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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Help me out. Got a head scratch-er of a call this evening. Gentleman in South Carolina calls and says he got a package out of Georgia from a local broker and installed it on Saturday. Today he comes home and his wife says " The bees left." I went through the standard reasons why they might have left like dead queen, ants, etc. and the only thing I could even come close to figuring out as to what happened is that the feeder can had not been punched at the shaking and the bees had been without feed since makeup. Not sure how long the time from shake to installation was. Never heard of anything like this causing an abandonment of a hive body. What say you...? I told him to call the dealer and squeeze a new package out of him for no other reason than the fact that the transit time without feed was unknown and caused "sluggish bees" upon arrival.
 

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Was there any food in the hive into which they where placed?

Where was the queen? Released or not?

Crazy Roland
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
He said he place a trough feeder above them ( with HBH I might add 1 tsp to the qt) and that the bees perked up after getting a little drink. The queen was in a 3 hole-r with attendants left inside the cage. It was new equipment supplied by the package supplier.
 

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I hate to sound so cold because bees cost a chunk of change but many times bees abscond for no reason known to mankind, even brand new packages. It's happened to me more than once. Chalk it up to bad luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Trout, I have hived thousands of packages over the years. Way to many.....and I fail to recall any abandonment not proceeded by an ant invasion or a dead queen or some other "significant event." In yards where we pour hundreds at a shot I see different levels of drift but a wholesale "lets get the bleep out of these new digs" is not something I ever recall seeing.
 

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Trout, I have hived thousands of packages over the years. Way to many.....and I fail to recall any abandonment not proceeded by an ant invasion or a dead queen or some other "significant event." In yards where we pour hundreds at a shot I see different levels of drift but a wholesale "lets get the bleep out of these new digs" is not something I ever recall seeing.
Can't say that anymore, can ya? I've only hived a few dozen and it's happened thrice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Can't say that anymore, can ya? I've only hived a few dozen and it's happened thrice.
Maybe you misread my original statement. This happened to a gentleman way across the fruited plain and over the great divide in South Carolina. He called me about replacement packages. As the bees are so darn expensive now as days I spent over half an hour on the phone trying to get to the root of the problem to help him avoid the same issue again. More often than not I can drill down to what happened and help the person avoid another package pitfall. As to why you have had the unfortunate experience of three out of a dozen I would suspect that there were underlying issues that caused your bees to hit the road prematurely. Bees don't just up and leave that easily....
 

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I've hived a couple of dozen actually. All the ingredients for a happy life were there in my cases. Beekeeping isn't rocket surgery, the basics are easily understood so when they do leave with no signs pointing to why they chose to do so, you just have to chalk it up to bad luck. Truth is, this happens to a number of my beekeeper buddies as well. Can't say any of us notify the bee supplier when this happens, we suck it up and move on.
 

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Did the queen emerge from the cage? I have heard of bees from different packages drifting to other hives during or after installation, but that's not absconding.
 

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I can't help but wonder if the inside of the boxes smell of paint or too much HealthyBeeNostrum, bare foundationless frames or some such other than luck factor. I haven't done thousands but I have done hundreds and though I have suffered bodacious drifting away from unpopular nonsmelling queens, I have never had a total abscound.

A local novice hived 8 packages in a row and when he got to the end of the line, he had 8 balls of bees hanging from the trees away from his shiny new freshly painted foundationless boxes. He insisted the boxes had been adequately aired out so I just commiserated with him on his 'bad luck'. I do not have the answer, only suspicions.
 

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Sometimes they abscond from new equipment if a screen bottom board is left open on install. If the queen was left behind in a cage I agree that there was a loose queen in the package. That does happen... I have found loose queens hanging on the outside of packages; so it is entirely possible that one found it's way in.
 

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When the bees "left" was there still a queen in the 3 holer? Or was she released and went with them??
 
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