Adding Brood to Packages
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Santa Cruz, CA
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    Default

    This year I ordered 4 packages wanting to try out some new genetics. It also happens that I have a shipment of queens coming in the same day.

    I'd like to get them as strong as possible, as quick as possible, so here is what I had planned:

    - 7 day or so before the packages arrive I'll pull 8 frames of capped brood (without bees) from other hives and "bank" them above a queen excluder in a very strong colony (so I don't get eggs/ young larvae)

    - Once I receive the packages/queens I'll add one frame of brood to each nuc, again, without bees from the donor hives

    - I'll split the 4lb package in half, adding the queen in the package with half, and add another queen with the other half (doing the other half some distance away, if that matters?)

    This should give them some young bees rather quickly as well as increase the amount of bees in each nuc within their first week or so. It will also give the queen somewhere to immediately lay, but I should have enough drawn comb in storage to add another empty frame to the nuc as well.

    As such, I"ll end up with 1 frame of capped brood, 1 drawn frame, and likely a frame of wax foundation and 2 with starter strips.

    My main concern would be in having 1.5-2 lbs of bees keeping a frame of brood warm, but with low temps in the mid 50s I should be entirely fine?

    I've always heard of people splitting out packages, but never really with brood. If you have experiencing doing this, am I on the right track?

    Also, in my experience of adding bees to a new hive with a new queen and eggs they will always draw out queen cells. Is it wise to make sure I don't have eggs/larvae in the frames I add?
    Last edited by mtnmyke; 03-20-2019 at 09:50 PM.

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Adding Brood to Packages

    I have not seen young larvae be a problem dependent on how the queen was introduced. You can always check that frame in a few days and squash all the queen cells if there are any. I would not be afraid of leaving the bees on the frame of brood since they are most always young bees and old bees will fly home anyways. I would feed to help them with the wax building chores. That extra frame of brood will almost double your population so don't let them get into a swarm condition with the feeding and population explosion.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Seattle WA
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    1,101

    Default Re: Adding Brood to Packages

    I added a frame of eggs and brood to some packages a few years back with good results. None of the queens were superceded and they built up quickly. It has been stated numerous times that a package of bees is a colony that is out of balance. A healthy colony has a queen, nurse bees, foraging bees, eggs, larvae and sealed brood. Since the package is missing the eggs, larvae and sealed brood, the colony knows there is something wrong. When that happens, they often replace the queen. It has often been stated here on Beesource that the queens in packages are frequently replaced fairly quickly. This is probably why. Adding a frame of brood will bring the package closer to a normal hive and start the build up process much quicker. If the weather is on the cool side, shake the bees in and add the frame of brood immediately after so it has minimal time in the cold air. A 3 pound package is plenty of bees to keep it warm.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    53,550

    Default Re: Adding Brood to Packages

    >- 7 day or so before the packages arrive I'll pull 8 frames of capped brood (without bees) from other hives and "bank" them above a queen excluder in a very strong colony (so I don't get eggs/ young larvae)

    Open brood is much more useful because it will anchor the bees to the hive. I would pull them the day you install them.

    >- Once I receive the packages/queens I'll add one frame of brood to each nuc, again, without bees from the donor hives

    With or without bees matters little. If you can spare them, why no leave the bees on the frame? Or shake them off if you like.

    >- I'll split the 4lb package in half, adding the queen in the package with half, and add another queen with the other half (doing the other half some distance away, if that matters?)

    Well, now that you're splitting a 4lb package, I would definitely leave the bees on the frame of brood.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    53,550

    Default Re: Adding Brood to Packages

    Duplicate
    Last edited by Michael Bush; 03-25-2019 at 10:59 AM.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Santa Cruz, CA
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    336

    Default Re: Adding Brood to Packages

    Thanks for the input everyone.

    I can definitely bring the brood frame with bees, I have other hives and have the resources. However, I've had some "weird" experiences in mixing bees in the past. Often I can swap brood frames, with bees, like playing cards between hives. Other times I get an entire ware zone inside a hive.

    I understand bees in the package may not be from the same hive. Adding a frame with bees to a package shouldn't be too big of an issue as they are so disoriented anyway?

    If the master says it will be fine, I'll pull open brood with bees the day of the package installs.

    What is the happy medium between leaving them alone, and checking for queen cells? In the past I'd leave them 3-4 days and then simply check the queen cage. Do the same but pull the brood frame for a quick check?

    If they start to draw queen cells, how likely are they to reject the new queen?

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,550

    Default Re: Adding Brood to Packages

    >Other times I get an entire ware zone inside a hive.

    Watch and see if any fighting breaks out right after you add it. If they do smoke them until they stop.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

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