So I installed two packages this year (first time bee keeper) and I had one package do perfectly and the other completely died in 2 days.
Package 1 (healthy and still thriving)--I installed it early April. It was around 55 degrees but the installation went well and the queen has been strong and great the whole time.
Package 2--I installed it a few weeks later. The day I installed it was the same temp as when I installed the first package but it was rainy on and off the next few days. I did an oxalic acid dribble on both the package and the few week old hive because I saw that Brushy mountain recommended doing to packages because the mites are 100% exposed.
There was NO syrup can in the package and they seemed really sluggish. Here is what I did:
1) I sprayed them with sugar water, but not too heavily because it was slightly cold (55 degrees or so) and I didnít want to hurt them
2) I hung the queen and dumped the package on top of her. Some clustered around her and some fell to the bottom.
3) I placed the package upside down on the frames so the last few could come out when they were ready and placed an empty brood box over it
4) I put on a top feeder on top, added an entrance reducer, and put the cover and lid on.
I noticed that there were a LOT of drones in this package. I donít remember seeing any in my other package, but it was my first, so maybe I didnít notice them. They didnít seem like they had as much energy as the first package either. None of them fanned the hive like the others did and few came out but just flew away or fell off the landing board. I didnít notice any of them coming and going or inspecting the area.
Day 2óchecked the hives. I go and watch several times a day. I noted a few dead on the older hive (six or so) and A TON of dead ones on the new hive. They were clogging the entrance reducer so I took it out and noticed even more behind it. I scooped the dead ones out of the way and saw a few live ones come out. I peeked under the lid to see if they had found the top feeder and they hadnít. I added a drop of lemon grass oil to get them to come up but didnít disturb the girls. I went to watch several times and the old hive had cleared away their dead, but there were more dead in front of the new hive. I assumed the death was due to the rain and stress of being installed.
Day 3óeven more dead on the landing board and when I peeked through the entrance, I noticed piles of them inside. I looked under the lid and saw that there were still no bees around the top feeder and saw through the feeder entrance piles of them dead inside too. I asked my mom what she recommended (she helps me care for them as they are on her property). She wanted to look at what was going on inside. We opened it and they were pretty much all dead, including the queen. A few (maybe a dozen) were still clinging to the package or made feeble movements, but the majority was in a massive pile of bee death.
Most of the dead bees had their tongues out and because they weren't shipped with a syrup can and because they hadn't found the top feeder, I assumed they were starving so I dribbled a bit of sugar water on them and closed them up.
I contacted the guy I got the bees from and he said they died because they were too wet. I know there is no way to 100% say why they died, but I would like to get other's feedback to see if anyone has had a similar problem. I later bought a nuc from this same guy because I wanted to have 2 hives, but this hive has been sluggish and weak. I am going to re-queen it this weekend but that story is here: https://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ient-Beekeeper
You can see that the few live bees in one of the pictures are dry so I don't think they died because they were wet...