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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our local beekeeping association and I installed a couple of packaged swarms on Saturday at our Extension Office to serve as demo hives. We installed a 2lb. package and a 3lb. package. The installation was done textbook -- no problems.

On Monday, we noticed a lot of bees flying around the hives -- almost like the beginnings of a swarm. The president of our beekeeping association, who's a very knowledgeable beekeeper, commented that he didn't have a good explanation for that behavior.

On Thursday, I went into the hives to make sure the queens were released. Here's what I found:

IN THE 2lb. SWARM -- Lots of bees. Much more than 2 lbs. Most of the bees were drawing comb in the empty super we had put on so we could feed, so I removed that. I noticed the queen cage lying there with a couple of dead bees inside, and none of the workers were paying any attention to it, so I assumed she had gotten out okay. However, when I inspected it a little closer, I found the queen barely alive in the candy between the opening and the chamber. So, she was alive and in the queen cage, but being totally ignored.

IN THE 3lb. SWARM -- There were maybe 20 bees clustered around the cage. The queen was still inside and alive, so I opened the other end of the cage. Then I noticed there were no bees on the frames. It's as if all the bees from the 3lb. swarm had moved over to the 2lb.

Again, our president was stumped.

Any ideas on this behavior? After some thought, our pres called me back with what I feel is the most plausible -- although highly unlikely -- explanation I've heard, and we're going to inspect the hives in the next couple of days to see if that's the case. I don't want to mention yet what that explanation is, just to see if anybody else might come up with the same possible explanation.

Any words of wisdom would be appreciated, y'all.

Thanks.
 

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Swapped queens from the two packages when they were installed. The 3# hive abandoned the wrong queen and went to the two pound hive where they smelled the queen they got used to in shipping. The 3# hive stayed put, and but ignored/killed the queen they did not recognize.

Just my guess.
 

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Quite so, they likely appreciated the queen in the 2# package much more than the queen that was with them in their own package, or like jbeshearse said.

I remember an earlier thread where someone installed many more packages near each other and in the daylight hours. This amounted to a few very populous hives and many more that had hardly any bees in them at all.

I am frequently assembling nucs from various hives, and even though they are populated primarily of nurse bees, sometimes several of the newest ones will abandon their own accommodations to join one that has a queen they like better than the ripe queen cell they've been given.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Joseph, That's a common thread with ours. We DID install them in the daylight (due to time constraints) and they're very close together.

jbeshearse, That could explain it, but we didn't even open the 3lb. until after the 2lb. was successfully installed.
 
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