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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my first year keeping bees and I will be using 10 frame equipment with new plastic foundation. The plan is to start two hives this spring.
I am strictly focused on the management, bee health, and striving to have one or both hives make it through the first winter, which is what has me on edge most. The honey would just be a cool perk if all goes well;)

As is typically recommended to beginners, I will be installing an established 5 frame Nuc into one of the hives...this should be a no brainer.

The other hive is going to receive a 3 lb. package. I chose to go this route so I can see the differing development of each hive.
I am prepared for the slower build up in the spring and my original plan was to use a divider board with the entrance reducer, and only 4-5 frames of the wax coated plastic foundation. I will be feeding them, and I would add frames as the colony developed.

So with all that planned out, I was pleasantly surprised when a friend had offered to loan or trade me some of his fully drawn out comb frames to start the package on. :thumbsup: I am not anticipating these would have much in the way of honey stores. They are more for turn key housing, and I would still have to feed.

What is a good balance of empty drawn comb frames and new foundation that would be ideal for a young colony with a queen that is likely a virgin?

Would only 1 or two drawn frames be adequate to give them a jump start, or is there any benefit to using more?
 

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I understand where you are coming from, and others may disagree, but about the only benefit I see with a package over a nuc is that they will be focused on drawing comb. It seems you already know how valuable drawn comb is. First make sure, double sure that your friend's comb is good, meaning disease free. If so, I would only use 2 frames in the middle for the queen to get going in.
Also, it sounds like you are only planning on feeding the package. Yes, feed that heavily and don't let the syrup run out. But you should also feed the nuc because they will soon need to fill out another box for you.
As the season progresses, and the bees start slowing down, I would use the drawn comb "checkerboarded" in a super to encourage them to move up and draw more comb.
Best of luck! Nice friend you have. J
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, I plan to feed both hives, I will be making Ultra Bee patties and using 1:1 syrup for the package. The Nuc will get also get the syrup, but I will be adding a dry pollen feeder somewhere in front of the hives until we see a flow.

I am definitely going to critique and discuss the health of the hive if I proceed to use a couple frames from him.

I have been studying the checker boarding techniques and understand the methods pretty well. I am also hoping to do a summer/fall split off the nuc and have three colonies going into winter.
 

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Do some research on Ultra Bee. I do not have any personal knowledge, but if they contain "essential oils", many beekeepers avoid them as they have fallen out of favor. I bought a bottle of a similar product when I first started and tossed it after I read up on some negative bee gut health issues. You can kill them with kindness. J
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I just checked, the pre-made Ultra Bee patties do contain some essential oils, lemon grass and spearmint, aka HBH. Not enough to make it smell like lemon grass though. You can make you own patties with the dry powder and avoid the essential oils.
I would put a foundation frame in between the two drawn frames and put the queen on one of the drawn ones. By the time she is released and lays up the first frame, the bees should have the middle frame mostly drawn out.

Your package queen will not be a virgin. You should see eggs around day two or three after she is released, although I would give her at least a week before checking. All you want to do is make sure she was released around day 4.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you for the insight on the patties. I actually was getting a 10# tub of the dry Ultra Bee to use. Since I'm only starting two hives, I felt this would be enough.

I was going to cut a recipe in half that is used in this video by another gentleman at these forums https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBVQ_JJ3_II

I would then have 5# left to start dry feeding them. I don't know if 5# is too little to bridge them to the natural pollen flow, but I will order more before spring hits. I have heard that it can go on sale sometimes, so I was only getting enough to prepare the patties for freezing.

JWPalmer, I was under the impression that package queens are not always mated. I hope you are correct, as I understand a laying queen is more readily accepted :thumbsup:



I will implement the advice of two drawn frames with a foundation frame between and on the outsides of them
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Look in the comments section of that video and you will see the amounts needed for 5# of Ultrabee which ends up making about 17# of patty. Maybe cut even that in half? I would increase the amount of oil you use by double to help keep the patty from drying out as fast. Besides, bees need lipids in their diet too. Be sure to mix the dry ingredients thoroughly before adding the liquids. Yes, I have made these from this recipe.
If a virgin queen were to be put in a package, her window of opportunity to get mated will have passed by the time she was installed in a hive.

Be careful! Beekeeping is addictive. "Only starting two hives" is like saying "I'm only gonna eat ONE potato chip."
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Look in the comments section of that video and you will see the amounts needed for 5# of Ultrabee which ends up making about 17# of patty. Maybe cut even that in half? I would increase the amount of oil you use by double to help keep the patty from drying out as fast. Besides, bees need lipids in their diet too. Be sure to mix the dry ingredients thoroughly before adding the liquids. Yes, I have made these from this recipe.
If a virgin queen were to be put in a package, her window of opportunity to get mated will have passed by the time she was installed in a hive.

Be careful! Beekeeping is addictive. "Only starting two hives" is like saying "I'm only gonna eat ONE potato chip."
It was the smaller proportioned recipe in that comment that I was using, and I was also even thinking of cutting in half another time, LOL!

As far as an addiction, I already have a complete third hive with 2 deeps and 3 mediums ready to go for next spring, and I'm planning on building a couple more this summer and I just finished painting a double deep Nuc setup for doing a split this year. I have been doing a lot of research about overwintering Nucs.
 
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