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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I received and installed two new packages (My first time) last Thursday into two 10 frame foundationless mediums set above a screened bottom, upon which I placed the top board with a pint feeder and the can of syrup that came with the package, placed an empty medium on the top board and the top cover on top of it all. Basically two hives consisting of two mediums, one medium for the brood area, the second medium for a feeding area.

I returned yesterday (Day 3) to see if the queens were released and they were, but the two hive were complete opposites. Hive 1 had the majority of the bees in the brood area as I would have expected, but hive 2 had the majority of the bees in the feeding area.

Not thinking that the queen may have been in the feeding area of hive 2, I brushed them back into the brood area, only to watch them flow back up to the feeding area, so I sealed it up and left. I hope that disturbance didn't cause the queen to fly away!!

Other than this inconsistency that has me puzzled, they seem to be coming and going nicely, flying in and out of each hive about the same.

What should I do if anything? Why are the two hives acting so different? Is there anything to be alarmed about?
 

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I had a similar experience installing my packages this year. I learned that bees will go where they want to go, and my job is to limit those options. I had a hive that was insistent on moving into the feeder and building comb there. After some frustration I ended up sealing off the top feeder so that they were forced to stay in the brood box.

I would recommend taking your inner cover and dropping it below the feeder and seal off anything that allows them into the top box. Essentially, using the hole in the inner cover to get access to the syrup (pint feeder on top of it), but seal off the rest so they cant actually get up inside your top box. I used strips of duct tape folded over (so it did not become a fly trap) and taped that around the feeder.

Once mine started drawing out comb and had brood below, things got much better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Zbee, I think I am coming to that conclusion as well. I have two holes cut in my inner cover, one on either corner for ventilation. I think I will put two pint feeders as you describe on either hole, in both hives.

What did you do with the bees that were in the feeding chamber when you made the adjustment? I am worried about the queen being part of the gang, and flying away with a swarm.
 

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I set my feeder off to the side when inspecting. After a few mins many fly back to the hive entrance. The rest I just shake off back into the hive. I really suck with the bee brush and end up pissing them off, so I just shake and pound over the top of the hive when I need to jar them loose. Smoke also works well to get them to duck back in, just be careful it's not too hot of smoke.
 

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Colonies often have minds of their own and they don't always act alike. If you decide to seal off the area, just shake the bees down and you should be fine. I wouldn't be very worried about the queen being in the group. Even if she were, there's little you could do about it. I feed my colonies with a gallon paint can upturned over and inner cover and surrounded by an old deep box. Some of my hives have a whole bunch of bees hanging out in the feeder box while others don't. I let them do it their way and it all turns out just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Awesome thank you, I think I feel more comfortable with the bees in the brood box so I will seal it off giving them two sources of feed on either hole.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well, upon the advice of Michael Bush, I sealed the feed chamber today completely except leaving enough room for the feeder to cover the holes. Did a quick look see because I am running foundationless and whala, in hive 1 that I was having concerns about the bees beeing in the feed area, they have yet to draw comb.

Will bees still draw comb if the hive is queenless or is this a sign my queen is gone?

My second calmer hive is going gang busters, with a bout frames partially drawn and one of the frames at least has eggs, I think. The appear to be very tiny little rice looking things in the comb

I am running all mediums frames and this particular frame has comb almost all the way to the bottom. Its day five!!!!!!

I'm a happy camper, but concerned about hive #1 a little. Letting them alone for a few days now!
 

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>Two newly installed packages behaving completely different

Sounds normal.

If you leave empty space they often move in the upper box. They don't care that there are no frames there. They don't need frames to build comb. But you, on the other hand, need them to build comb in the frames.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well, guess they didn't like me they left. 1 hive is completely empty. Although disappointing, not really surprised. my second hive is doing fine, but now I am waiting for the hammer to drop on that one too.

1 week in to bee keeping and I am already screwing up

So is it too late to replace them or am I waiting to split or next spring?
 

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First dont beat yourself up.. if you decide to get another package that colony will have an advantage for some comb to start with. Try to limit the amount of smoke you use on em till they get set. Those bees will need some time to get get used to their new home before we beekeepers give them the new plan of how to grow and build . turn on KOLN .. and veg for a minute then decide if you are gonna go for colony... The colony you have now will need to grow much larger before attempting to split off it, but it may just suprise you
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I am not beating myself up, I understood from the onset this might happen. The only real question I had for the person I got my package was how he prevents swarming. I just didn't see it happening so soon, 6 days in.

So, I had two hives setup about three feet apart and I did everything exactly the same from how I installed them, never smoked them, to how I managed them leading up to the swarm. Right from the beginning as the title of this thread suggest, I could tell something was wrong, just couldn't get it normal. The bees that swarmed just wanted nothing to do with the frame box, so when I finally eliminated access to the upper feeding box, they took off.

Finding a new package or nuc may be too difficult this late in the year, so I will chalk this season up too learning all that I can!!!!!!
 

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a couple of suggestions to add to previous posts. leave the bees alone as much as you can, the 3rd day or so make sure the queen is released and use some sort of top feeder for the first couple of weeks that is set up so you can lift the top and refill without letting bees come out. earlier in the season packages may need syrup and a patty more than a couple of weeks. consider using an entrance drone/queen guard for 2 or 3 weeks until there is lots of brood this will stop the queen from leaving unless she is small and unmated, this assumes you are starting with a good mated queen... the more you stay out of the hive the better off you are. as a new keeper you want to watch all the time this adds stress to the bees. get more hives to spread out your attention or get an observation hive set up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks mathesonequip, sound advice. Since I am trying to go completely frameless, I was obsessed with making sure they were drawing comb correctly. In my hive that is going well, they have drawn 4 med frames almost to the bottom frame and in the center. The queen is laying well so I am out of that hive now for a week or so until I am ready to add the next box, which at the rate it is progressing should within a week. Last I checked there was only one frame with a nicely drawn comb, two days later there was 4.

The hive that swarmed, in the days they were there they only drew two very small combs on the frames, but did make a small mess on the feeder can that was in the feeder box while I was letting them have at it. It was the day after I eliminated that mess and closed off the feeder box that they left.

So, I will be lucky if I can locate a nuc locally but I am trying!
 

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WRLCPA,
Keep your head up. I am a complete newbie. I installed six packages for the first time this year and they are all booming. The best advice I can give you is try to accumulate some frames with drawn out comb from your hive that survived. I was given a bunch of old frames with drawn out comb to help me get started by one of the largest almond pollinators in CA and never realized what a gift it was. I put 3 old drawn out frames,and 3 wax wax covered frames, & 2 frame feeder in 8 frame deep. Before shaking packages in I filled frame feeder, and sprayed all the frames (not the bees) w/ 1:1 syrup. Shook in bees,(they went right to the syrup on the frames) pulled the cork on queen cage, put my finger over the hole while putting cage between 2 drawn out frames and put the lid on as fast as I could. Then leave them the HECK alone for at least a week. I was really tempted to open the hives up sooner, but you can really tell whats going on just by watching the entrance.
It really jump starts the bees if they have comb (a place for the queen to get started laying right away), and wax available. The first day the bees were orienting themselves, the second day some bees were coming in loaded up w/ pollen. Lastly I would put as much distance as you can between packaged hives to start with. I think if I'd of had all six with in 3 feet of each other I might of had a wreck on my hands due to the the bees becoming confused.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I found a nuc locally :banana:

Now back to the drawing board. I only have medium frameless frames and boxes...LOL. I have a week to prepare so I am good.

So since I have only studied how to start with packages, do I place the new Nuc frames in between frameless frames to fill the box? EBEBEBEBEB.

I plan on not doing anything with the existing hive, just let it continue on it's merry way!
 
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