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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I installed a package 30 hrs. ago. It's been beautiful weather, but I see it's going to rain for the next 3 days, so I took my chances and thought MAYBE she was out of the queen cage by now and I could put in the missing frame and relax about it. But when I peeked in there, there was such a cluster on the queen cage I couldn't even see through it. I tried brushing bees off, but they were pretty glued on. Does that mean they have not accepted the queen yet and are trying to kill her, or that they're trying to take care of her and all is well? Or can you not tell.
 

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Usually u can tell their aggression on the cage. Hard to say either. They could not have accepted her yet or they could be trying to get to her to tend to her. If 30 hrs have passed with her in their u can pop the cork out of the candy end and let them release her over the next few days. One frame out during ur rain spell won't make a difference.
 

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remember they just out of a small wooden box where they were just hanging around the queen she prob not out yet, but getting close
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Good, I feel better then. I was afraid maybe they were going to successfully kill her. I won't bother them again until the rainy weather is over. Yup, the candy cork has been popped, they just haven't gotten thru to her yet.
 

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She may very well be out of the cage, what you saw is the bees still clustering over the cage because her scent is still in the cage, I have seen this happen before many times.
 

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If they are clustered on the cage biting the wire with their mandibles, and they do not move out of the way when you drag a finger over the cage wire, they will kill the queen when they can reach her. Check the package for another queen, put the cork back in the candy hole or cover it with duck tape, to delay the bees reaching the queen. Check the frames for a virgin, and use little or no smoke when you open the hive. Smoke will make a virgin run and she will be hard to see.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Good to know AR Beekeeper. I won't be going in there till the rainy days are over, and by then, she'll either be out and dead, or out and alive... This was a Russian queen delivered with Italian bees, so I hope there's not another queen in there, because then I just bought an Italian package.

If after a few days there are no eggs/larvae, I'll pull a frame of eggs from the other hive and they'll have to raise their own queen.

Interestingly, when I looked at the queen during installation, I thought her abdomen looked a little small. Maybe she's not well mated and they know that?

Time will tell... By the way, this bee delivery was delayed 6 weeks from Georgia, so their supply could have been crunched to begin with.
 

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If they are clustered on the cage biting the wire with their mandibles, and they do not move out of the way when you drag a finger over the cage wire, they will kill the queen when they can reach her. Check the package for another queen, put the cork back in the candy hole or cover it with duck tape, to delay the bees reaching the queen. Check the frames for a virgin, and use little or no smoke when you open the hive. Smoke will make a virgin run and she will be hard to see.
NewBee, AR Beekeeper is correct.....Michael Palmer has a brief video on this subject. If you try to move the bees off the queen cage and they are "stuck" on it, and it feels like the bees are velcroed on, they will probably kill her. Look the video up on UTube, it was a great help to me. Deb
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Deb, I found the video. Hmm. Very frustrating, if I was sold a package with a queen that would not be accepted. I really don't know what else I can do except wait out the weather and then see if she's still alive. They were definitely sticking to the queen cage, I couldn't scrape them off (VERY GENTLY) with the hive tool. If she's dead in 3 days, I'll just have to rush a frame of eggs in there and hope for the best. Maybe check for any brood first in case there could be a queen already running around in there.

They weren't balling the queen cage when I removed her from the package and installed her, so maybe there's still hope...

Can't wait till I have enough hives through splits and never have to go the package route again.
 

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Deb, I found the video. Hmm. Very frustrating, if I was sold a package with a queen that would not be accepted. I really don't know what else I can do except wait out the weather and then see if she's still alive. They were definitely sticking to the queen cage, I couldn't scrape them off (VERY GENTLY) with the hive tool. If she's dead in 3 days, I'll just have to rush a frame of eggs in there and hope for the best. Maybe check for any brood first in case there could be a queen already running around in there.

They weren't balling the queen cage when I removed her from the package and installed her, so maybe there's still hope...

Can't wait till I have enough hives through splits and never have to go the package route again.
Let us know...this just happened to me, I made a nuc and one of the frames of brood I used the bees had built the comb away from the plastic foundation; the queen was hiding behind that comb. I put it into the nuc and introduced a new queen in a cage and they balled her and her attendants.
 

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Deb, I found the video. Hmm. Very frustrating, if I was sold a package with a queen that would not be accepted. I really don't know what else I can do except wait out the weather and then see if she's still alive. They were definitely sticking to the queen cage, I couldn't scrape them off (VERY GENTLY) with the hive tool. If she's dead in 3 days, I'll just have to rush a frame of eggs in there and hope for the best. Maybe check for any brood first in case there could be a queen already running around in there.

They weren't balling the queen cage when I removed her from the package and installed her, so maybe there's still hope...

Can't wait till I have enough hives through splits and never have to go the package route again.
I can understand the frustration, I lost a Buckfast queen earlier this spring in the same fashion. It was recommended on here somewhere to me to leave the cork in a couple days before exposing the candy. I knew better........ Oh well maybe I didnt.....she was dead in an instant. Live and learn. I may have one die in a cage but will never send another out prematurely. :lookout:
 

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Releasing queens is not a perfect science. I lost 2 out of 7 this spring. The first was because of a virgin queen and I've found no reason for the second. In the second they left themselves hopelessly queenless or maybe there was a virgin in there also that died during mating flights. In any event, with bees you can plan and work out about 90% but prepared for the unexplainable 10%. It happens to everyone.

Best of luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Judging from what I've been hearing, unless I'm just listening extra hard this year, this is sounding like a more common experience than not... I'm wondering whether, due to weather or commercial pollination damages or just a crunch to get packages out, their queens (in southern packages) are just not mating well this year. Especially since, like I said, this package was delayed SIX WEEKS this spring already.
 

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Why not get back into the hive and further delay the intro by placing tape over the candy? This will give you more time to assess the situation. As mentioned, if they are biting the cage or trying to sting thru the screen she is doomed if you don't take action. If you want to preserve this Russian queen then it seems like there may still be a chance.
 

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Judging from what I've been hearing, unless I'm just listening extra hard this year, this is sounding like a more common experience than not...
This is beekeeping. Things like extra queens in packages happen - not totally sure that's happening here, but from your description it seems likely. This is part of the process of being a beekeeper to learn how to best introduce queens, and that includes introducing queens to new packages. Any sign of aggression needs to be resolved immediately. Packages should be loving the caged queens, if not, serious investigation is needed and no attempt to release should be made.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
AstroBee - I'd go in there, but it's drizzly and 56F right now - if they didn't hate her before, they'd definitely hate her if I went back in there... But you think I should go in anyway and just pull the queen cage out and bring it in the house? Keep them fed with some drops of water and the candy plug?

Hey, if I can get TWO queens out of this package, that would be a bonus. :) But if there's a queen running around in the package, she could even be a virgin queen... how can I find out without totally disrupting them and making them angry?

I don't know, it's a real toss up - whether to disrupt them in cold, wet, cloudy weather, or just let them do what they want with that caged queen...
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Ugh. Decisions. I noted they were stuck like glue to the queen cage in my first note here, before I knew that meant aggression, so I can't really argue with myself. Is there a chance it was just too soon to go in there?

Maybe I should peek in today and see if there's been any improvement in their attitude. It's been 24 hrs. since I last looked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
OKAY I MADE A DECISION. I went out to the hive and opened it up. They're still all over the queen cage, I could brush them off but they were bound and determined they were not going to leave her alone, they came right back. But at least I was able to see the queen and attendants. She's still alive and moving all over, and they haven't made much progress eating thru the candy plug. I checked the frames, especially the center open and drawn out frames (I have several side full frames of honey in there - doubt a queen would be trying to lay in honey) and I did not see any sign of a queen.

So I closed it back up and I'm not looking at it again until Saturday, when the weather finally clears and gets warm. I will cross my fingers that she will be out and laying by then, and that no other queen is present.

The colony sure does look happy, bees covering all the frames and sucking down all those nice honey frames I put in there... they must love that. They are also building comb quickly on the one or two foundationless I stuck in there.
 

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If you can brush them away then I would think your fine. They will keep coming back to where she is, that's normal. Also, you said they don't have much of the plug gone, so there is plenty of time for them to get well acquainted.
 
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