Package Install Experiment

    Well - It's been a week so I inspected both hives mid-day, temps were near 60 and sunny.

    Hive 1, which had been externally showing more activity initially is a disaster. I don't know if calling it dead is appropriate, but it is not far from it. There was only one small stub of comb (3" long) on one bar and a few lines of wax on two other bars. There was a small cluster of bees on the comb, the rest of the bees were massed along one wall... almost zero activity. Few bees even tried to fly, most looked immobile. I did see several hive beetles and there looked like Nosema stains near the entrance.

    Hive 2 was a study in opposites. Hive entrance was very busy and workers were definitely bringing in pollen. There were 4 or 5 bars with significant comb built out and heavy festooning. All were drawn straight and I only removed one to avoid disturbing their current success.

    Is Hive 1 a lost cause? I put in another bag feeder and some bees did come over (walk) to it and show interest. I can't tell if they are too far gone to try moving a bar of comb/brood from the other hive over or not.


    Hive 1 Pic:


    Hive 1 (Sad) Video




    Hive 2 (Healthy) Video

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Gaithersburg, MD
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    363

    Default Re: Inadvertent Package Install Experiment

    Yeah, something doesn't seem right w/ hive 1. Even if queenless they should be moving around and flying--and usually acting more irritated than normal. Almost look like some kind of exposure to something harmful. Those spots are just normal bee poop--nothing bad about that. Bees just didn't fly off to do it. Maybe its severe depression from lack of a queen. Also, you really shouldn't have hive beetles since there is no hive yet so they may have come w/ the package.

    Sometimes I get a few bees clustering outside my hive on the ground that look similar (10 or 20). I just assumed they were infested w/ tracheal/varroa and voluntarily evicted themselves.

    Hive 2 looks like what I'd expect. If you can find a comb w/ eggs and make sure the queen isn't on it I'd put that in there ASAP w/ the bees and all. If they are not affected by something else then this might spark them back to life. If not, then they are probably a lost cause.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Georgetown, KY, USA
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    16

    Default Re: Inadvertent Package Install Experiment

    I went out today expecting to see Hive 1 totally dead and instead it was full of activity.

    I opened it up and found nothing what like I'd captured in the video above. Every non-dead bee was very active and they were festooned on several bars building comb. The bottom board is literally covered in dead bees though, probably close to 15% of the package by looks.

    The only thing I can think of for the change was perhaps they were/are so disorganized that they didn't tolerate the overnight drop the night before (the video) to the high 30s - granted I didn't open the hive until mid-day with temps around 60. I dunno. Today was in the 70s and they were very active.

    I did look in Hive 2 for a donor bar, but despite there being 4 or 5 bars with comb similar to what I showed in the video above, none looked to have capped brood - or at least that I could see. Would 7 days be enough time for it to be capped or should I have been looking closer for open cells w/eggs? I could move a bar tomorrow if that's the case or I may be able to source a queen nearby if need be.

    And a few other beginner question: I think I may have seen the queen on one of the bars in hive 2... are they known to make a distinct noise when agitated? I wasn't positive it was a queen or a large drone, but whichever it was it kept it's eyes on me and beat a distinct hum with it's wings.

    2nd question - when watching the landing board for hive 2, I noticed what I believe were some large drones coming and going - is that a bad sign (as in swarm or absconding)?

    Thanks again for the council!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Georgetown, KY, USA
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    16

    Default Re: Inadvertent Package Install Experiment

    Re: beetles. I did find hive beetles in the emptied package boxes.

    And thanks for clearing up my concern regarding the stains.

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