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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I read Michael Bush's instructions on direct queen releasing into a package. So I (8 frame mediums) remove the cork from the non candy end of the queen cage, and insert the cage into the gap where I have pulled one frame then reinsert the frame? Do I need to get the cage out when she leaves? How do I get the queen cage out? How do I drop the cage without killing her?
 

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You're over thinking it. Take a frame from one of the ends of the box and put it to the side. Separate the two middle frames and put the queen cage between them (with the screen away from the foundation, not towards it). Move them back together. Replace the end frame if there's room for it.

Wait a few days or a week and remove the cage.

Get it out the same way you put it in.

How do I drop the cage without killing her?
You aren't "dropping" the cage between two frames. You are wedging the cage gently between the two pieces of foundation in the two middle frames. Like a queen cage sammich.
 

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Pull a frame out, dump the package in. I pull the cork/candy and shove a marshmallow in, they'll eat it in 8-12 hrs and release her. There's probably a metal tab on the cage, if there isn't one, make one out of a paper clip, bend the metal tab over a nail so the cage hangs between two frames. Open up in a day, replace the frame, pull the cage and make sure the queen is released. Then leave them alone for a while.
 

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If you are direct releasing, the only real trick is keeping her from flying. You will need to pull at least three frames, four would be better. After you dump the bees in, pull the cork (while she is facing away from you) and put your thumb over the hole (quickly and gently, she might make a run for it) you can now gently place the cage on top of the pile of bees. I would not drop it. If you do drop it, it won't hurt anything. Then gently set the frames in. The frames will slowly settle down as the bees move out of the way. Keep your body over the hive to make a shadow so the queen isn't looking at the sky and tempted to fly. After the frames settle down far enough put the cover on. You can take the cage out whenever it is convenient for you. Next week. Next year. Next century...

The biggest downside to this is that whether the queen is in a cage or not, a lot of packages move next door (leaving the queen in the cage or the queen by herself or with three or four attendants) and if you direct release you may think that was the cause. If you don't direct release then you won't blame direct release for the cause... Twenty years ago this happened rarely. In recent years it happens routinely...
 

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I'll be introducing two packages about 6 feet apart. This "moving next door" is the first I'm hearing of this so I'll add that to my long list of newbee concerns. I've spent hours getting my hives perfectly level (for foundationless frames) so moving them 30-40 feet away like Beeman suggest isn't really an option for me in the backyard. So what if when I install the packages I erect a 30' tarp temporarily in between them as a shield? That would be a pain in the ass but if it will help the moving next door thing I'll do it. Thoughts?
 

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JustinH
Thinking with a tarp about spring and early summer storms you may have a hive wrapped up in a tarp poss. damage from being light on weight just thinking may want to just turn you hives 180 from each other until they take off with bees. Just my 2 cents.
 

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>I'll be introducing two packages about 6 feet apart. This "moving next door" is the first I'm hearing of this so I'll add that to my long list of newbee concerns.

With only a few to do, I would install them at dusk. If it gets dark in the next few minutes, they will settle down quickly. By morning they will be much more likely to stay put. You could also plug the entrances of all but one with grass. The one is so the loose bees have somewhere to go in case it gets cold that first night. They will probably push the grass out by the next day. If not, I would remove it the second night. My problem is if I get packages (which I usually don't) I usually buy a hundred, set them up and then a month later break them all up for mating nucs. When I install a hundred, I really can't wait for dusk...

Also, if you can install them in the rain, it's to your advantage... or if the first day is cold it tends to keep them in...

The tarp is too much work and probably won't make any difference.
 

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this is the normal way for a beginner to install a pkg vs dumping a queen into the hive. the most important detail is to get the pkg out the next day before the queen is released. too long and they start comb in or around the pkg. then leave them alone to get established. too many beekeepers disturb them too soon which results in queen loss.
 

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I was refering to releasing the queen directly with the package by pulling the cork. not recommended for new beekeepers. for the value of a queen I would never do it that way. now virgin queens can be introduced that way as they have not developed pheromones yet.
 

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All it takes in a medium box is 2 boxes or a spacer under the box to make it deep enough for the package cage and yes it is important to remove the cage next day.
I don't have it now but do have a copy from a book printed in 1934 showing this method of installing a package.
 

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I would not tell anybody to direct release a queen at install. If she flys off you are unlikely to see it happen and a replacement is likely weeks away. A lost queen is a hard thing for a package to recover from.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks, everyone. That is a whole lot of advice. I am going to try the direct release. All the old timers in my bee clubs have already told me how crazy I am for going foundationless. This will just be another opportunity for an "I told you so".
 

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Best of luck to you. I hope you realize it could be an "I told you so" opportunity for them also.

Other then the fact that she can fly away the primary reason for a candy release in a package on no foundation and no comb is going to be that it keeps the queen in the hive until the bees have started drawing some comb for her to lay in. If she is direct release and doesn't like the hive you give her, she will leave and the entire pack is going to go with her.

The only reason I care is because I provide emotional support every year to customers who attempted to direct release and failed. If you loose the pack you are out bees for the season.
 
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