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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I installed 2 packages on Thursday evening ... it was my first time, with brand new hives and no drawn comb on pf120 foundation. Everything went pretty much as I expected I think, no major surprises and the queens were alive. I closed the hives up and left them be. I went around today to check them out and I found that one hive seemed to have a fair bit of activity, bees buzzing around it ... the other one not so much. I also noticed that the few bees that didn't make it into the hive from the package tubes, were still in the tubes, kind of clustered together here and there. I dumped them out again around their respective hives in hopes they might find them ... but they looked pretty "sleepy" - perhaps sluggish or even sick (like they couldn't fly).

Anyway, I'm a bit worried there might be some disease there (nosema perhaps?). As a newbie I'm just ITCHING to open the hives, but i'm restraining myself because I don't want to make the mistake of messing with the hives and have them abscond on me as a result. I really want to check if the hive with less activity is fairing OK though ... when's the earliest I should crack them open? I'm thinking i'll wait 3 days, and then do the brief inspection (and release the queen if necessary) which would be Sunday. Does that make sense? If I'm worried about some disease or problem should i check earlier or would that be of little benefit at this point?
 

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Oh the excitement. The girls are likely just in the equivalent of a huddle mode. If you stay back after the queens are in there and allow them to work their magic, they'll continue to amaze. But right now they ar still sort of humming with the calling of a play in the huddle. That is likely the reason for that appearance of sluggishness.

Have you ever been so happy to see people around you say that their allergies are back? :)
 

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Be Patient Padawan! good things come to those who wait. Leave the package in contact with the hive, If there are nurse bees left they may not know how to fly, and will walk into the hive. let them do their bee thing and resist bothering then, Check to see if the queen is released on Sunday release her if she is not and go no further. keep 1 to1 syrup on the hive and give them a few weeks. I know it is hard but give them a chance to settle in, You will be glad you did
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks everyone! For a quick check and queen cage removal, is smoke necessary? I've literally never cracked open a hive before, so don't know what to expect at this stage of the game.
 

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Depends on the hive. My first year I thought I would just crack the hive and pull the cage, no smoke, and the bees chased me across the yard. That hive turned out to be quite aggressive. I would light the smoker and have it close by. I hived a package today too. It's better than Christmas!
 

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I agree with the advice. Just leave them be for now. Hopefully you're feeding them. Only other advice I would have is if for some reason it doesn't take, get a locally produced nuc next time...

(He says dashing for the exit :D)
 

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Yeah, local nucs are the best option, but we hived three packages today. I had a nuc reserved, but the supplier lost almost all his hives this winter so I opted for an extra one from Kelley at the end of the day.

Some things to watch for when hiving packages:

Orientation flights. This is a good sign that the bees like their new home since they are preparing to forage tomorrow.

Bees fanning outward near the entrance with their tails up in the air. They are fanning Nasanov pheremone, which is the indication that they are telling the rest of the bees that "this is home".

Bearding or excessive flying -- a sign that they don't like the hive and are planning to move out. They won't go without the queen, but once she is out they may take off. You may not be able to stop them.

Lots of fighting on the landing board. A sign that "foreign" bees found the syrup in the new hive and are attempting to rob it. Best way to prevent this is to use a hivetop feeder of some sort and a small entrance. More of a problem if you are using full combs of honey from a deadout, but an entrance (Boardman) feeder can induce robbing.

I didn't have many bees flying from my package today, but I wasn't surprised since it was pretty cold. The bees were tightly clustered in the package and stayed in the hive. Not a bad thing, especially when just hived.

Peter
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Went back today to remove the queen cages and do a general quick check and was pretty happy with what I saw. Both hives were full of busy, active bees, the queens were already out of their cages and there was comb being drawn on a couple of the frames. It was a decent day today and there was almost traffic jam on both the bottom and top entrances with bees trying to get in and out ... it quieted down considerably later though. There was some fanning with the tails up in the air, so I'm hoping we're good to go! Oh, and they'd downed about 2 inches deep of sugar syrup from the frame feeders (in both hives) in the 3 days since they were installed. I also have a jar feeder on each hive as well (wasn't sure which they'd take to more), but it doesn't look like they're using the top jar feeders at all ... I'm guessing because the frame feeders are so much easier for them?
 

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A cautionary note: Be careful not to feed excessively. If they get fed too much, they will become "honeybound" and the queen will have no place to lay.
I feed for a week or so on my new packages, then pull the feeders. Where you live, you may have to feed until nectar starts flowing.
 
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