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Discussion Starter #1
I have 4 packages coming in two weeks. My problem is I find I must leave on a trip the day after installing them and will be away for two weeks. The best laid plans.....etc.

I will be installing in 8-frame mediums. I have available properly constructed foundationless frames (comb guide, etc) and a supply of PF-120 plastic wax-coated frames/foundation. My goal is to go all foundationless. Given that I must leave these new installations on their own for their first two weeks what is the better configuration (I won't be there to check for mis-aligned comb construction)?

1. All foundationless frames
2. All PF-120 frames
3. Some combination of interspersed foundationless/PF-120's

The colonies will be fed and feeders re-filled by my son in my absence, but he will not be able to monitor comb building.

Also, the bigger question: Since I will not be around for two weeks to monitor the release of the queen, it seems I have two options:

1. Hang the cages and hope she is released when I get back (replacing the cork with a small marshmallow).
2. Release her on installation (as advocated by Michael Bush) and hope for the best as far as acceptance goes.

Which would you recommend

Thanks for your advice.
 

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hello, this is what to check if bees on the outside of queen cage are bitting her cage.give 2 puffs of smoke to the new hive with installed bees place queen in cage with bees for a hour then check again.bees should be re pheromoned if bees are sticking their tounges thru the cage you can let her out.place cage as close to the frames when realseing less chance she will fly.her option is fly or retreat into the hive if she does fly she will be oreinted over the hive.better chace on retreival.oh ya i install bee packages one at a time less confusion on the bee to which hive is theirs.I leave 10 min between installs.also you can spray 1:1 sugar water on bees for less flying.
 

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I agree with the sugar water...I installed a package this saturday and i did not use my brand new smoker, i figured i would go smokeless and try sugar & water. Everything went as planned and they didnt fly hardly at all! About releasing or not releasing the queen???..Well consider this, everyday she is not released you are losing that many eggs she could have laid! I would check to see if they excepted her like frank had said look and see if they are sticking their tongue in the cage, if they are then i would release her close to the frame as possible so she doesnt fly away but they are your bees your call but thats what i would do! Good Luck!!!!
 

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Use a marshmallow for queen release and you won't have to worry about her flying away during instalation. a small fresh marshmallow will be gone in a day or so. They(3lb package) can take 2 gallons of syrup in 2 wks when they are building comb. The less they are disturbed the better.
 

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>1. All foundationless frames

It's ok.

>2. All PF-120 frames

It's ok.

>3. Some combination of interspersed foundationless/PF-120's

I'd put one PF120 in the center.

>The colonies will be fed and feeders re-filled by my son in my absence, but he will not be able to monitor comb building.

>Also, the bigger question: Since I will not be around for two weeks to monitor the release of the queen, it seems I have two options:

>1. Hang the cages and hope she is released when I get back (replacing the cork with a small marshmallow).

I would never do this with foundationless frames. The bees will get off because of the queen cage. If you insist, then put two PF120s in with the queen between them. But I would direct release the queen.

>2. Release her on installation (as advocated by Michael Bush) and hope for the best as far as acceptance goes.

Of course.
 

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From experience with new beekeepers, overzealous to check too much (myself included since 1969), your bees will be better off without you for a couple weeks to settle in their new home. It is nothing against you. They are just old enough to take care of themselves.
 

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With a new package (and bee-keeper) is it better to place the package in an empty box on top of hive w/foundation or shake the bees into hive and not have an empty super on top?
 

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It is NEVER better to put a package in an empty space above where you want them to build comb. They will simply cluster at the top (as all bees do) and build wild comb (as all bees perfer to do) in the empty space you left at the top.

I would not leave any empty space for them to build comb in for two weeks.

If you are going to go pull the package out the next day, you could get by putting the package in an empty box UNDERNEATH. But I would just shake them in. I know it's intimidating but the sooner you get used to shaking bees the better off you will be.
 

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I installed a package April 12 in a medium with all PF-120's, my first time trying them. The queen had been with the package for a least 3 days, so I just released her after shaking in the bees. Yesterday I quickly inspected the colony, 16 days later, and was pleased to find about 5 frames of beautiful fully or mostly drawn comb with lots of brood and eggs.

Based on this experience, I would use the PF 120's if I were planning a trip for two weeks. They usually build out nice comb on foundationless frames, but if they happen to get started off wrong you could have a real mess to fix up when you get back.

I'm planning to insert foundationless frames between the drawn plastic frames when the population is back up after the first brood cycle. They should make nice guides for the new comb.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
OK, got some good information. I have a last question:

I will be installing the packages tomorrow(Tuesday) and leaving for 10 days on Thursday. That gives me a little over a day. The question is whether it would be advantagious to keep the queen in her cage for a day and then release her rather than releasing her directly on installation.

Possible upside: the bees get a little more time to get used to her before she is released.

Possible downside: Disrupting the bees so soon after installation.

Thanks,
 

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By the time you hive them tomorrow, how much time will they have spent with the queen? If they've been together 48 hours+, then theoretically they should be close to accepting the queen.

My package was assembled on a Saturday, I received & hived it the next Monday afternoon (I figured that was close to 48 hours), but I left the queen in the cage even though they were bearding around her when I lifted the cage out of the package. I did replace the corks with mini-marshmallows, and when I checked Wednesday morning, she had been released.

Any way you can check before you leave on Thursday?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well, I ended up releasing all 4 queens after leaving the cage in the hive for 48 hours and then left for France hoping for the best. They were well fed in my absense. Returned home after 11 days and took a look (3 8-frame mediums and a topbar hive). They had almost filled the boxes and the topbar hive had almost 12 frames drawn. Nice brood pattern with some capped. On one hive I used all pf120's and the other two I placed one pf120 in the center for a guide with every other frame foundationless. They clearly favored the foundationless frames and all comb was perfectly drawn. In the topbar hive I had pinned a trianguar bevel to the bar and all comb was perfectly drawn. I'm impresssed.

Lots of syrup stored and capped. As an experiment I had placed both bottom and side slatted racks in the lang hives. I was astonished to see that they had drawn out comb on the outside of the outermost frames in preference to some of the inner frames, so maybe those side racks really work (thanks, Joseph Clemens).

Checked them again today and found good brood patterns throughout, but they had uncapped some of their stores, so syrup goes back on today along with second brood box.

Speaking of feeding I placed a 2 quart jar of syrup over a center hole, and in the corners I placed jar feeders with a brass nipple soldered in the center of the cover. This was placed through 3/16 holes drilled in the corners of the feeder board (I saw this feeder design on Randy Oliver's website). They drained these corner jars multiple times but barely touched the center, traditionally set up jar. This is good to know; now I can just drill holes in the regular covers and when not in use plug with a screw. It can't get more simple that that.

Anyway all ended well and thanks for the advice given.

Cy
 

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I have questions about the queen being released. How long can she live in the cage? If accepted? If not accepted?
If the bees accept her will she always be released or will they fail to release her occassionally? Why would we ever release her, especially on undrawn foundation when installing a new pkg?

Thanks, in advance.
 

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When I checked the new installation after 5 days, the bees had built a comb that attached to the top bar of existing frame with new foundation. the comb extends half-way down the side of the foundation, so near that I don't think a bee could get between comb and foundation. It has pollen in it. Should I cut it out, move the frame to the outer frame or ??
 
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