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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We installed a 3 pound package of Italians Friday evening just before sun down. We read conflicting advice on what to do with the queen, so we decided to place her on the bottom board (screened) with a marshmallow plug. We had originally planned to put in some frames of honey from another hive with them, but since it was so close to dark and was going to be nice the next day, we didn't. Just put a top feeder with them. Well it was not nice the next day and when we checked the new hive, they were not taking any syrup. My concerns are this:
Would they have protected the queen from cold until they got her out? Getting down to 31 at night and windy.
Even though we are only having highs of 55-58 and cloudy weather, should we pull honey frames from another hive and disturb the new hive? I feel like they are going to starve if we don't. No nice weather predicted for the next week.
How long does it take them to get the queen out typically?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Forgot to mention they are in two Westerns - bottom Western has drawn out comb, top does not.
 

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I would scratch open the frames of honey and place them as close as possible to the cluster. If you could fill some comb with syrup that might be appreciated as well.
 

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Placing your queen, in her cage, on the screen of the bottom board = seriously chilled, possibly dead queen. There is a very slight chance that the bees abandoned clustering in the combs to protect and care for the queen (I wouldn't bet on it).

If you had placed the queen near the tops of the combs, where the bees will be clustered, they often release her in one to three days.

I've never seen bees stay with a queen trapped in a cage, they always seem to assume she'll accompany them to safety, not reasoning that the cage will prevent her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I was worried about that. We are going to open them up today, give some honey and try to figure out what happened with the queen. Thank you both for the input.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
We opened them just long enough to slip in 4 frames of honey and a pollen patty and see that the queen cage was empty. We removed it and are hopeful she is alive in there somewhere. We'll have to check back for eggs in a week or so. They are doing their first flight patterns, so all seems well for now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
All seems to be well, we opened the hive the other day and found lots of eggs and pollen. We got a free lesson on that experience!
 

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Good to hear! And by sharing the experience on this forum, several of us got a free lesson.

I installed two packages (queen cage hanging from the top of the frames where they should be clustering) last Saturday and the temp hasn't risen above 45 since. Hope my inspection turns out as well as yours did!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Oh good, I'm glad it was helpful to someone. There is quite the learning curve to beekeeping. Good luck to your hives, I'm sure they knew just what to do.
 
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