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Discussion Starter #1
I am thinking about getting a package of bees to start two hives. The question is, should I get a #3 package and then split it later, get a #4 package and split it later, or get a #4 package and split it from the start? I am leaning towards getting a #4 package and splitting as they build up. I already have drawn out comb. Thanks for the input!
 

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Is it naive to think the packages are already optimally sized? You have the advantage of already having drawn combs, but I've observed in my hives that if there is not enough bees to cover the combs, then the queen won't lay in them anyway, so your buildup rate is still slow. Do you have SHB up there? They are bad down here, and I have to take great care not to give a hive more combs than they can handle. If I do overwhelm the bees they almost always fall victim to SHB as the beetles lay up in the neglected combs.

I agree with Burns. Let them build up, and maybe even let them start to draw queen cells for you for swarming. Then, rather than swarm, move the EXISTING queen and half the bees to a new hive (the split) and leave the existing half with the queen cells (reduce to 3-4 cells). As far as the bees are concerned, the swarm took place, but you don't lose them! Doing this also saves you 1.5 weeks of a queenless hive if you were to perform a cutback split instead. Or I guess you can just buy a mated queen and split whenever you think you're ready. Good luck!
 

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It all comes down to how much time you have before you have to have your hive built up for your honey flow. If you get you bees in May and your flow is done by the end of May then you need to start with a 5#+ package. I only start with a 2 lb package, but I install them around the third week of March. Then they have time for to build up and be ready for the main flow in early June.

So the question would be when are you going to get your bees???:scratch:
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
The price difference is $105 #3 and $120 #4. So I am planning on getting a package, letting it build up and then splitting it. Thanks for the help. I guess my only question would be, is there really a difference between a #3 and a #4 package?
 

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>is there really a difference between a #3 and a #4 package?

Are you getting them by mail? Survival rate is very variable by USPS. Are they coming in a large local delivery? These are often in a climate controled truck and are usually in very good shape. By mail I might favor the 4# package because of bee losses from abuse and overheating. By truck I think the 3# is just as good.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I will be getting them by truck within 2 days of when the are dumped in the package. Thank you for the reply. Also, MB do you have any suggestions on making an upper entrance robber screen? Or do you just block the entrance for a day or two? Sorry, I know it's off topic.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
On your hives you don't have a landing board, so do you just tape it to the top and bottom of the entrance and leave a side or both open? That's what I did last year and I'm not sure it worked the best, so I was just trying to figure something else out. Thanks!
 
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