Package install right before the snow
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Wheat Ridge, CO, USA
    Posts
    77

    Default Package install right before the snow

    My package arrived yesterday, a day ahead of schedule, which I considered a stroke of luck because there was snow coming in last night. Took a couple hours off work to pick up the package and try to install it... I say "try" because after I took out the syrup can, I found that the queen cage was attached in such a way that I couldn't remove it without reaching way in and possibly squishing a lot of bees in the blind attempt to get a hold of the cage.

    Being pressed for time, I ended up taking out enough frames to put the open package (with queen cage still inside) in the hive, closing it up with an insulated candy board in place of the inner cover, and going reluctantly back to work. The snow started before the work day ended, so I decided not to try to mess with the bees, hoping that they can eat from the candy board and the honey/syrup in the remaining frames (they're full) and keep the queen warm in her cage.

    That was yesterday. It's been snowing all day today, and tonight's low is forecast to be about 27. Tomorrow it's supposed to clear up and reach 54, so I'd like to open it up and try again to get the queen cage out, in hopes that there won't be so many bees inside the package at that time that they'll be endangered by my klutzy hands...

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.....?

    Thanks... Wosiewose

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Riverton Utah
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: Package install right before the snow

    Good luck crazy springtime here too

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    6,134

    Default Re: Package install right before the snow

    Once it warms up a little just get in there and finish the job. You should be fine. I'd get the box out and find the queen...putting her aside temporarily. Shake the rest of the bees out before setting the queen cage in place and re-installing however many frames you need. Feed and go. Should't take more than a couple minutes. If you leave it in place longer, you may get wonky new comb being built here and there so it's good to get the job done.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Aberdeen, Idaho
    Posts
    1,148

    Default Re: Package install right before the snow

    The risk in this is if the cold keeps the bees clustered in the box without feed until they starve.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,536

    Default Re: Package install right before the snow

    Ravenseye wrote:

    putting her aside temporarily.
    You could remove the clinging bees from the outside of the cage and stick it in an interior chest pocket (in a shirt, inside your bee jacket.) to keep her warm while you work. Just remember she's there and don't lift a whole heavy hive against your chest!

    In better weather than you're expecting, I have kept queens in cages just in the chest pocket of my jacket. In colder temps, I'd move them inside one more layer.

    Enj.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Farmington, New Mexico
    Posts
    8,315

    Default Re: Package install right before the snow

    Is this a plastic package with the queen cage suspended by a thin metal strip?
    Here's a pretty good demonstration of hiving one of those plastic packages. That strip has to slide out of the little slot so you can remove the queen cage. I didn't know about opening the end of the package, so I shook them through the hole where the can was like you do with a wooden cage.

    https://www.ohbees.com/pages/tutorials
    Nobody ruins my day without my permission, and I refuse to grant it...

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Wheat Ridge, CO, USA
    Posts
    77

    Default Re: Package install right before the snow

    Thank you!!!!

    Yes, it is a plastic package. What confused me on Friday is that the thin metal strip is hung on one of the slats in the top of the package, with no slot between it and the can opening to slide the strip through. It appears to be one of the "East Coast style" plastic packages, with a rectangular slatted receptacle on top where, in a video I found that explained the two types https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeT26UUtK2Q the queen cage could simply be placed in the receptacle without hanging it inside the package itself (shown at about 1:35 in the video). In my package, the cage wasn't placed in the receptacle but hung inside the package from one of the slats at the bottom of the receptacle. Hope that makes sense...

    Now that I know about the side door, that should help tremendously! It's bright and sunny and 36 degrees right now according to Intellicast, but by the time I get home from church it should warm up some more, and I'll venture to get the snow off the hive that hasn't melted off by then (we got about 5" of wet heavy spring snow, but it's started to melt already) and hopefully finish the installation. The candy board I put in, in place of the inner cover, has a slot for an upper entrance that's protected by the outer cover, so there shouldn't be an airflow problem even if the bottom entrance was blocked by snow. The rest of this week looks good as far as temps - 50s and 60s thru Friday, then 70s next weekend.

    Thank you again!!!!

    Wosiewose

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Wheat Ridge, CO, USA
    Posts
    77

    Default Re: Package install right before the snow

    Update: Temp was near 60 by 3:00, so I went in. Found that the queen cage had fallen to the bottom of the package, but I got the side door open and fished it out. Couldn't see the queen for anything, with the bees all over the cage! They were acting as if they've accepted her, I think - milling around on the cage, not hanging on and biting. Got the cork out and laid the cage on the bottom of the hive, screen side exposed, as I couldn't seem to bend the metal strip to get it to hang between frames. (OK, I'm a wimp.) I could see they'd been eating honey from the frames I'd put in there, and they'd built a piece of burr comb right on the candy board and another inside the package - didn't waste any time! Crossing fingers that the queen release goes okay; I'll check back in a day or two and make sure. The snow has almost completely melted, and I saw some of the bees working the dandelions near the hive (others were pulling out the dead and making orientation flights). Hubby said he saw them drinking the melted snow water. I think they're going to be okay! Thanks to everybody for the advice!!!

    Wosiewose

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