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Problem with packaged bees

2343 Views 5 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  G3farms
Basically we got 2 packages of bees. They arrived in fine condition. This is our first time experiencing packaged bees. We put the bees in 2 hives at the same time according to the instructions that I found on Originally they were 30 feet apart, before moving them to the bee yard next to each other, one hour after introducing the bees to the hives. Within 48 hours one hive seemed to have 3/4 of the bees and the other hive had only 1/4 of them. We've been feeding the bees and they've been taking the sugar water as instructed. 2 weeks later I went in to check how the queens were doing. One hive with now barely 2000 bees has a laying queen and she is fine, just low numbers. The other hive with about 15,000 bees is queenless with no eggs being laid at all.

Any suggestions on what happened and what we should do?
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I would take a frame of eggs from the other hive when they have enough and let them make a queen. Seems they wanted to supercede, and tried, but had no eggs. Had the same problem last year with a swarm......either that, or you could order them a queen.....

IMO, your one hive is so weak that they cannot afford to loose a frame of eggs. Although the suggestion above might work, if I were you I would do a newspaper combine and just make one strong hive. Yes, you could order the strong hive a queen, but that weak hive is really going to struggle to get established and it would be weeks before any eggs/brood were available from the strong hive for you to supplement the weak hive with. Even then you would'nt want to take too many, as the bees in that hive will be getting quite old and numbers will be dwindling. None of the options seem great to me, but I think the combine is your best one at this point.

Originally, the queen in the now queenless hive probably smelled better (to the bees) than the other queen did, which would explain why most went to that hive. It seems that for one reason or another, though, she ended up dead.

Good luck to you!

Chris Harvey--Teakwood Organics
I agree with Beez2010, thats one of the many reasons why you start out with 2 hives just in case something like this happens to one of them. This way here you will still have a hive! Good Luck!!!
Part of the problem might be from you moving the new hives around. Can you give more detail on how, why, and when you moved them, and how far?
You could do a combine, order a queen and then split them back apart.
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