Well when I install packages I do it different than most books tell you.
I don`t bump, dump or spray the bees I let the bees do the work.
With a box of new foundation I remove 5 frames, set the package inside of the hive, remove the "juice" can ( I have a cover for the hole ) then slide the cover off the hole just enough to remove the queen cage and slide the cover back over the hole and check to see if the queen is alive then with a large rubber band around the first or second frame I remove the cork from the sugar end of the queen cage (if its a wood cage) or the cap if its a plastic cage, I don`t put a hole in the candy because in these days most of the candy plugs are of a soft candy, then put the queen cage inder the rubber band with the screen down (candy plug on the end) then I slide the package next to the frames, remove the cover off the hole and put the top on the hive, and put an entrance feeder on the hive. Now the bees will crawl out to the queen. (if I have frames of honey I don`t feed sugar water)
Tine of day: I like to install then late in the afternoon, if its raining a bit just do it if its cool just do it,
Next day I go back and remove the package box and put in 4 more frames and leave the hive for 4 or 5 days then open and see if the queen is out (most of the time sh is out) if she isnt out then I let her out and put the 10th frame in the box.
I was tought this way and I think it is less stressful on the bees than some methods you will read about, here is a link to my photo bucket that showes this method from a book printed in the 1930s so it has been around for a while.
I'm glad this is the first post made. I like to install packages without dumping and bumping as well. There really is no need to do it that way for the beginner. The bees have already been through a lot of stress just getting to your location so why give them more stress?
Here is just a breif breakdown on how I do it and I have tryed most ways but find this to be the most effective for me and the bees.
Time of day: Afternoon/Evening
1. Get packages organized on top of hives being installed.
2. Spray packages with sugar syrup...this reallly calms the bees and gives them a nice treat after being in shipping.
3. Remove the top piece of wood exposing sugar can and queen cage.
4. If the package is the type where the queen cage is being held up by sugar can I make sure I have a grip on the tab and slowly pull the sugar can up out. I usually give the package a bang before this step as well.
5. Place sugar can off to the side and pull queen up out. Insepct her to make sure she is completely fine and then remove cork on candy side and place her on top of frames.
6. Throw second super on now empty. You can place syrup feeders up in this empty super and this also allows me to just leave the queen on top of the frames with screen side down between a gap in frames.
7. Shake bees into the hive.....I usually shake....bang....shake....bang...till I get 99% of the bees out.
8. Close up the hive and check in 2-3 days to see if queen has been released!
The first package I installed was Queen candie down cage between frames and then shake and bang several times through the top opening, worked ok.
The next time , Queen cage the same but with the bees I removed the nails holding the wire cloth, pulled it back and dumped the bees out the side and not the top. Worked great and alot better on the bees and me. Jim
I live in a relatively dry climate. When packages are available the humidity is likely in the 30% range, perhaps a lot less. I found, through direct comparison, that spraying the bees with sugar water KILLS A LOT of bees because it drys on the bees before they can consume it. You find hundreds of bees walking around the hive unable to fly. So now, if anything I may spray with just some water. At least it doesn't cause their death.
But I too, put the entire package in the hive and put the feeder can on top of the inner cover hole. Works great.
I just installed my first package the other day and was amazed at how smoothly it went. The only thing that was unusual was that I bought the package from a local beekeeper, and the queen cage was not inside the main box of bees, but was separate. Here's my video of the installation:
I must admit that when you smacked the queen cage to dislodge the bees clustered on its outside I cringed, then when you kept smacking the package on the top of the hive (again transferring potentially damaging energy to the queen), I cringed again. I hope your queen does okay. I'm just a little more gentle with my queens -- they can be quite fragile creatures.
It was probably a very successful install, and we each go about these things in our own unique ways.
When watching you with those gloves on, it is also easy to see why I haven't used gloves in more than forty years.
I haven't bought a package since the late 1960's, but I have made up a few packages, from time to time, from my own bees and installed them. Just to watch the process. It is exciting to see how a small quantity of bees, with a new queen can become an established thriving colony. However, much more precarious than a nuc or split.
Thank you for pointing out that I was too rough with my queen. I guess it didn't seem rough to me at the time, but when I watched the video again I see what you mean. I will definitely be more gentle next time and just brush the bees off of the queen cage.
With the queen in the package, let the package set in a shaded area for 24 to 48 hrs
Using a 10 frame deep lang, 4 or 5 frames out, take feeder can and queen out of package, place queen and can off to the side in reach, bump the package a little, shake what bees I can in. set package aside, lightly mist if needed, hang or insert queen cage between the middle of 10 frames candy side down. Lightly sprinkle some dry pollen sub on top of frames.
Put the top cover on, set the package near the entrance, make sure they have access to syrup boardman feeders near the hive work ok, If I don't want to refill feed every day to every other day, need bigger or more then one syrup feeder. leave for 3 or 4 hours, come back. check if everything went as expected. pick up empty package. in three to five days. check if queen has been accepted, remove queen cage, reduce entrance if necessary.
check on activity and feed for the next 10 to 12 days with out opening the hive
I am assuming you were removing the bees from the queen cage in order to more easily see the condition of the queen. For me, I would, maybe push them gently aside so I could get a peek at the queen, but otherwise leave them all alone (they will help to keep the queen warm and help to buffer her from any other potential trauma). I like how you suspended the JZsBZs plastic queen cage, I've done it that way, myself, a few times.
the first year I did the slam bang and every year after ,, but this year I did not feel very good so I did a easy install 0 open the package put it on the frames put a box an cover ,walk away ,, 7 hours later 90% of the bees still in package , mybe it was to cool for them to move down , anyway then I did a slam bang .. from now on its a slam bang install
get it over and done ..
Assuming the bees have been on the truck for three days, Remove 3-4 frames, Lightly mist bees with water or thin syrup, thump the package down to clear bees from syrup can, pull out can, remove queen cage, shake bees into hive. Lightly spray the queen, pull plug, set on top bar and watch her walk in. Go to next hive.....When you are done with this step, go back and put pulled frames back in, and grass up entrance if you want.
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