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Hi All,

Rookie here. This is my first attempt. Read some books, attended a class, and I was extremely comfortable installing my first package. Until today that is. I decided to use the "Hansen Method" I learned from our class. On Wed, I Picked up the bees, they seemed calm, not many dead bees on the bottom. Left them in a cool, dark garage for a few hours spraying the screen with some sugar syrup which they accepted happily. Removed the Queen Cage, uncorked it and made a small hole in the sugar plug to aid her release. positioned her, sugar plug up on the 4th frame of a 10-frame deep (#2). Dumped about 1 cup full of bees from the package on that frame. All ten frames are in deep #2. Placed the remaining bees still in the package in an empty deep below (#1) which is resting on the bottom board (screened). I'm using a hive top feeder with 1:1 sugar syrup and HBH above deep #2.

Supposedly I'd come back 24 hours to remove Deep #1 along with an empty package. Wrong. The vast majority of the ladies seemed perfectly content in their package, the majority of them still clustered together - still calm. So I just put them back hoping I'd come back tomorrow and they'd decided to leave by then. Additionally, I lifted the outer cover ever so slightly to see that there were bees sipping out of the hive top feeder, but I didn't bother them any further.

As far as weather: It has been dark and dreary all day today with light rain (Thurs) w/temps around 60, not expected to fall below 50 or so tonight. Tomorrow's weather (Fri) is more of the same with a warm-up on Saturday with T-storms. I expect not many bees will want to venture out, and maybe this is aiding in their laziness...

What happens if I go back tomorrow and they still have not left the package box? I thought of a few options:

1. Dump remaining package in empty deep #1 (onto the screened bottom board) and cover with #2 (10-frame deep w/queen on 4th frame) and HT Feeder?
2. Totally remove #1 with the remaining bees in package (#2 now is now at the bottom) and dump remaining bees in #2. But if I do this, should I remove some frames or can I leave all 10 in?
3. Wait another day?
4. Other?

Some advice would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
John
 

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You didn't seem to mention what happened to the syrup can that came in the package - is it in one of the hive bodies somewhere?

One deep body is plenty of space for a new package of bees. There is no advantage to giving them more space at this point. I'd take away one of the boxes, remove some frames so you have space, dump the package box bees in the space, put the frames back carefully and close it up.

Package installation tips from Michael Bush:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beespackages.htm
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi Graham,
Thanks for the reply. I removed the syrup can that came in the package altogether and discarded. I put in my own syrup with HBH.

John
 

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Hey John.
I have not used this method but I have installed several packages by leaving the box in a single deep with only four or five frames and the queen cage between the remaining frames of comb or foundation. A slight variation from you chosen method. I uncork the queen the next day but I do not think that would make a great difference. I assume the shipping box is set with the opening directed up. Typically a package is best installed in the evening and during warm spring weather, perhaps it is warmer in the shipping box clustered with the other ladies and they will come out soon on their own. You could dump them out and force them to cluster on the frames too. I am a hobbyist and by no means an authority however, I would be concerned about the queen more that the cluster. Think about your queen keeping warm by the cup of bees and verify that first. Then be concerned if your queen will get released in a couple of days by the attendants or workers chewing through the plug to release her and realize that you do not want to open the hive or disturb her for twelve days or so after she has released. Personally I like to gather as much advice as possible and do it my own way and I recommend that is what you do. It's a learning curve, sometimes an expensive one at that! I wish you luck and you primary duty will be to feed, feed, feed so they can build up comb rapidly. I hope this is helpful.
 

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And here I thought that I had been trying something original. I should know better.

My approach was not nearly as well thought out as the one you described. However, I had chosen the 'let them leave the package on their own' approach as a gentle way of introducing the bees. After placing the package into the hive in the evening, I decided to do the old bump and dump the next morning when I saw a still full package. That did the trick, and there was no evidence that any harm had been done.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks, ccar. Yes, the package opening is directed up. I was a bit concerned about the queen as well. I'm hoping she will be clustered by the bees that did leave the package. I'll be home tomorrow mid-day so I will likely dump the remaining bees if they haven't left the package by then.

John
 

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I'd sure like to know the name of these people telling you to do something like that.There's been a lot of people installing that way.Obviously not a beekeeper teaching this Method.It's to simple bump,dump and shake done deal.Poking a hole in a queen cage is not a good idea to easy to injure the queen.
 

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I'd sure like to know the name of these people telling you to do something like that.There's been a lot of people installing that way.Obviously not a beekeeper teaching this Method.It's to simple bump,dump and shake done deal.Poking a hole in a queen cage is not a good idea to easy to injure the queen.
This right here ^ for sure .
If the bees are not out dump them out now . U are just causing a ton of problems for them right off the start .
 

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Hopefully dumping the bees over the queen and removing the bottom box will get your bees installed.

Another thing that has not been mentioned is the possibility of a second queen in the package. When shaking packages, they look for queens, move her aside and then shake the other frames of bees into the big box that packages will be filled from. There are hives where they don't find the queen, so there could be another queen in the package. When you dump them out, see if there is comb in the box. See how the bees act toward the queen in the cage. If they are aggressive toward her (holding onto cage, not able to be easily swiped off cage), then you might have another queen in the package. I think we had one of these reported to us out of all the ones we brought up last year.

If you dump the bees into the hive over the queen and put the package outside the hive, the rest should go where the queen is.

When you figure out that a lot of what is written tells you how things usually go instead of always go, you will be a major step forward in your learning about bees. Learn about the biology of the bee so you will make better guesses as to how to react when things don't go according to what you think the book was saying.

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Lately there seem to be a lot of posts about oddball installations and they all seem to have gone badly. Beeks have been bumping and dumping packages for a very long time. The method works very well. There is nothing "cruel" about it. It is quick and painless, and keeps the queen well-covered, warm, and safe.

The initial equipment kit that so many new beeks buy is intended for the first season. That does not mean bees need all that space right away! Start the package in a single box because too much space is overwhelming and actually holds them back. If you let them grow into all those boxes as they are strong enough to defend them, that will avoid many problems with ants, SHBs, wax moths, and wonky comb that has to be fixed later.

Try the tried-and-true methods BEFORE you reinvent everything. There are reasons they are tried-and-true. After you've tried them, then if you want to reinvent the wheel, well, go for it. Then you'll have some actual experience to compare to.

I think the clubs and schools need to do some soul-searching about who they have teaching these newcomers these weird methods! Teachers/mentors are supposed to HELP, not make more problems!!!

JMO


Rusty
 

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Step, by step?

Set all the boxes off until you are at the bottom empty one. Remove the package. Remove the box. Put the one box with the queen back on. Set the queen aside carefully. Remove the four middle frames. Slam the package just hard enough to dislodge the bees (this will be moderately hard, but not hard enough to smash the wood...) pour bees into the gap between the frames. Repeat slamming and pouring until all but ten or twelve bees are out of the package. Set the package a ways away. Pop the cork on the other end of the queen cage and quickly get your finger over it (careful not to squish a queen that might make a mad dash for it). Make sure the queen is calm (she won't be if you just shook a bunch of bees off her cage, so wait for her to look less agitated). She will be circling but there is a difference between her pacing around in the cage and her frantic in the cage. Set the cage on top of the pile of bees on the bottom. Let go while bending over the gap in the frames. Set the frames in gently. They will be resting on bees so don't push them in. The frames will settle as the bees move out from under them. Push all the frames together in the middle with the space on the outside edges. When the top bars are flush with the top of the box, set the cover back on. Leave them alone for a week...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks to everyone for your great advice. Just a quick note on the method I used. I agree that books / courses / advice probably gets you 10%. True experience will come from experience and unfortunately mistakes. I'm not sure what will come of this first test, and maybe I hurt their chances of survival by doing what I did, but it's done and I may learn a costly lesson, maybe all will be fine. I did witness this same installation in person used in a class on three hives and they each survived and seemed to be doing well when we re-opened the hives 2 weeks after the install. The class was not present for the removal of the package and whether in each case there were remaining bees which needed to be dumped, anyway, I will never know. But for me, I think I will stick with the dump method in the future.

Update: Today, I reopened the hive and removed the package which still contained at least half of the bees. No comb was present and I didn't see a second queen, although I didnt look that hard as I just wanted to get them consolidated quickly. As I was dumping the bees, I noticed the queen was freed from her cage, so hopefully she made it ok. Previous to the package dump, there were a good amount of bees in the frame I put the queen cage on, so I hope this is a positive sign. Aside from refilling for feeding, I will leave them alone for another 7 days and keep my fingers crossed. I'm picking up a 5-frame NUC colony for my second colony tomorrow AM. Safe to say I'm addicted..

Thanks again,
John
 

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What doesn't make sense to me is the queen in the bottom box. If you had a nuc box or block off the 10 frame to just five frames and put the queen in that box over the top of the package box I would expect the bees to move up into the box above where the queen is and close to the feeder.
 

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What doesn't make sense to me is the queen in the bottom box.
Maybe that doesn't make sense because that isn't what the OP described. :rolleyes: The queen was in box #2 - the package was in box #1 below it.

Removed the Queen Cage, uncorked it and made a small hole in the sugar plug to aid her release. positioned her, sugar plug up on the 4th frame of a 10-frame deep (#2). Dumped about 1 cup full of bees from the package on that frame. All ten frames are in deep #2. Placed the remaining bees still in the package in an empty deep below (#1) which is resting on the bottom board (screened). I'm using a hive top feeder with 1:1 sugar syrup and HBH above deep #2.
 

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I had good luck doing approximately this, but full combs with several full of honey in the top box. The package was in an empty 10 frame box below, and the queen cage was sitting on the top of the package box. These packages were several days old, so I pulled the cork on the non candy end of the cage, and put in a little whisp of tissue...something g that will take them a few minutes to remove.

Drawn comb on top will improve your chances, with honey better...if you had a frame of open brood in the top box I would almost guarantee it working.....within decent temps.

Deknow
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks grumpy one. And thanks to all for ur advice. The hardest thing now will be to not open them up for another week. I did add another gallon of syrup to the feeder last night. And seeing the bees in my yard again collecting nectar and pollen is a great feeling.

On a side note, picked up my nuc colony and set them at their location and opened them. They poured out quickly as expected as they weren't thrilled with the long drive home. I will transfer them today. My 8yr old unexpectedly wanted to come with me for the ride and to my surprise was not concerned at all with the few dozen bees flying around my SUV on our ride home. He will be joining me on the transfer. He's really interested.

John
 
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