Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 20 of 30 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
864 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I did a search on installing multiple packages at once. I am installing 4 on the same day. I am told the bees should be ready to pick up in the first week of april. My concern is drifting. I do have some room where I can put the new hives in 4 corners of the bee yard which would give me lots of room between hives. I really don't want to do it this way. I read an article online about another method. The person in this article removes 4 frames from the hive, and instead of shaking the bees into the hive, he just opens the package and installs the package itself in the hive body, then installs the queen, and closes up the hive. He then screens off entrances for a couple of days so no bees can leave. My concerns with this method are:
1 what happens if the bees need to fan the entrance to manipulate temperature/moisture?
2 my frames and foundation are brand new and not drawn out. Will this be wasting valuable time that they need to get to work?

I just need a little input and opinions on this approach to installing multiple packages. I saw a post and pictures on here where the guys bees all ended up in one hive. I really don't want that to happen.

If installing them at the far corners of the bee yard is the best option, how do I then relocate them to the new permanent location after they have acclimated to the temporary set up?

I did search around a bit on the forum and found all different approaches to doing this and variations of those approaches, but I haven't seen anyone discuss the method of installing the actual package itself. Any advice or opinions on this approach that I am planning is greatly appreciated

todd
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
647 Posts
1 stop worrying so much about drifting. set up your hives where you want them to stay. moving them later is just a pain.
2 install all 4 packages at one time. again stop worrying
3 hang the queen cage between 2 frames (this should require removing 1 frame until she is released) and shake the bee's on top of her. Just go slow putting the cover on untill most of the bee's have found there way down between the frames. You can set the package cage in front of the hive over night and the rest will find there way in.
3 get feed on them and leave them alone for a few days. check the queen cage after about 5 days. If she is not out release her.
4 set up your hives a few of ft apart is fine. Face the entrances to the south so they get sun all day
5 dont block the entrances. the bee's have already spent enough time with the caged queen to start calling her mom. Also fanning to keep a colony cool in NJ in april aint going to happen. the bee's might fan the queen phermone out to the stragglers that didn't shake out
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
523 Posts
I'd put the hives where you want them initially.

Putting the package in the hive, either by removing a few frames or sitting it sideways on top of the frames with an empty box over it is a common enough practice in these parts.

Feed them and they'll get right to work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,183 Posts
Leaving the package cage in the colony often results in a god awful mess of cross combs and huge disruption to remove it. Listen to Danno and Mr. Bush and don't overcomplicate things. It is really simple. I'm stupid and I have released hundreds of packages and it is just not difficult. The only sugar plum that you might add is to have a spray bottle of 1:1 sugar syrup to very lightly spray the bees with before closing the lid.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
864 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you all for your advice. I will do as most suggest here and just shake em in there. Close to dusk and mist them a bit seem like logical approaches. Thanks again.

Todd
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
647 Posts
The spray bottle and waiting until late in the day are 2 important things I missed in my above post. As for direct releasing the queens as Camero7 does. Most likely this will work because as I stated up above they bee's have already spent alot of time with her in the package cage. The advantages of direct release are you dont have to mess with them for a week or even better 2. You dont have the missing frame to make room for the queen cage that within a day they will fill with wonky comb. Its up to you. I'm in the hang the cage and let them release her group. Heres another tip if you direct release at install or after a few days and they have not set her free. BE CARFUL! Queens can slip out fast and fly. If this happens dont take your eyes off her. She will circle a couple of times and land somewhere near where you can pick her up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,183 Posts
Fixing drift is pretty easy. Just swap the locations of the strongest and weakest hive. If they completely abandon one queen then she probably wasn't mated. If you have other hives a frame of open brood will anchor packages or swarms.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
864 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
A lot of really good info here. I don't intend to over due it with the sugar water mist. I saw a video on youtube, and the guy was just going to town on them with the mist. He said that you really can't put too much on them, so don't be shy. Even as a novice, I kinda disregarded that info.

danno, I think I am going to follow your advice regarding the queen. I think it is easier to deal with wonky comb, then it is to track down an elusive queen.

Thank you all for the info.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
523 Posts
Sitting the package sideways on top of a full box of frames with an empty box over that is how I learned. I carefully put a little hole through the candy to expedite release rather than direct release, and put the queen cage on top of the frames too. No missing frames and no wonky comb built by the next day when I come back to remove the package and check on the queen. Having lost a queen when I tried to direct release, I tend to be overly cautious.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,231 Posts
My 2 cents, and at the risk of reigniting a holy war, I strongly recommend new beekeepers, or others who have apprehension about dealing with package bees to NOT direct release the queen. Sure its done all the time by folks with experience, but if these colonies are nearby and you're going to be checking in often there is very little to gain with the direct release. Follow the guidance by Danno. And yes, go very easy on the spray bottle, particularly if its cold during install.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,183 Posts
I agree. The caged queen will help to hold the package to the hive, and by the time that they release her in 3-5 days they will have built some comb that she can start laying in asap and oriented on the hive location. The standard, unmodified (by poking holes) candy release works. Haste makes waste.
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,120 Posts
>The caged queen will help to hold the package to the hive

In my experience it will not. They will move next door and leave her in the cage if they don't care for her. They will stay if they like her. They will do the same whether she is caged or not. The last time I installed packages I left five queens in cages to see (I usually direct release). 3 of the five moved next door.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,183 Posts
So, you believe that if you dump bulk bees into an empty hive with no queen they are just as likely to stay as they would if there was a caged queen in there?

If the queen is good they will probably stay with her. If the queen is no good (or there is one next door that is a lot more attractive) they probably won't. Either way if the queen leaves then the bees probably will too. The cage just keeps the queen in the hive for a while.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,231 Posts
The caged queen will help to hold the package to the hive
In my experience it does. There's more than one reason a package may leave. Sure if they don't like the queen from their package you've got trouble. However, sometimes bees like the queen just fine, but don't like the location, or the brand new woodenware, or the bare foundations, or the pressure from other colonies, etc...

If they like the queen, keeping her caged will possibly tip the balance in your favor. Isn't that what we attempt do as beekeepers?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,208 Posts
I installed packages side by side in a row last year...figured if they drift they drift. All did just fine:)
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,120 Posts
>So, you believe that if you dump bulk bees into an empty hive with no queen they are just as likely to stay as they would if there was a caged queen in there?

I have no idea what you are talking about. No one has suggested putting bees into an empty hive with no queen.

>If the queen is good they will probably stay with her. If the queen is no good (or there is one next door that is a lot more attractive) they probably won't.

Yes.

> Either way if the queen leaves then the bees probably will too. The cage just keeps the queen in the hive for a while.

I've never had the queen leave. I've had her left behind to die. I've seen one new package install (with direct release) that seemed to be contemplating absconding and I put four drops of lemongrass in the hive and they settled down. Most just drift next door.
 
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
Top