Why did this package die? (Sorry for Long Windedness)
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  1. #1
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    Sad Why did this package die? (Sorry for Long Windedness)

    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...
    IMG_8565.jpgIMG_8541.jpgIMG_8544.jpgIMG_8549.jpgIMG_8539.jpg

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  3. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Why did this package die? (Sorry for Long Windedness)

    The pics above are from days 1 and 2. Here is day three. Sensitive stomachs may want to look away...bees.jpgsad.jpg

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Why did this package die? (Sorry for Long Windedness)

    Many of the bees pictured died with their tongues out. I believe that do be a sign of starvation as well. Not sure why thete was no syrup can in the package. Every package I've ever gotten had 1. Maybe address this with the supplier? Show them the pictures of the bees with tongues out.
    Last edited by trottet1; 06-17-2016 at 10:17 AM.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Why did this package die? (Sorry for Long Windedness)

    Guess only, but they are hungry and cold and it's 55 degrees. You spray them with cold syrup and they just cannot recover. In such circumstances I would carefully spray them with hot syrup, sometimes this can turn a cluster dying of cold around.

    As I say, guess only.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Why did this package die? (Sorry for Long Windedness)

    Why did you spray the bees with syrup when it was 55 F? (Was that the oxalic dribble?) Having the empty space around the package container between them and the feeder in cool weather may have been a barrier for them. In sustained (i.e. not just the day of installation) cool temps it might be better to get the laggard bees out of the package in some other way so you can button the bees up in a smaller, snug, space and with their chow closer at hand.

    But I think the principal damaging factor was the lack of syrup during transport. Where did they come from (not your immediate supplier, but where was the package made up) and how long were they w/o food or water? And in what temps?

    I am sorry your bees died, that must be very discouraging for a new beekeeper. I'm glad your other colony is doing better.

    Enj.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Why did this package die? (Sorry for Long Windedness)

    The part that says, "Installed 2 weeks later"...... Did you get them at the Same time ? 55 degrees is not too bad. Get an umbrella set up to cover them while installing. This is why a Nuc is much easier to install, yet should have gotten it elsewhere.

    Three things this tells me: They starved cause of the delayed install. They need energy to build comb (syrup). And too few bees will not keep them warm enough to do anything but the inevitable . Next time you order bees, DON'T. Go to driftwatch.org and search your local area for beekeepers. They may be willing to sell Nucs and they're already acclimated with your area.
    Honey is the best thing ever discovered ! http://www.greenanything.net/castle-...oney-farm.html

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Why did this package die? (Sorry for Long Windedness)

    Looking at the photo, I tend to agree with the supplier. These bees were wet. I don't see starvation. What kind of top feeder are you using? Could it have leaked and drenched the bees. If they were really starving, they would have had no problem finding the feeder.

  9. #8
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    Apr 2016
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    Default Re: Why did this package die? (Sorry for Long Windedness)

    Thanks everyone for responses.

    Installed 2 weeks later--I installed them the day I picked up the package. I was just noting that the weather wasn't much difference between the two days that the two packages were installed.

    Sprayed them with sugar water--EVERY package installation video I saw used a sugar water spray, so I thought it was a necessary step to the installation. I now know that is only the case if they might bee too buzzy.

    I think the bees originally came from California and I think they were just periodically sprayed with sugar water on their way to Missouri instead of being shipped with a syrup can.

    I'm hoping that this my two hives and two nucs will survive over winter and I won't have to order bees again (fingers crossed).

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Why did this package die? (Sorry for Long Windedness)

    ever see how they make packages ??No wonder why so many die

    https://www.facebook.com/damien.keys...7235181000834/

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Why did this package die? (Sorry for Long Windedness)

    Heard a few bad comments about this video, exactly where is the problem?

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Why did this package die? (Sorry for Long Windedness)

    Quote Originally Posted by niki.nicole View Post
    Thanks everyone for responses.

    Installed 2 weeks later--I installed them the day I picked up the package. I was just noting that the weather wasn't much difference between the two days that the two packages were installed.

    Sprayed them with sugar water--EVERY package installation video I saw used a sugar water spray, so I thought it was a necessary step to the installation. I now know that is only the case if they might bee too buzzy.

    I think the bees originally came from California and I think they were just periodically sprayed with sugar water on their way to Missouri instead of being shipped with a syrup can.

    I'm hoping that this my two hives and two nucs will survive over winter and I won't have to order bees again (fingers crossed).
    Wait.... they did not come with a syrup feeder can in the package? That ridiculous. I think it is the perfect storm scenario is why they perished.
    No food, long trip, weakend bees, sprayed with sugar water at 55 degrees (night temps were what?) and the OA dribble.
    Last edited by Mr.Beeman; 06-27-2016 at 02:11 PM.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Why did this package die? (Sorry for Long Windedness)

    Why in the world weren't they shipped with a syrup feeder? First off I'd push back on the supplier about that. Unacceptable unless they were local.

    Probably would have been better to sprayed them with sugar water at warmer temps. I'd brought them inside a warm garage or house to feed em before taking them outside.

    OA dribble didn't help on top of it.

    Personally, the person who made the packages of bees made it more likely the bees are going to die by not providing feed for them.

    Are their any laws about transporting packages of bees and feeding them?

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Why did this package die? (Sorry for Long Windedness)

    You folks bemoaning the lack of a syrup can in the bee package should be aware of this, per UPS ...

    Live Bee Food Supply Requirements:

    The use of liquid food supplies is strictly prohibited (i.e.: sugar water and syrup solution). If a food supply is necessary it must be "hard candy" type substitute (i.e.: candy board or fondant) that will not leak or escape from the package.

    https://www.ups.com/animals
    Note that the ONLY way UPS will accept bees for shipment is via a service level that guarantees delivery the NEXT DAY. (That is next "calendar" day, not next "business" day.)

    So even without any kind of food in the package box, if bees are shaken the same day they are shipped, they should be able to be installed close to 24 hours after being shaken into the package box.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Why did this package die? (Sorry for Long Windedness)

    Starving bees chilled by cold syrup equal dead colony.
    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Guess only, but they are hungry and cold and it's 55 degrees. You spray them with cold syrup and they just cannot recover. In such circumstances I would carefully spray them with hot syrup, sometimes this can turn a cluster dying of cold around.

    As I say, guess only.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Why did this package die? (Sorry for Long Windedness)

    Doesn't an OA treatment have toxic potential even under normal/good conditions? If so, that would've been the last thing to do under the lousy conditions described. "Perfect storm" is right.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Why did this package die? (Sorry for Long Windedness)

    Thanks again for everyone's reply. I think the most frustrating thing was that the guy I got it from assumed I was a complete idiot. I know I'm new, but he assumed that I had used an old cleaner spray bottle that at one time would have had toxic chemicals in it. I felt bad enough as it was, I didn't need him to try to weasel out of all blame. I overheard him talking to someone else though whose packages (bought from him) also died. It was also frustrating that I installed my first package in EXACTLY the same conditions and EXACTLY the same way, implying that something must have been wrong with the bees to begin with.

    So note to self: if it doesn't have a syrup can, don't buy it and don't spray them if it is coldish.

    Also, the queen was shipped separately from packages (all the queens came in a box of EZ-BZ cages and were not suspended in the packages). Is that normal? I didn't like it because they could have gotten used to her scent on the way over which meant that I had to leave her in her cage rather than immediately released her where she could have maybe had a better chance.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Why did this package die? (Sorry for Long Windedness)

    The answer leith in the question?

    Too many drones in a package will drink all the syrup.
    Talk about getting the bottom of the barrel in bees! If the queens where separate then they where likey infertile.
    Like I've said earlier, find a mentor in your area through driftwatch.org . 🤔 Call your Credit card and dispute the entire order to get their attention? Always pay w/ CC when u r not sure....

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Why did this package die? (Sorry for Long Windedness)

    Quote Originally Posted by niki.nicole View Post
    So note to self: if it doesn't have a syrup can, don't buy it and don't spray them if it is coldish.
    I'd like to add to that, packages without syrup will get more common now because of postal restrictions. I make packages for my own use that don't have syrup or any feed at all and they are good for 24 hours then dead bees start building up on the bottom and the live bees are listless.

    But no need to reject a package with no syrup long as there are not too many dead bees on the bottom. first thing is to get some feed into those bees, ie, spray some sugar water on them but if conditions are cold use hot syrup, that's what I do when I know cold syrup would likely finish them. The heat of the syrup revives the bees and enables them to feed, which in turn enables them to generate their own warmth. Hour or two after this has been done and the bees are in good spirits they are ready for a normal install, which may include them getting another spray. Always if putting water, or syrup, on cold bees I use the water or syrup as warm as the bees can take, makes a huge difference on a cold day.

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