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Package installation

1244 Views 4 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Michael Bush
Ok, i am probably just looking for reassurance, but...

I am getting 2 packages that I intend to install into top bar hives. When I install in langs, I leave the queen caged for 3 days before releasing her. This has always worked fine and I have never had any problems with drifting or absconding.

I have heard that with top bars it is best just to direct release the queen so as not to get bad wax. I'm a bit nervous about realeasing my package into a box with no comb or anything and expecting it to go well.

Is direct release really the best bet here? Should I cut down some lang comb to give them a comfortable place to get started?

Thanks for any advice to a new top bar keeper with decent lang experience
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If you decide you are going to hang the cage you should do something like this. remove the cork, remove the candy and put in a little bit of marshmallow. They can get through it quicker. Hang the queen and go back into it in a few hours, or maybe the next morning. She should be released at that point, and there shouldn't be much comb made at that point. If you leave it for a week you are going to have the cage embedded in comb and it can cause them to cross comb.
I prefer to hang the cage. I dump the bees in the hive, take the bar that the queen cage is hung from (about 2" down from the bar) and dip her in the pile of bees so a bunch grab on to her cage, then I put the top bar in place, the other bars in place and close up the hive. After a couple of days I just go back and make sure she is out. If the cage is a bit embedded in the wax, it's no big deal, I just pull it out. I hasn't caused any more wonky comb issues for me than the bees normally create.
I hung all of my cages. Removed them 2 days later. They did not build any stray comb on the cages. But they are build in some burr comb on my frame feeder.
You can hedge your bets and use 1/4 of a miniature marshmallow for the hole (assuming either the non-candy end or a California cage with no candy) and put the queen cage on the bottom of the hive. They will have her out fairly quickly so there shouldn't be an issue with her being left on the bottom but she won't have the chance to fly while you are installing them..
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