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Packaged Bees - Smoke or not to Smoke

2147 Views 10 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  larrybeach
So I received my package on Wednesday and installed in the new hive. As of today, the queen will have been in her cage for 7 days. I need to check and make sure she is released and if not, then I need to pull the other cork and release her.

Do I smoke the hive or not? It appears to me that smoking would be useless this early with limited or no honey stores, but would like feedback from those of you in the know.

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No smoke until they get well established. No sense in giving them another reason to bug out.
I would have the smoker lit, and close by. I doubt very much if you will need to smoke them at this point, but nothing is lost by having it lit and immediately available in the unlikely event that you find them extremely cranky.
No Smoke. If you popped the cork on the candy, chances are good they have eaten through and released her.
I agree with no smoke. In the case of packages, and especially since you know when the queen was placed in the package. I simply release the queen into the hive, she has been with the bees for several days, by then they have already accepted her. In that way you can leave the bees alone for a week to let them sort things out and prepare their new home. Without stressing them any more than necessary. Works for me.
>I would have the smoker lit, and close by.

Agreed. A little smoke in the air is helpful and it's always nice to have some handy. Probably no need to blow it in the hive though.
Queen was close to being released by the bees. I gave them some help and pulled to cork from her side of the cage. Moved the feeder to the top and reduced lower opening. Didn't need smoke. Hive was fairly calm throughout the process. One other thing I noticed when I have the cover off. There were many bees with Pollen in the hive and more foragers coming home with pollen. They had also started building up combs on multiple frames. This only on the 3rd day. That's a good sign.

I live in Florida, so the nectar has been flowing strong for a couple of weeks.
I'm confused...

The cork should of been removed at DAY 1 when you installed the package. Cork is removed and replaced with sugar candy. The bees eat through the candy to free the Queen.

If you left the cork in at install, the bees would be unable to free the queen (they cannot chew through cork).

Perhaps I misunderstood your post.
there are 2 corks in the queen cage. One gives direct access to the queen and the other allows access to the sugar candy so the bees can eat through to free the queen. I opened the candy side when I installed the package on Wednesday. But today is day 7 for the queen in the cage due to shipping time and so she needed to be released if the bees had not completed the task of eating through the candy. So, I pulled the cork from the queen side of the cage to free here immediately.
Interesting, I didn't know they had queen cages with double openings.

The bees ate through my queen cage in 2 days.

Keep in mind that packaged bees have already been together for a few days, so if they free the queen in 2 or 3 days - enough time has probably elapsed (TOTAL) for them to accept her.
As has already been said, having a lit smoker close by is a always a good idea when working bees. Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.
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