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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
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    2,608

    Default Feral (cutout) and packaged bees.

    Every year my kids and wife purchase two packages of bees for my Christmas gift. I hived them back on May 4th.
    I also have the opportunity to perform cutouts throughout the spring and summer.
    My packages have been queenright since the hiving and still have the original queen.
    I performed a cutout on June 28 and hived them the same day.

    I just checked on the honey situation on the three hives.
    My packages had roughly 2-3 frames of capped honey each, while the one cutout had 2 medium supers (10 frame) full of capped honey for a total of 20 frames.
    Just for curiosity sake, I checked the farmhouse cutout (hived the 5th of July) as well for honey stores.
    They had just under 15 medium frames of capped honey.
    All hives are queenright.

    Like I stated before, my belief is that packaged bees are lazy. lol
    Anyone else come across the same situation?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Clarendon County, SC, USA
    Posts
    158

    Default Re: Feral (cutout) and packaged bees.

    You said the kids and wife give you two packages every year. Do you try to over winter, or just shake them out?
    Did the cutout get drawn comb from the cutout and the packages have to build all theirs? Packages and/or cutout fed or not at all? One foundation vs foundationless?
    If everything is equal, I'd say they are less productive and I'd say you should try to overwinter the cutout and possibly raise some splits/queens. If not, your comparing apples to oranges and its an unfair comparison.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,608

    Default Re: Feral (cutout) and packaged bees.

    Same across the board for both the packages and cutouts. I do not feed.

    Not many beekeepers here in the north overwintered well last winter. I try to overwinter, but sometimes mother nature has different plans.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,842

    Default Re: Feral (cutout) and packaged bees.

    Mr Beeman.. your assumption about lazy bees may very well be correct, but, I think it has more to do with the bees you receive in the packages. (As a disclosure, I am not a fan of package bees. I would much, much, rather have a cutout, swarm, split, or nuc than package bees).

    Package bees are normally shook from multiple hives and you do not get the same mix of bees you get from an established source, (a cutout) and certainly not the mix you get from a swarm that you catch on the same day that you started a package. A swarm caught on 4 may or a cutout started on 4 May, will outdistance a package started on 4 may in short order. Even if you give the two different colonies the same type box, combs etc.

    Several reasons,

    1. The package bees have no allegiance to the caged queen that comes with them, until she starts to lay. It takes several days for the package bees to go to work with their new queen.

    2. It takes the package queen several days to start laying. 3. If your package contains a large number of field bees, shook from several hives, you do not have the housekeepers, cleaners, nurse bees, etc needed to kick start the new package. And, you will not get them until you have emerging bees from the new queen. Consequently, unless you have drawn comb, already relatively clean, you may have lots of bees hanging on the hives because there is no place to store pollen and nectar, so, the field bees have no job until storage facilities are completed. This is especially true if using foundation. There is no place to store pollen for brood, or nectar for honey, until the combs are prepared. Cutout bees, swarms, are both, ready to go to work immediately.

    Lazy bees, maybe. Wrong mix of bees and time lapse for queen to get started more likely.

    Mr Beeman, I know you already know this, just thought some new beekeepers might not, and, it might help to explain the situation to them.

    cchoganjr

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,608

    Default Re: Feral (cutout) and packaged bees.

    Cleo... always a good read when you chime in. Thank you.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,842

    Default Re: Feral (cutout) and packaged bees.

    Mr Beeman.... Posts, and observations like yours, can be a real aid to new beekeepers, especially when people share their observations and conclusions. Thank You.

    Kinda slow in the bee yards today. Getting ready to move some into pumpkin patches, but, not much going on right now in Kentucky. Beautiful, cool, weather, not a lot blooming. Golden rod is getting ready to burst open.

    cchoganjr

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,212

    Default Re: Feral (cutout) and packaged bees.

    Leaving the issues of local bees being naturally selected to survive in your climate... Let's talk about swarms vs packages. It's a bit of anthropomorphism, but a useful comparison I think... Dean Stiglitz said something to the effect of this:

    The difference between a swarm and a package is something like this. The swarm is like you and your friends decided to move to the country and start an organic farm and raise your own food. A package is like you and a bunch of strangers were on a bus and it broke down a thousand miles from anywhere and you and your fellow bus riders have to start raising your own food or you will starve...

    There is a big difference in attitude and motivation between a package and a swarm.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,842

    Default Re: Feral (cutout) and packaged bees.

    Thanks Michael... but, I am having difficulty understanding your analogy. Help me please.

    Are you saying a package is more motivated, because they have to "start raising their own food or starve", therefore it will out perform a swarm??? No doubt survival is a great motivator, but I would think that results at the end of the year would favor those who went to the country with the necessary tools and knowledge to prepare for Winter. They can forego the learning curve, they already know what to do, and can start doing it immediately.

    Thanks.

    cchoganjr

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Iowa
    Posts
    647

    Default Re: Feral (cutout) and packaged bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cleo C. Hogan Jr View Post
    Thanks Michael... but, I am having difficulty understanding your analogy. Help me please.

    Are you saying a package is more motivated, because they have to "start raising their own food or starve", therefore it will out perform a swarm??? No doubt survival is a great motivator, but I would think that results at the end of the year would favor those who went to the country with the necessary tools and knowledge to prepare for Winter. They can forego the learning curve, they already know what to do, and can start doing it immediately.

    Thanks.

    cchoganjr
    He's saying a swarm is more organized and purpose built with a plan and theoretically a bit more in tune with the area they find themselves compared to bees from Georgia trying to make it in New York.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,212

    Default Re: Feral (cutout) and packaged bees.

    >>Are you saying a package is more motivated, because they have to "start raising their own food or starve", therefore it will out perform a swarm???
    >He's saying a swarm is more organized and purpose built with a plan and theoretically a bit more in tune with the area they find themselves compared to bees from Georgia trying to make it in New York.

    I'm saying the swarm has a focus and a purpose and a plan. A package is just some random bees trying to sort what to do now that they are homeless. They both end up with the same plan in the end, but one is prepared for it and the other had it thrust on them. The swarm is in the natural order of things. The package finds itself in an emergency and has to make do.
    Last edited by Michael Bush; 08-01-2014 at 10:30 AM. Reason: fixing the autocorrect that "fixed" what I typed...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,842

    Default Re: Feral (cutout) and packaged bees.

    jwcarlson...thanks... As I read the remarks taken from Dean Stiglitz, I thought he was saying a package would outperform a swarm, because, of motivation to survive.

    Mr Beeman, in the original post on this subject ( which I realize was a cutout, not swarms) he was talking about how much better his cutout bees were doing compared to package bees, and, one of the cutouts was two weeks later. But, there are so many variables in comparing performance it would be difficult to generalize in such a small sample of bees. My experience has been that when equal size, time of year, location, and all the other variables you can standardize are utilized, a package will not out perform a cutout, swarm, nuc, or split, (in the first year). Just my observations, not difinative or scientific. Might not work every time. Then, couple that with my inability to write, what I am thinking, and duuuuh.

    Thanks Michael. Guess I was typing while you answered my question.

    cchoganjr

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