last update - difficult queen install
this will probably be the last update and query about my situation. It appears my replacement queen is arriving this afternoon.
recap: I picked up a package Sunday and when I got home the queen was dead in cage. I went ahead and dumped the package bees in the hive (in retrospect, might have held off on that). I attached the queen cage with dead queen to a foundation less frame and put it in the hive. The supplier said he would send a replacement queen.
the hive: is a deep horizontal, ala Lazutin, so it is 17" wide by 33" long and 22" deep with deep foundation less frames (Frame dimenions 14" by 19"). I had placed a follower board in the middle of the hive, and dumped the bees on the side with the entrance and I put a tin can feeder from the package on the other side of the follower board. (This morning I placed a larger feeder on the non-entrance side of the follower board). Sunday night I placed a screen over the entrance hole to keep them from leaving, as I was pretty sure they would just go to the hive next door, which has a viable queen. The entrance hole is about a third of the way up from the bottom of the hive on the east side of the hive, but very close to the south end of the hive.
the bees: I haven't opened up the side of the hive by the entrance, because well, they would just come out and it would be really hard to get them back in. I am able to indirectly verify that they are alive by the heat signatures detected by a thermal camera. The reading is hottest in the upper southwest corner of the hive. Also, this morning there was a small cluster of bees UNDERNEATH the tin can feeder. I would guess less than a hundred.
the weather: has been in the high 30s, low 40s at night. During the day no higher than 60 degrees.
So, I'm going to describe what I plan to do and please please let me know if any of it is stupid or you would do it differently, because I'm just making it up right now.
I believe the queen will arrive around 5 p.m. I'm going to attach that cage to one of my foundation less frames. (Of course remove the cork from candy end of cage.) I'm also going to attach some old comb to the same frame. (There currently is NO comb of any sort in the hive.) I'm going to swap out this frame with the frame that I attached the dead queen in cage. Because I put a larger feeder in the back of the hive, I will remove the tin can feeder and encourage the clustered bees to move along. I'm inclined to leave the entrance screened overnight and remove it tomorrow a.m. Any bees that come out while swapping out the live for dead queen I'll try to dump into the back of the hive on the other side of the follower board.
I would appreciate any feedback or advice!!!
My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.