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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, everyone,

recently, installed five packages into five Lazutin-style hives, that was last Saturday. I removed the queen cages on Thursday. Three were fine, but there were two that had some odd issues.

In one, there was definitely a hole ate through the candy, but the queen was still in the cage, with a few dead workers. Meanwhile, the cluster was nowhere around the queen cage, instead they were all against the south side of the hive the queen cage hanging from the middle of the hive.

In the other, again, a hole ate through the candy, queen still in cage with some live workers in there. There were no bees clustered around the queen cage. Oddly, the bees were clustered at the bottoms of the foundationless frames. I should mention that my frames are 12.5 inches deep and don't go all the way to the bottom of the hive, on purpose. There is about 5.5 inches between the bottom of the frames and the hive floor.

I should also mention that we have had some cold nights recently, and even the day when I removed the queen cages, the temperature barely cracked 50 degrees.

thoughts about what happened here?

-thanks,
Thomas
 

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I like the concept with the hive being horizontal yet still having upward space for the bees liking.
A package does not mean the queens will be automatically accepted. Package bees come from a mixture of many different hives.
Also the queen cage with the dead workers. Were the workers blocking the queens exit?
 

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Hello, everyone,
...........
thoughts about what happened here?

-thanks,
Thomas
1) Just release those darn queens before they die alone, if not already.
2) Putting up packages directly foundation-less is not the best idea (remember - these are not swarms).
Be best to have at least 2-3 combs where the queen cage would be placed between those; the bees then most likely would stay on the combs and with the queen.

What happened - not a clue and does not matter - the foundation-less package install could be the issue.
Fix the issue best you can and move on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I like the concept with the hive being horizontal yet still having upward space for the bees liking.
A package does not mean the queens will be automatically accepted. Package bees come from a mixture of many different hives.
Also the queen cage with the dead workers. Were the workers blocking the queens exit?
No, the candy end was up. I'm not sure what happened, but I wonder if it was the cluster was more interested in warmth; the sun definitely favors the south side of the hive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Greg,

yeah, I didn't mention that I went ahead and released them.

Just have to see how it goes....

1) Just release those darn queens before they die alone, if not already.
2) Putting up packages directly foundation-less is not the best idea (remember - these are not swarms).
Be best to have at least 2-3 combs where the queen cage would be placed between those; the bees then most likely would stay on the combs and with the queen.

What happened - not a clue and does not matter - the foundation-less package install could be the issue.
Fix the issue best you can and move on.
 
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Hello, everyone,

In one, there was definitely a hole ate through the candy, but the queen was still in the cage, with a few dead workers. Meanwhile, the cluster was nowhere around the queen cage, instead they were all against the south side of the hive the queen cage hanging from the middle of the hive.

In the other, again, a hole ate through the candy, queen still in cage with some live workers in there. There were no bees clustered around the queen cage. Oddly, the bees were clustered at the bottoms of the foundationless frames. I should mention that my frames are 12.5 inches deep and don't go all the way to the bottom of the hive, on purpose. There is about 5.5 inches between the bottom of the frames and the hive floor.
Before you release either one of these queens, I'd check the frames closely for eggs. Anytime a package doesn't release a queen within 3 days, I suspect a rouge queen was in the mix of loose bees.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah, I considered that as a possibility too, thanks!

Before you release either one of these queens, I'd check the frames closely for eggs. Anytime a package doesn't release a queen within 3 days, I suspect a rouge queen was in the mix of loose bees.
 
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Ruthie is on it. If there was not another queen in there the bees would definately cluster around the caged queen.

Unless they are starving and unable to move the cluster, in which case, feed.

As an ex breeder and package seller myself, I can tell you that a queen slipping into a package is more common than most know. It can happen in several different ways, one of them being taking package bees from a hive that is superseding. The beekeeper finds the queen then shakes the bees, unaware there are 2 queens in the hive at that time.

My suggestion would be as per Ruthie. Check the bee cluster for eggs. If none, there is probably a virgin, you may as well kill it then allow the bees to release the caged queen. Be aware if looking for a virgin on a warm afternoon, you may never find her, because she is out flying. If you found and killed the virgin, don't release the caged queen there and then because it takes the bees a while to realise they no longer have their virgin and the mated queen could be killed. I would suggest re candying the cage and move it to where the bees are clustered, or if that is too hard, block the cage with some wax, put it where the bees are, then open the hive again the next day and release her.

If the hive has a mated queen as well as the caged queen, your choice, which queen you want.
 

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... they were all against the south side of the hive the queen cage hanging from the middle of the hive.

There were no bees clustered around the queen cage. Oddly, the bees were clustered at the bottoms of the foundationless frames. I should mention that my frames are 12.5 inches deep and don't go all the way to the bottom of the hive, on purpose. There is about 5.5 inches between the bottom of the frames and the hive floor.

I should also mention that we have had some cold nights recently, and even the day when I removed the queen cages, the temperature barely cracked 50 degrees.
Hi Thomas - I know nothing about packages but don't much like the basic idea of them, as combs are so essential to the life of the honeybee - so I won't venture any opinions on what to do with those queens versus the possibility of other queens being present.

Just wondering what combs the bees currently have (if any) and what feed they have access to ? From what you've written it sounds to me like the bees are more concerned with clustering to keep warm, and so they have no immediate interest in the queen, nor any motivation to ascend the frames and draw comb (assuming those are bare frames).

If this were my situation to deal with, I'd move those problem colonies into much smaller nuc-sized boxes for now, and let them draw some comb in those. Then when they're more established, cut-out those combs and transfer them into your big frames. I'd still dummy-down the big boxes with partition boards, and only enlarge their volume as the colony develops.
LJ
 

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If none, there is probably a virgin, you may as well kill it then allow the bees to release the caged queen.
An issue on hand - the packages were installed foundation-less in a large and empty "Lazutin-style" hive (a mistake, but it is what it is). Bees are just trying to find a warm spot (in which case they can leave behind the queen - one reason we remove the queen excluders in winter, else the queen gets left behind alone).

Trying to find anything in free hanging cluster is pretty much use-less.

Hopefully, this can be corrected and frames with actual combs can be supplied still.
Once the bees are splattered across the combs, then may look for a queen.

But none matters, the OP did release the queens already.
 

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Before you release either one of these queens, I'd check the frames closely for eggs
They are foundation-less in a big and empty hive.
It will take a while for any egg laying to happen (granted this is not a natural swarm and will not be building like crazy).

All in all - none of this matters because:
....................yeah, I didn't mention that I went ahead and released them....................
 

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Thomas, if you insist on installing packages into the Lazutin for any reason (entirely possible you don't even have spare combs available to you) - be sure to reduce the package to just 3 empty frames (use those insulated dummy boards).
You want to be sure they are in very tight quarters and well insulated before they start building anything.
Be sure to feed them if you want them to build anything.
 

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bees are more concerned with clustering to keep warm, and so they have no immediate interest in the queen, nor any motivation to ascend the frames and draw comb (assuming those are bare frames).
Exactly.
I am of this opinion too.
 

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I'd move those problem colonies into much smaller nuc-sized boxes for now, and let them draw some comb in those.
OR you can drastically reduce and insulate them directly in the large hive - insulated follower boards should be standard equipment once getting into the long/large hives.
Not more than 3 frames; in fact, even 2 frames will do fine at this time if the colony is too small.
 

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Thomas, if you insist on installing packages into the Lazutin for any reason (entirely possible you don't even have spare combs available to you) - be sure to reduce the package to just 3 empty frames (use those insulated dummy boards).
You want to be sure they are in very tight quarters and well insulated before they start building anything.
Be sure to feed them if you want them to build anything.
That's good to know.
 
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