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Ok, I have three packages coming. I am installing them into two ten frame hives and one five frame. Do any of you completely close off the hive when installing? Those who have what benefits are there or disadvantages?

I have also bought pollen to feed. How much pollen should I start with each hive?

I am starting with screen bottom boards. I have read it is a good idea to close them off when starting with a package. Is there any truth to this?

Thanks
 

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I started off with two hives and packages. I used screened bottom boards and left them open with no problems, but you might should close them off for added insurance. The most important issue you will face is to get your bees to start building comb ASAP. Since you have no comb the queen can't lay eggs...the bees can't store nectar or pollen. As soon as you install your packages you need to feed 1:1 syrup which will not only feed them, but get them started building comb. I'd recommend a top feeder as it will hold a lot of syrup and won't drown many bees if any. You'll be surprised how fast they get the comb going. Feeding pollen is a good idea as well. Around here the bees are bringing in lots of pollen on their own. You're about to start off on a wonderful journey...one which will involve constant learning and amazement! Enjoy and good luck!
 

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I started off with two hives and packages. I used screened bottom boards and left them open with no problems, but you might should close them off for added insurance. The most important issue you will face is to get your bees to start building comb ASAP. Since you have no comb the queen can't lay eggs...the bees can't store nectar or pollen. As soon as you install your packages you need to feed 1:1 syrup which will not only feed them, but get them started building comb. I'd recommend a top feeder as it will hold a lot of syrup and won't drown many bees if any. You'll be surprised how fast they get the comb going. Feeding pollen is a good idea as well. Around here the bees are bringing in lots of pollen on their own. You're about to start off on a wonderful journey...one which will involve constant learning and amazement! Enjoy and good luck!
I also had 2 packages last year that were loaded into boxes sitting on Screened bottom boards. I did not close the hives, and there were no issues.

I agree strongly that you should feed with 1:1 immediately when you load the bees into the hives. There should be plenty of pollen for the bees to gather by beginning of April (I am assuming you will be getting your bees on or after April 1), so if those were my hives I would not put on pollen substitute.

Good luck!
 

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If you start a package in a 5 frame nuc box they will outgrow it just a couple of weeks. all 10 frame equip would make life simpler. good luck with your bees.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you for information so far. Guess I should have stated fully closing off the entrance. I am also not using pollen substitute, but pollen only. I have four supers made for the nuc, my plan is for it to build up fast. I do plan on feeding 1:1 with homemade honey b healthy.

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I've actually never bought a package for myself, nucs, swarms and tear-outs. This year I will for consulting job. I plan to put on both protein patties and frame feeders with cap and tubes until they stop consumption. The gathered bee bread needs to stored in comb and fermented into bee bread. I don't think bees can digest and obtain great nutrition from raw pollen. I could be wrong.

A big advantage is a drawn piece of comb for the queen to instantly start.
 

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Install your packages at dusk.

If you get them in the middle of the day, set them aside somewhere in the shade where they can stay cool. The idea is that bees don't try to fly when its dark, and once you get them to settle in to the hive you provide for the night, it helps anchor them a lot more than if you just dumped them in at noon and walked away. Some say to close the hive up for a day or two to prevent them from flying off, but in my experience the overnight thing is good enough, while still letting them get out first thing in the morning to start foraging and bringing in stores.
 

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Feeding 1:1 syrup is a good idea. I think you should also plan on putting "some" pollen sub on the colonies to start off with. You won't need much, perhaps 1/2 - 1 lb per colony. There will probably be plenty of pollen available when you install your packages but I would like to have a little sub on the hives to start with, just in case you have a cold spell or a few rainy days in a row where the bees are unable to get out. This will provide a nutritional bridge for feeding the brood until they get excess stores built up.
 

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>Ok, I have three packages coming. I am installing them into two ten frame hives and one five frame. Do any of you completely close off the hive when installing?

No.

> Those who have what benefits are there or disadvantages?

The advantage is that the bees won't drift. The disadvantage is that the ones that are loose can't get in. It might be worth considering leaving one hive free flying and confine the other one. So the loose bees have somewhere to go. If it's a cold night they will perish if they can't get in the hive.

>I have also bought pollen to feed. How much pollen should I start with each hive?

If there is pollen available, I'd put it in the freezer and save it for when you need it. If there is no pollen available, then are they patties or dry or what?

>I am starting with screen bottom boards. I have read it is a good idea to close them off when starting with a package.

Yes.

> Is there any truth to this?

Yes.
 

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You can put dry pollen on top of window screen on top of a screened bottom board on top of a solid bottom board. This puts the pollen where it stays dry. Then put a hive body and a cover on that and the bees can forage for the dry pollen. If they lose interest, gather it up and freeze it. If they work it, let them have it.
 
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