Top Bar Package Install Schedule Feedback Requested
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  1. #1

    Default Top Bar Package Install Schedule Feedback Requested

    I realize that I am being compulsive and have to allow for flexibility, but I am planning for the packages that I will receive next year for installation in my two top bar hives and wondered if the following early schedule is reasonable:

    Day 1 install bees and feed 1:1
    Day 3 quickly check and replace feeders if necessary
    Day 6 quickly check and replace feeders if necessary
    Day 10 quickly check and replace feeders if necessary. Also, release queen if not released already. I am following the advice from Harry Vanderpool found in the queen rearing forum to delay checking on queen release until day 10..
    Day 15 check for eggs and larvae

    Beyond feedback on the above general schedule, I do have two specific questions:

    A. If I follow the 10 day queen release schedule mentioned above, when would I check for early cross combing? Advice seems to be check and correct early but this may be in contradiction to advice on delay queen checking until day 10.

    B. When would be the optimal time to do a one-time OA dribble? My understanding is best to apply when broodless, but if I do the dribble while the queen is caged will that raise potential queen acceptance issues?

    Please note that the hives do not have observation windows.

    Many thanks!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Fargo, North Dakota

    Default Re: Top Bar Package Install Schedule Feedback Requested

    Welcome to Beesource. You have made several inquiries, some of which should not be answered in generalities. I encourage you to get connected to a local beekeeping club - they will have a better feel for the timing based on local conditions. I also encourage you to add to your profile so others can understand your location - climate, elevation, temperature, precipitation, agricultural practices, etc. are all important to a meaningful answer.

    I suspect your “10 day queen release” concept is the result of some misunderstanding of two (2) different issues. If your packages have been made up elsewhere, and several days elapse before package installation, your queen should have been accepted and eligible for a “direct release” on the date of installation. If inadequate time has elapsed after the packaged bees were combined, then do a “slow release”.

    When doing a slow release, I have learned that the queen’s release should be determined (checked) approximately three (3) days later. This can be accomplished by merely checking the cage. If the queen is out by either direct release or by slow release, there is no reason to again check (perform an inspection) until at least ten (10) days later. When that inspection is done, if queen-right, there will be eggs, larvae, and some capped brood.

    Never have I read or heard that a queen should be caged for ten (10) days, and then released - you lost a week of hive-buildup with that practice.

    California packages traveling to North Dakota generally have three (3) or four (4) days of travel, and direct release is commonly done; ten (10) to fourteen (14) days later is the timing for first inspection, but the 1:1 sugar feedings may occur daily (depending on the quantity provided). When adding sugar water, such can be accomplished without inspection or interference with hive activity.

    Anytime cross-comb is encountered, correct it as soon as possible - it only gets worse otherwise.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Isle of Wight, VA

    Default Re: Top Bar Package Install Schedule Feedback Requested

    If this is a brand new hive without drawn comb and you leave the queen cage in there for 10 days, you are likely to end up with a mess of cross comb. Please realize that when you read advice from other beekeepers running a Langstroth hive, you may need to adjust some of the principles to fit the topbar hive design. I like to check my queen cage after 3 days and remove it as soon as the queen is released (and she usually is released by day 3 or 4). Just bring a knife with you on that day to carve the cage out of the drawn comb and be ready to smoosh back any that is mis-aligned. Once they get "off the rails (comb-guide), the rest of the comb tend to be wonky as well, so I prefer in topbar hives to check every 5 days, when there is no drawn comb.

  5. #4

    Default Re: Top Bar Package Install Schedule Feedback Requested

    Thanks for the responses and, Ruthie, I enjoy your videos. I see both of your points regarding the queen introduction and after re-reading the thread on the topic I see that it was primarily aimed at existing hives and in a Langstroth set-up. I will make adjustments per your suggestions.

    Any thoughts on when to apply the OA dribble? Ruthie, I think you use sugar dusting and nothing else, but wondered if any advice on when best to apply the dribble. From what I have read, it can be harsh on brood so best to apply when broodless. This would lead me to believe that it would be best to do early, perhaps near day 3 or just after the queen has been released.

    Thanks, again.

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

    Default Re: Top Bar Package Install Schedule Feedback Requested

    Day 1 – install bees and direct release the queen. If nothing is blooming, feed.
    Day 10 – quickly check and replace feeders if nothing is blooming and the feeders are empty.
    Day 14 – check for eggs and larvae
    Michael Bush "Everything works if you let it." 42y 40h 39yTF

  7. #6

    Default Re: Top Bar Package Install Schedule Feedback Requested

    I’m quickly learning that just when I think I understand something, I don’t......Thanks to each you for your responses!

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Seattle WA

    Default Re: Top Bar Package Install Schedule Feedback Requested

    I am not sure that OA dribble is recommended for packages or recently installed packages either. I don't find OAD to be real easy with a top bar hive and if I had to recommend using it on a new package, I would spray it into the package before installation and not use any more than 20 ml total. The queen is safely in her cage and applying through the screen would be fairly easy. I much prefer OAV 10 days after installation.


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