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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just checked on the package I installed Monday afternoon. Queen's out of the cage, and everyone was very busy. Since I followed the "package in the deep" method, I had to take out 6 frames to make room for it. As a result, there were a couple good sized pieces of burr comb (about the size of my hand) hanging from the inner cover into the empty space.

I brushed the bees off the burr comb & made sure the queen wasn't amongst the populace there. Then I put the 6 combs back inside in their correct order (I have them numbered).

Here's my question: All 10 frames I gave them have drawn comb. Since they're so enthusiastic about drawing wax right now, should I give them some new frames & foundation to keep them busy? Should I put a few in the original deep, or start a new deep on top (with a queen excluder between)? I'm trying to keep the queen crowded as I'm hoping for a split the first week of June.
 

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Personally I wouldn't crowd them. But since you just installed a package, you will have less and less bees for the next three weeks until your new bees start hatching.

I would give them all drawn comb and leave them in a single deep box. By the first of June the population will be increasing. You might have enough bees by that time to get two 5 frame nucs (or 5 drawn frames with bees and brood in a deep) for each split.
 

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single deep should be good for four weeks, they will have to much to defend from intruders with dwindling numbers if you add another super, I guess you did not have ten frames in when you dumped the package. They will fit. I have pictures of the process at www.americasbeekeeper.com/2010_Gallery.htm They are the last images from the swarms, splits and package bees workshop at USF.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
No, I didn't have all 10 frames in because I didn't "dump" the package. As per other suggestions, I removed the queen cage, set the package down inside the hive body, and let the bees come out on their own. Worked very well--when I checked to see if the queen had been released & removed the package container, there were only a small handful of dead bees in the bottom. All the live ones had vacated. That's when I put back the 6 remaining frames.

I just didn't expect them to be drawing the comb that fast. I use a SBB with a reducer at the entrance, and I'm not seeing any attempts at robbing yet. I'm not sure how many pounds the package was, but it was pretty full of bees. Doesn't look like I lost too many in the install.

I'm still using the syrup can that they came with, although if there's any left tomorrow, I'll open it & dump what's left into my Miller-style feeder. They've been lapping the stuff up for sure--the pieces of natural comb were directly under the opening for the inner cover, and within an inch of the syrup can.
 

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Drawn comb is a huge head start for a package. I would not deprive them of that. But you could feed an empty frame into the brood nest from time to time to get some nice natural sized comb and some more drawn comb.
 

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I agree, a frame of foundation in 3 or 7 isn't likely to disturb them much, and since there is little or no brood to tend, it will give them something to do instead of standing around getting in trouble..
 

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Foundation inserted at positions 3-5-7 will look like this:
D = drawn comb and F = foundation

D D F D F D F D D D
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Now you have your foundation between drawn combs and they will act like guides.
Feed your bees 2:1 syrup so that it's easier for them to make wax.
They will be actively building comb and as their brood nest enlarges their flight will slow down because they have to keep it warm.

Good luck,
Ernie
 

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How's that for some different opinions! It was suggested to me by 3 very experienced commercial bee raisers (not migratory), that undrawn foundation and pollen-filled frames were a slow-down for brood expansion with a new package, and to place some capped honey (since I have some) close to the center of the 'cluster' (ie 4 & 7) for feed.

I'll hive my packages Saturday or Sunday, so just looking for some other comments. Is it alright to immediately start feeding via hive-top frame feeder and just discard the package can feeder from the get-go?
 
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