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Discussion Starter #1
I just installed 2 packages of bees on Sunday and had issues with both. One, I pulled the cork out of the wrong end so then I quickly put the cage on the bottom and closed up the hive. This one seems to have lots of work going on and the queen cage is now empty so I think I'm ok.

The second, I did the queen cage correctly but after two days they had made comb around the cage and crossed it through 3 bars so I tried fixing it and left the queen cage on the bottom for them to continue freeing her. Today I looked through the window and there are at least 3 bars with some nice straight comb but it appears about 1/2 of the bees are gone. What happened and is there anything I can do?
 

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Is there a queen in it? With the cage on the bottom away from the cluster they may have lost contact with her & some bees feeling queenless, decided to drift off.

Haven't seen the hive or how things were placed so those are just guesses.
 

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As a rule when more than one package are installed in the same apiary and one loose numbers the others increase by the number lost. if it has been 3 days and the queen is still in the cage go ahead and release her.
 

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Add insult to injury. A bear destroyed my hives, went down to try and recover as much as possible. One hive needed some wood repair but the bees were all on the ground in a big mass. I put the hive back together and I got most of the bees to go back in but the comb is all gone. The other hive has a couple hundred bees in it. I have now put an electric fence around the hives. I had planned on the fence anyway but didn't think the bears would bother until there was some honey. Wrong again.

Anything I should do to try and get the bees back for the second hive?
 

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Add insult to injury. A bear destroyed my hives, went down to try and recover as much as possible. One hive needed some wood repair but the bees were all on the ground in a big mass. I put the hive back together and I got most of the bees to go back in but the comb is all gone. The other hive has a couple hundred bees in it. I have now put an electric fence around the hives. I had planned on the fence anyway but didn't think the bears would bother until there was some honey. Wrong again.

Anything I should do to try and get the bees back for the second hive?
man that sucks. Why dont you just combine and hope they take off so you can make a split soon. even if you have to buy a mated queen, this might be your best option. Im not sure a couple hundred bees are going to do anything exept perish if left to their own devices, Good Luck. G
 

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I don't have bears that come in yet but I read that's a common misconception. The bears want the protein of brood first and the honey second. A couple of hundred is so few that I'd combine them with the other hive unless you are sure they have a queen. Some bees recover remarkably from small numbers,and others don't....seems like she'd need some comb to get laying quick tho-
 

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Also remember that the population in a newly-packaged hive will naturally drop until the new brood starts to hatch-out. The standard size of a package is geared to provide enough worker-bees to survive during that initial startup period. When the brood does start to join the population, the size will expand very rapidly. But until then, it may dwindle to be quite small.
 
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