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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,
New beek here, but I've been fortunate enough that my friend's dad has over 40 years of experience and has been helping me.

I received two packages from a supplier that my mentor has used a few times and never had any problems with. For me, things are not going well.

Set up:
Being from the Midwest, our spring weather can be all over the place. Knowing this I had both packages installed with access to syrup and a sugar patty directly above the closer. Additionally the tops of both boxes were insulated.

Current status:
Package 1 is dead. First time I thoroughly inspected the colony was 5 days after installing them, and they were dead, queen still in the cage, unreleased by them.
Package 2 has been drawing comb, storing nectar and pollen, they accepted their queen, but is 100% without eggs.

Observations:
Within the first 24 hours, package 1 did not touch their syrup at all (ML hive top feeder, syrup was around 75-80F when I put it in), Package 2 couldn't get enough of it.
After finally checking on the inside, after 5 days, package 1 had not touched their sugar patty either. When placing my ear next to the outside of each box, package 1 was barely audible, lower than whisper quiet, package 2 had a nice hum to it that could easily be heard.

Mentor took a closer look at the colony that died and immediately noticed signs of dysentery. I have been saying the colony died, but there are some still alive, but their movements have been extremely sluggish, zero flight, and have just been laying in the piles where they fell down from the frames.

Now that it has been two weeks and the weather has become ideal for a few days I was able to get into package 2 and see how they were really doing. My mentor and I watched as the queen moved around and was trying to lay eggs, but for some reason no eggs were coming out, and none could be found anywhere. Of note, my mentor pointed out that she wasn't moving with the vigor that any of his four queens from the same supplier have been. He later showed me and seeing how his queens moved around the frames it became more noticeable.

We have since borrowed a frame with some very fresh eggs from one of my mentor's hives to see if the bees will simply cap them or if they'll make any queen cells.

I'm not sure what to do, I reached out to the supplier after the first died, but it went no where, which is about what I expected. Any thoughts, or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I know that after some new queens are raised by my mentor I can attempt to requeen, but that won't be for quite some time. Has anyone else had this kind of luck before? Is it unusual?

Thank you
 

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I reached out to the supplier after the first died, but it went no where, which is about what I expected.
That's really unfortunate. Sounds like you did everything right only for an entire package to die, that's not very common. What happened with the queen in the package? I believe you stated she was still alive?

Suppliers should certainly stand by their product. If an entire package of bees died, somehow, they should have taken care of you. We hear of plenty of queens showing up dead in packages, which isn't uncommon, but nearly every instance itss resolved by the supplier overnighting one.

And it is fairly strange to have a queen in your 2nd hive that hasn't laid a single egg. Without getting too technical, their "parts" can get clogged and they either shoot blanks (drones) or won't lay at all. A frame of eggs might help, but if the hive hasn't quite figured out she's a dud with all the disturbances of being in a package they may not replace her. If not, you may have to pinch her and add another frame of eggs, or get another queen in there asap.

I'd raise a little more fuss with the supplier and see if they can't resolve it. You paid to have 2 packages with good queens, not one dud queen and one dud package of bees.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
When I opened the package that died, inside the queen cage she appeared fully dead. This might sound weird, but I've heard of bees saving queens that were seemingly dead before so I brought her back outside and set her on one of the frames with black foundation to warm her in the sun and see if any bees would be able to do anything. After an hour a few bees had her moving her legs and within 2.5-3 hours they had her walking around the frame (though quite slowly). It was supposed to get cold again that night, so I carefully got her back in the queen cage and dripped some drops of 1:1 syrup on the screening, and brought her inside for the night as her colony was completely unable to cluster. Unfortunately she ended up dying.

I spoke on the phone with a local supplier of nucs and he mentioned also something about she might be "eggstuck". Sounds exactly like what you're describing.

That's what we were thinking too, that if we didn't pinch her, they may not make a cell with the fresh eggs. Was planning to get out and check today, but it rained all day. It should be nicer tomorrow and I can take a look inside.

I reached out to the supplier and mentioned the queen's behavior in package 2. He asked me to wait a few more days so I guess that's that for now.

In the meantime while speaking with the local nuc vendor he mentioned he doesn't sell queens, but recommended someone who does that is only an hour away. Depending upon how the next few days go I may end up pinching her, leave them queenless for a day, and then pick up a new queen.
 
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