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Here's my dilemma. I'm got two packages of bees coming up from Georgia on Monday. The high for Monday is in the upper 40's. Overnight it's going to be upper 20's and Tuesday in the 30's with rain/snow flurries. They'll be in the boxes with a can of syrup but I don't know how long they will have already been in the boxes. I'll be putting them in two top bar hives with some old comb that has some honey and pollen. I can also put a feeder in there with them if necessary. Should I put the bees in the hives on Monday or wait a couple of day for some warmer weather?
 

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Is there some decent weather coming in the next week? Some of my bees will fly at 46°F and sunny, most by 48 to 50 and sunny. Right in that range a degree or two seems to make a big difference. If you had to hive them the comb with honey and pollen should help but if they were my bees and I had warmer weather coming in the next week I would wait.

Last year there was someone who had a couple packages coming and hived some right away and waited to hive the rest. I think they lost one of the cold hived bees and the one others were set back significantly versus the ones they waited to hive in better weather. This was a conventional hive and I don't think they were started on comb.

Update: This http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?279606-Anyone-ever-install-packages-in-cold-or-snow isn't the story I referenced but seems appropriate.

Most seem to recommend going ahead and installing like the link Rader posted.
 

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I hive packages earlier this week. I had no drawn comb for them:(
I gave them a frame feeder with syrup but as it is still freezing here at night I also gave them a chunk of sugar brick and some protein patty under a rim. I think I may have arranged the hive incorrectly but as I had read one puts sugar and patties directly on the frames I put the inner cover above the rim. I checked 3 days later to ensure the queens were released (they were) and found some were building free fireman comb in the rim!
Should the inner cover be on the frames with the rim and solid feed on the cover?
 

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40 F is perfect weather to install bees. They will tend to stay put. Feed them where they are until they stop taking it, so their stomachs will be full (either lightly brushing sugar on the screen or spraying it on the screen but don't get carried away and get them all soaked). Let them cool down outside for a little while so they are not so active and dump them in. Give them warm syrup when you can (as hot as you can put your finger in without getting burned). If the syrup gets cold, take it, put it in a sauce pan and warm it back up. If you give them some warm syrup every day when it's cold they will be fine. When it warms up you won't have to warm the syrup anymore.
 

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Should the inner cover be on the frames with the rim and solid feed on the cover?
The inner cover should be on without the rim so they don't build in the open space that the rim (shim) gives. Use Michael B advice in feeding very warm syrup at all times. Feeding less more often will help and make sure they are continuously taking it. You can use an inverted jar over the inner cover hole as long as the cluster is directly under it. Otherwise a square of lumber wrap can be used in place of the inner cover with a hole cut in it to match the cluster location. A couple of 3/8" spacers between the lumber wrap and frames will give a place to set the inverted jar and allow the bees to move over the frames. Place an empty super over this with the cover.

They must take syrup at all times to produce the wax that is much needed to move forward.
 

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Thanks...there is a frame feeder in place and the level is lowering however there always seems to be a lot of bees on the solid sugar and protein patty. If I put them on the frames then I need a rim as they are deeper than a bee space. So I wondered if I could put the solid sugar and patty on top of the inner cover, then the rim, then the lid. There is a central hole in the inner cover.
Last year I put very warm syrup in the frame feeder. The foundation less comb next it slumped off the frame:(
 

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So I wondered if I could put the solid sugar and patty on top of the inner cover, then the rim, then the lid. There is a central hole in the inner cover.
The patty should be in direct contact with the cluster and can be squished down between the frames when placing the inner cover back. You still want them to be taking more syrup than dry sugar. If it was me I would put fondant in the frame feeder and position it next to the cluster and feed the warm syrup from above the cluster. This way you don't have to pull the inner cover so often to check if they need refilling. They'll take warm syrup quicker than cold.

The foundation less comb next it slumped off the frame
I doubt the syrup in the frame feeder had anything to do with that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Got the bees yesterday. It was 50 degrees and sunny so I put them in their hives. They took to them right away. Put some feeders in with them and some insulation over the hives. Next few days are windy, rainy, and in the low 40's. Keeping my fingers crossed.
 
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