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Thank you Michael, for your good advice about not exiling (new) packages of bees to the cold, wet back of a pickup truck for a 4-hour ride. I guess you brought about a change in my thinking by reminding me the packages are built to endure handling in the Post Office. I hadn't really thought about what that implied until reading your post.

Remembering what FDR said about "The only thing we have to fear is Fear Itself" I decided to keep the bees up front with me. I asked the Dadant dealer guys if I could buy a couple of Epi-pens while I was there just to "be prepared" for the ride home, and I got the blank looks on the faces. "Mister, you have to get those from a drugstore!" sez they. Must have been somebody else's catalog — Brushy Mtn (?)— I saw the epi-pens in. Turns out that was utterly unnecessary.

So once home I brought the packages into a warm dark room in the basement to wait until we get enough of a break in the rain (tomorrow, I hope) to put them out in the yard. Got the whole family a-buzz to have them inside the house, as up to this point beekeeping has been my interest, with no engagement by wife or daughters. I have been grateful for an occasional helping hand from my grown eldest son.

My question for today: can you put a package into a hive (with drawn combs) in light or intermittent rain? I have always been told not to mess with the bees when it is raining. In fact, anytime I was trying to do "just one more thing" with the boxes open as a storm was moving in, I got a sting or two for a reminder that I had overstayed my welcome. But the guy at the Dadant outlet today scoffed at my statement that being that tomorrow is expected to rain, I would probably have the bees in the basement until Wednesday. He was saying "don't wait, just put them in the boxes the minute you get home; don't worry about the rain." Well, the sun is presently setting, and with the temperatures rapidly dropping and the wind kicking up — and pelting down rain, it's miserable for a grown man outside at the moment, so I am not considering taking his advice. The bees are acting pretty quiet at the moment, so I am going to wait for a little better conditions.

But I was curious what your opinion about putting a package out in the field with rain falling would be.

Again, thanks for the quick answer. Sometimes I have to hear my bad ideas come bouncing back to me from someone who knows more than I do to realize I haven't thought things out all the way.
 
G

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Of course you can install packages, make splits, install
queens, and so on in the rain. Rain when it is near
freezing might be risky, but certainly not when it is
40ish or above.

You certainly will encounter a higher level of defensive
behavior when working any established hive in the rain,
but a package has nothing to defend.

> Well, the sun is presently setting, and with the temperatures
> rapidly dropping and the wind kicking up — and pelting down rain,
> it's miserable for a grown man outside at the moment...

As long as your package gets a spray of water on the screen, they
will be fine. The fellow at Dadant was 100% correct, but if
there is no compelling reason to work in the cold and rain, why
bother? The bees won’t mind waiting until tomorrow.
 

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"you certainly will encounter a higher level of defensive behavior when working any established hive in the rain"

LOL; this guy has a sense of humor and a doctorate in understatement, but I agree that putting a package in a prepared hive is no big deal, rain or shine.
Ox
 

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I agree all the way around. If it's miserable and the bees haven't been in the cage that long, I'll just make sure they have food (the can isn't empty) and probably put some syrup on the screen until they take all of that and assume they will keep until tommorow.

There actually is an advantage to putting them in in inclimate weather. The bees will stay in the hive and get settled because they can't fly and the longer they stay the more likely they won't abscond. But they hardly ever do that anyway.

The biggest disadvantage (other than gruumpy bees) is that the ones in the cage etc. are hard to get into the hive anyway and on a nice day you can just lay the package in front of the hive and they will wander in. On a cold day they will get cold and die before that happens.

All in all, "everthing works if you let it" (Art Carney in Roadie).

Michael
 

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Mark
based on the weather here in Ohio and what I saw on the weather channel this morning just have another cup of coffee and wait a few days. I am a beginner too, but IMO they will do better in your basement with some syrup brushed on the screen than in this Northeaster we are getting, and you will be a lot happier too! It was snowin in Tennessee this morning!
David
 
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