Anyone ever install packages in cold or snow?
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 21
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Louisville Kentucky USA
    Posts
    459

    Default Anyone ever install packages in cold or snow?

    I have a bunch of package bees showing up on Sunday and the forcast here is cold and 1-4 inches of snow. The rest of the week isn't any better with temps in the 40's as highs and the 20's as lows. My plan is to set the package inside on the frames and put another empty brood box around it. I also plan on putting a jar of syrup in there on the frames.Any other suggestions?

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Medford, Oregon
    Posts
    5,083

    Default Re: Anyone ever install packages in cold or snow?

    I haven't personally done it, but I have heard of it on a number of occasions.

    If I were you, I wouldn't worry too much. Make sure the bees have close access to the syrup. They won't be keeping brood warm so that's not an issue. And they will be in a pretty much contiguous ball, better for heat loss.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montgomery County, NY
    Posts
    2,420

    Default Re: Anyone ever install packages in cold or snow?

    I read an article in the ABJ once that talked about installing packages with snow on the ground. Besides feeding them the article talked about plaved a piece of newspaper atop of the package after shaking them into the box (i guess for added warmth) but apparently this was done with no real issues.

    Best of luck with installing your packages. Let us know how it goes.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,569

    Default Re: Anyone ever install packages in cold or snow?

    Hemi, I think I saw Michael Bush say warm the syrup to help them take it down. I would think room temperature would be enough.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    10,857

    Default Re: Anyone ever install packages in cold or snow?

    Internal brood nest temperature is maintained at 94 degrees. I'd warm the syrup to about 100 degrees before putting it in.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    7,817

    Default Re: Anyone ever install packages in cold or snow?

    Leaving the package box inside usually results in a disaster with comb built in and around it and an unholy mess. I would warm the syrup as suggested. If you have even one frame of drawn comb for each, it would help immensely and I would spray it full of heavy syrup and hang your queen cage on it. You have time to dump a 25 pound bag of sugar and a little water in a turkey fry and stir it constantly til it gets to 239 degrees and make fondant or let it harden on the thick side of an inner cover if you use them. Personally I would make 3 inch feeder rims and put that syrup in zip loc baggies, warm of course. I had a 125 packages come with six inches of snow on the Ground on May 3rd once and you have my sympathy.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Pahrump, NV
    Posts
    771

    Default Re: Anyone ever install packages in cold or snow?

    How long can a package stay in a warm garage or a warm area while the weather gets better?

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    2,465

    Default Re: Anyone ever install packages in cold or snow?

    There are several threads running about the cold, check those out. How long they can keep in the package is mostly how long have they already been packaged. Too long and they will wax up. I have been told that a week is no problem even after shipping to Maine.
    Make sure they are dry and not dripped on from packages above during shipping. Should be fuzzy. Comb or foundation a major difference. 40's not bad, lower 30's not bad at night. Sustained 20's begins to stretch it but it is not impossible. a frost is almost normal in the first week.
    Open your hives and turn them injto sun for several hours before install. Block the wind if open area.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Spencer, MA, USA
    Posts
    2,862

    Default Re: Anyone ever install packages in cold or snow?

    I installed several packages four years ago in a snowstorm... put syrup jars over the top bars, stuck a deep around them with insulation around the jars. Bees kept the syrup warm enough to use and all survived and built up fine.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Posts
    161

    Default Re: Anyone ever install packages in cold or snow?

    So you get all the bees, I'd suggest removing the small nails that hold the screen on instead of going the traditional method of removing the sugar syrup. This will allow you to get every last bee and you won't have to leave the container inside to get the stragglers. If you don't care about a cage deposit, just use a very sharp blade to cut off the screen.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    6,119

    Default Re: Anyone ever install packages in cold or snow?

    I've hived bees in the snow (snowing as I installed the packages) before. A few times. I don't spray with syrup, dump them fast and button them up. I don't like to have a lot of bees in the air so I don't take my time...I just get it done. Not really a problem at all. I wouldn't do it in an out and out storm, mainly because of the wind but hiving in a light snowfall isn't a real issue.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Louisville Kentucky USA
    Posts
    459

    Default Re: Anyone ever install packages in cold or snow?

    Thanks to everyone, a lot of good info and since there are several other threads going its something that a lot of folks are dealing with this year. In this case though, I got some good news today. They said it was raining where they were and they couldn't shake the bees till it stopped so they moved me back to next Wed. and the forcast for Wed/Thurs. is in the high 40's with no rain or snow which is a whole different ball game.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    4,165

    Default Re: Anyone ever install packages in cold or snow?

    You did not state if this is an out yard, or by your home, If by your home, it would be safe to pull the feed can and queen, expose the candy, and set the package over the queen cage(on the top bars), IF you check on them frequently, and pull the package out in a few days or less. The close you keep an eye on them, the more risks you can take.

    Crazy Roland

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Louisville Kentucky USA
    Posts
    459

    Default Re: Anyone ever install packages in cold or snow?

    I have a lot of out yards but I pulled all my equipment back here to install the bees so I can feed them easier without as much driving. I have installed a lot of packages like that but never in freezing weather. I always come within 2 days and remove the cage and throw an inner cover on it so I can feed with jars. I prefer doing it that way because shaking them causes too much drift. But I got a reprieve on the freezing weather and now I only have to deal with cool weather which don't worry me as much. Yesterdays high here was 38 degrees and out of the 9 hives in my yard one of them was flying and collecting pollen. The rest were holed up tight and didn't even come out when I tapped the hive. So I am not worried about putting the packages in during 40 degree weather.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Aberdeen, Idaho
    Posts
    1,148

    Default Re: Anyone ever install packages in cold or snow?

    Several years ago our bee group hived packages in cold snowy weather. Most were dismal failures. The members that waited a couple of days and kept the packages in the garage or basement had a much better success rate. Make sure the can has syrup in it.
    Good Luck
    Dave

  17. #16

    Default Re: Anyone ever install packages in cold or snow?

    One year I shook packages when it was in the low 30's out. I had drawn comb with some honey stores, which probably really helped. The bees did fine,and all was well when it warmed back up.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Louisville Kentucky USA
    Posts
    459

    Default Re: Anyone ever install packages in cold or snow?

    That's why I pulled all of my equipment back here so I could get all of the drawn comb for the new bees.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,922

    Default Re: Anyone ever install packages in cold or snow?

    If you put a jar on the top bars and you leave excess room in the box above, the cluster will move up into the top box and draw comb there... I would put #8 hardware cloth on top of the inner cover hole and put the jar on top of that and make sure the bees can't get into the top box.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Baltimore County, MD, USA
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: Anyone ever install packages in cold or snow?

    Here's another reason I love top bar hives: lots of room to be creative. This time last year in Northern Maryland the Forsithia were in full bloom and the wife had already cut the grass. This year is 2-3 weeks behind schedule with overnight lows still in the 20s but the package bees arrived on schedule 2 days ago (16 Apr). I installed 10 brood bars in my hive, then an in-hive 3-quart syrup dispenser, then the divider. On the empty side of the hive I put a 60W light bulb with a thermostat set to 75 deg. This is the same setup I use for making yogurt. I waited until early evening when the temp peaked into the high 50s to install the package and direct released the queen. After 2 days, the bees are doing great and are starting to build comb.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,922

    Default Re: Anyone ever install packages in cold or snow?

    >Here's another reason I love top bar hives: lots of room to be creative.

    There is actually a lot of room to be creative in any kind of hive, it's not that you have more or less constraints, but you have different ones In a top bar hive I find the lack of gaps a frustrating constraint when trying to feed.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •