Package installation in cooler weather
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Claybank, Saskatchewan, Canada
    Posts
    5

    Default Package installation in cooler weather

    I could really use some help. I have just ordered a package of bees to install in my new Warre Hive. They should be arriving around the middle of April. I live in central Canada and while the weather may be fine it also may be quite cool so I thought I would be "prepared" and ask if there would be anything different I should do if the weather was cooler when they arrived. Thanks in advance. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Claybank, Saskatchewan, Canada
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Package installation in cooler weather

    Perhaps my question is a bit too general.
    My main concern is making sure the queen stays warm until she is released from her cage. So, can I just place her on top of the bars on the bottom box and shake the bees on top of her or is there something different that I need to do? Are they going to gather around the queen to keep her warm or are they going to bunch together on the bars of the second box to keep warm themselves in which case the queen probably won't survive.
    Or maybe I shouldn't put the bars on the second box so they will be more likely to stay in the first box

    Anyway, as I am sure you can tell, I am new to this so any help certainly would be appreciated.

    Thanks again.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    2,755

    Default Re: Package installation in cooler weather

    You are going to need to suspend the queen from one of the topbars. The bees will naturally cluster around her cage then and begin building comb where she is at. make sure you unplug the cork from the candy end of the queen cage so they can begin to chew through it to release her. Return to check on her in 3-5 days and remove the queen cage. If you don't remove the cage, the combs are going to be off kilter. I always bring a steak knife with me to the hive as I usually need to carve the cage out of the butter soft comb. After the cage is out of the hive, then you can leave them alone for 7-10 days before checking on them again. Make sure to correct any cross combing that might have gotten started. Just press it back onto the comb guides if it is not in line.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Claybank, Saskatchewan, Canada
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Package installation in cooler weather

    Thanks ruthiesbees.

    I never thought of hanging the cage from the topbar. I think that should work out just fine.

    I must admit that I am a bit worried. We are getting more heavy winds and about 6 inches of snow tonight. However the bees should not come until mid to later April at which time I am hoping Spring and everything else will be in full bloom

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Posts
    1,067

    Default Re: Package installation in cooler weather

    They'll be alright, just keep them fed. Put the package feed can upside down on a couple of sticks over the topbars, put a box over it, and then the lid. They may build a little comb, no big deal. If you need more feed and you don't have a feeder then put 1-1/2 cups of sugar in a pint mason jar, add hot water to make a pint. Poke a few small holes in the lid with a thumb tack, and after it cools to around 35 (95F) or cooler put it in just like you did with the can. Don't put in really cold syrup, the bees won't take it. You can fit a couple of pint jars in a Warre box. This is just to hold them and let them start building comb until it warms up a bit.
    Zone 5B

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Claybank, Saskatchewan, Canada
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Package installation in cooler weather

    Thanks JConnolly for the positive thoughts. I sometimes worry too much, forgetting the bees have been doing a great job for a very long time. I probably will need to feed them for a bit as the snow does not seem to want to disappear. While I don't have any beekeepers close to me it is nice to be able to get help on this forum when I have questions.
    Thanks again.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,684

    Default Re: Package installation in cooler weather

    The downside of installing in the cold is that you will need to warm the syrup once a day to keep them going. The upside is that they will drift very little if at all. I would direct release the queen. If it is a California cage, you just pop the one and only cork and lay it on the bottom on top of the bees you just dumped in. If it is a candy cage you open the cork on the end without the candy and do the same.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beespackages.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Claybank, Saskatchewan, Canada
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Package installation in cooler weather

    Thanks Michael. As you mention at the end of your post "everything works if you let it."
    As with anything else there is always a good side and a not so good side. May as well do what you can to make the good work .
    Keeping the syrup warm is not really a problem since there is only one package so it would be easy to one feeder warm in the house while they are using another and then alternate each day.

    Just want to say again - thanks for all the responses. As is usually the case, the worst part is waiting. If I knew what I was doing it wouldn't be so bad. However thanks to the replies I do have a plan now so I feel a whole bunch better.

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