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Me and my son are first time beekeepers. I built a top bar hive and installed a package of bees Saturday April 25th. WE pulled the cork on the candy and hung the cage in the middle of the hive. On Wednesday we went back to check on them and the queen hadn't been freed from the cage yet, so we pulled the cork on the non-candy end and let her lose in the hive. The following Saturday we went back and there were only about 25 bees left in the hive. I'm trying to track down another package, but what can I do so they don't leave again? I've read about restricting the opening with what is basically a Queen excluder used to "exclude" her from the world, that is keep her in the hive.

You can see all of this on my web page
 

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The first thing I noticed was that during the package install, the package was open for over 3 minutes before you dumped the bees in the hive. Then, you placed the package on the ground without getting all the bees out. If you left the package within a couple inches of the hive entrance, the bees might find their way in. Try to dump the bees in the TBH quickly. Do it in the evening, so the bees do not get a chance to fly around much. That way they are stuck in for the night, and you have a better chance of them accepting the hive.

Thump the bees down and remove the syrup can and queen cage. Dump the bees in the hive. Thump the bees to knock them loose in the cage so you can dump them in the hive. Once the bees are in the hive, get it closed up as quick as possible. Here is how I install packages.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5__v4qj3RLY

Due to the bees not drawing any comb, I would say the bees had not accepted the hive. Next time, do not release the queen until they have started drawing comb. Feed sugar water to them, as much as they will take.

Your blog said the package bees ate the whole one pound pollen patty. This seems very unusual. Bees normally will not eat patties unless they are within 2 inches of brood, and you have no brood. Also, a strong hive will eat one pound in a week - packages starting out consume patties much slower. Did a ****/mouse or something get in the hive and eat the patty, and drove off the bees?
 
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