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My wife and I just got our bee package yesterday and installed them in a top bar hive. Pulled the wrong plug from the queen cage and plug fell apart so just hung the cage and hope for the best. A bunch (size of my hand) clumped up in the grass beside the hive and stayed all night. When the sun hit them this morning they seemed mostly fine.

There's a lot of activity around the hive and they are flying all over this afternoon. Can't hardly walk to or work in our garden without having several buzzing around our ears and getting in our hair. Stung on the wrist, not bad, in my temple, that hurt :eek:. Are they likely just riled up because it's a new place, etc. ? Sorry if this is a silly noob question, since they do so much by smell do they have to get used to our smell to know we belong?
 

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I'd give them a bit. Once they get settled and start foraging they might settle down. Keep an eye on that queen.
 

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I'm sure you are seeing a lot of orientation flights. Do they have syrup feed?

Bees will use up to 10 meters (35 feet) from the hive entrance as a flyway to get up to altitude. If that flyway is over your garden then it will be a perpetual problem for working in it. If there is a barrier such as a fence, bush, tree, etc., a few feet from the hive entrance they will spiral up to elevation.

When they do come buzzing practice not reacting to them. They aren't hunting you, they are looking for food. But when people start to duck, dance, wave, and swat they start to get defensive. This is good practice for having them landing on and crawling on you.

The bees that ship in a package are not genetically the daughters of the queen. They may be more defensive than her offspring will be. Give it some time. I hived a package in 2016 that was meaner than hell, but the queen was amazing. In 2017 and 2018 they were gentle as could be. That queen has three winters under her belt and has laid up 6 frames in her brood chamber right now. She is getting grafted as soon as I get some drones.
 

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Yes, I put a quart of syrup in the hive with them yesterday. Would they have eaten all that already?

Thanks for the advise, they sure seemed to follow me around. I could stand beside a peach tree in bloom and they didn't seem the least bit interested in that, just pestering me. I'm sure we'll get used to each other eventually.
 

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Experience will teach you the different sounds of a bee just doing its bee-thing compared to a bee intent on teaching you a lesson. Once you can tell the difference by ear, you will be able to be more relaxed around them.

A useful technique for separating yourself from lesson-teaching bees is to walk through low hanging branches. It isn't 100% effective, but most of the time when you emerge from the foliage the bees have ended the chase, even when they could still see you. You don't have to go deep into the forest, often just stepping halfway under some branches will do the trick.

You cannot outrun a bee.

Many people imagine that it would be nice to have a picturesque hive just on the edge of their garden. In general, this is a bad idea, because for most of the time the bees see the space as theirs and they resent your presence. If you must have the hive there, turn it around so that the exit hole doesn't face your work area. Do that now while they are still sorting themselves out. It will be harder to change their patterns later. (Not impossible, but just more of an upset, and taking longer.)

For women with long or loose, fluffy, hairstyles, always wearing a scarf or hat is very important in keeping the bees out of your hair. Resign yourself to giving a hair-burrowing bee a sharp smack to put it (and you) out its misery. It is very difficult for even the most patient human to extricate a bee from their hair. I work my bees barehanded, so I am quite at home handling them. But most of the time even I am unable to get one out safely, and without stinging. I am not worried about the stings which I am accustomed to, I just regret that the bee will die as a result. So I wear hats, scarves, or my veil to keep them out of peril.

I often nap with my feet up on the hive stand - nothing is as soporific to me than the steady hum of a busy and contented hive. But I always have a hat and veil on while napping. It's kind of fun to wake up and find a several dozen bees peering in through the veil trying to deduce what strange creature is sleeping on their doorstep.

Nancy
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you, Nancy, that's a lot of information. Experience is usually a good teacher, she's also usually slower than I'd like. I don't know if I'll ever feel comfortable napping on their doorstep.
 

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For women with long or loose, fluffy, hairstyles, always wearing a scarf or hat is very important in keeping the bees out of your hair. Resign yourself to giving a hair-burrowing bee a sharp smack to put it (and you) out its misery. It is very difficult for even the most patient human to extricate a bee from their hair. I work my bees barehanded, so I am quite at home handling them. But most of the time even I am unable to get one out safely, and without stinging. I am not worried about the stings which I am accustomed to, I just regret that the bee will die as a result. So I wear hats, scarves, or my veil to keep them out of peril.
I have had a bee get stuck in my beard and get me in the chin. It was not fun. Keep this in mind if you have a beard.
 

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Welcome slorimor! Good advice has been given. I'd venture a guess that they will calm down in time, and you will also. I got my first bees 3 years ago and was a little freaked out the day I hived them and wondered if I was going to be able to be a beekeeper. They were 10 million killer bees flying around like crazy kamikazis . Cartoon images of a gigantic black swarm chasing me around filled my head. It took them a few days to calm down and considerably longer for me. But it will come with time and experience and a few stings. Your'e already 1/3 there. J
 

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Nancy is not the only one that naps in the middle of the apiary. The buzzing is very relaxing and I have taken many summer afternoon naps with the bees after working the hives.
I was a little concerned that you both opened the wrong end of the cage and had a handful of bees on the ground overnight. Are you sure the queen was still in the cage? A hive can get a little testy when their queen goes missing.
 

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Welcome slorimor! Good advice has been given. I'd venture a guess that they will calm down in time, and you will also. I got my first bees 3 years ago and was a little freaked out the day I hived them and wondered if I was going to be able to be a beekeeper. They were 10 million killer bees flying around like crazy kamikazis . Cartoon images of a gigantic black swarm chasing me around filled my head. It took them a few days to calm down and considerably longer for me. But it will come with time and experience and a few stings. Your'e already 1/3 there. J
Thanks, Fivej, yes, 1/3 of those requirements has been met, I like that. I was calm when I hived them Sunday, but then so were they. Yesterday not so much.
 

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Nancy is not the only one that naps in the middle of the apiary. The buzzing is very relaxing and I have taken many summer afternoon naps with the bees after working the hives.
I was a little concerned that you both opened the wrong end of the cage and had a handful of bees on the ground overnight. Are you sure the queen was still in the cage? A hive can get a little testy when their queen goes missing.
All I know is that the queen was in the cage when I put the cage in the hive. I don't know yet if she stayed there. Bought the package from a local supplier who informed us that their supplier didn't mark the queen as we had requested. I'll open the hive Wednesday to pull out the cage. What are the odds a novice like me can find the queen?
 

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I would say the odds of you finding the Queen are very high, after they have drawn some comb. She will be hard to find until then because they will be festooning and she will probably be in within the mass of bees. Searching for the Queen at this point would be very disruptive to them.

I would peek into the hive to see if they are massed on the underside of the bars. This would be an indication they are becoming organized.

This is what they look like on new comb; 023 (800x569).jpg

Good luck,
Alex
 

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Thanks, Alex. 75 degrees plus today and they seem to have ventured out further. Not as alarmed when I walk through the yard like maybe they have other business to attend to.

I've got a observation window I can open on the side of the hive. I'm going to peek inside after dark and see what I can see.

Scott
 

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Scott, I would recommend not messing with the bees after dark. They get highly defensive and could stay that way for several days afterwards. They also might come out and crawl around. I learned my lesson last year, not something I would ever want to repeat.
 

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Scott, I would recommend not messing with the bees after dark. They get highly defensive and could stay that way for several days afterwards. They also might come out and crawl around. I learned my lesson last year, not something I would ever want to repeat.
Thanks for that advise, I'll remember that! I already was too anxious to wait and just checked before I saw your message; looks like the full wad surrounding the area of the queen cage. Paraphrasing your tagline: They may be on their way in spite of me.
 
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