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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
quick install advice: queen cage has no candy, keep package as-is for 3 days???

Hi, I literally just got home with my package. The owner of the large established operation I used in Northern CA, said that since their queen cages have no candy blocking the queen (just a cork), to do the following:

- keep the package in a ventilated area with a comfortable temperature, for 3 days to let them get familiar with the queen
- when installing, take the cork out of the queen cage and quickly put in a small marshmallow to block the queen (just so she doesn't easily fly away while I'm putting the queen cage in the hive, etc...)
- put the queen cage and the bees in the hive as per usual process

My concern is that literally every single 'installation process' I've read thus far, has assumed that there will be hard candy blocking the queen, and thus you would immediately put the queen cage and the bees into the hive (then over 3-4 days, they get familiar with the queen in the hive, while they eat the candy and release the queen) So my question basically is: where is it best for them to 'accept the queen'. While the queen cage is hanging in the package, or while in the hive?


If the provider's directions are ok, should I spray them with sugar-water a few times a day (to supplement their can of sugar water)?

If the risk of failure is much greater with the bees staying in the package for 3 days, I assume I can take out the queen cage and put hard candy in place of the cork-stopper. I just now made a ball that is a mixture of powdered sugar and honey; it's malleable but pretty dry. (I assume that would take the bees ~3 days to eat through, provided it doesn't melt?) But then I gotta fuss around with jamming that into a queen cage that already has workers and a queen in it.....

Thx for any advice!
 

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Re: quick install advice: queen cage has no candy, keep package as-is for 3 days???

If you are told to hold them for a few days I would do that. The can will keep them for a while unless it leaks. Assuming there is a strip holding the can in place, you can loosen that and get a feel for the weight. Marshmellows are what I see posted here, jellybeen would work I think. Keep them cool and quiet they will be fine.
 

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Re: quick install advice: queen cage has no candy, keep package as-is for 3 days???

I agree with Saltybee. If any complications arise, you want to be able to say you followed their directions to a "T".

I'd also try to do as Salty said and see if there is syrup in the can, I'd avoid spraying them down and possibly chilling them or otherwise IMO.

This gives you 3 days to get marshmallow or easy enough to make fondant, Teaspoon of powdered sugar and drops of water until you get a very stiff mix, almost like play-dough that has been left out for a day.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Re: quick install advice: queen cage has no candy, keep package as-is for 3 days???

The California queen cages are not designed to be packed with candy. Instead, a candy filled tube can be inserted in the hole. A needless extra expense IMO. The mashmallow is a quick and easy substitute, but the bees can eat through it quickly. Since these bees were picked up, they have not spent the time together that many shipped packages already have, hence the three day waiting period. Salty gave you good advice, but I would forego the jellybeans as a plug and eat them instead.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Re: quick install advice: queen cage has no candy, keep package as-is for 3 days???

The California queen cages are not designed to be packed with candy. Instead, a candy filled tube can be inserted in the hole. A needless extra expense IMO. The mashmallow is a quick and easy substitute, but the bees can eat through it quickly. Since these bees were picked up, they have not spent the time together that many shipped packages already have, hence the three day waiting period. Salty gave you good advice, but I would forego the jellybeans as a plug and eat them instead.
Thx. After 2.5 days of leaving them in the package (in a cool, ventilated spot), I installed them today. Yeah, the queen cage was a very small one, no attendents in there. I took out the cork and pushed in a big blog of DIY fondant (powdered sugar + honey ....yes, I also discovered that as a nice new treat for myself...YUM!) The queen was very active and trying to bust outta dodge when I was pulling the cork, which seemed like a good sign. I rubberbanded the queen cage sideways in the middle frame, and the bees didn't seem to swarm around it all that much, they seemed chill (which sounds like they already started accepting her?) Mann Like 3-gallon hive top feeder full of 1:1. Crossing fingers!
 

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Re: quick install advice: queen cage has no candy, keep package as-is for 3 days???

Sounds like you'll be good. :)

His instructions were also good, for this particular situation.

As a former commercial breeder and seller of bees myself, there were few things worse or more frustrating, than people who took the bees away, then did not follow the instructions, then would come back and complain that they lost the queen or in some cases all the bees.

Some of the things people did were so crazy it was like they were doing their best to ensure they would cause death of the queen, or the bees. I would ask why they did that instead of following instructions they would come out with some reason that made sense to them, but in fact was a very bad idea.

Glad you followed the instructions, nearly exactly, you have every chance of success. Commercial bee sellers did not get to that stage by being ignorant of how to best handle bees.
 
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