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Discussion Starter #1
This is my first year beekeeping, though now I wonder if I'm going to be able to. I live in Portland, OR and ordered 2 packages of bees from Georgia. I was notified that they shipped and were to arrive Friday 3/27 by 10:30 am. I ultimately received a notice that they were going to arrive on 3/27 but later than promised. It is now 3/28 Saturday and I had to file an investigation to find the package.

My question is how long can a package survive in the package box with just the sugar can, and will I have a number of dead bees that would alter the way that I install the packages in a new hive? Have never posted before so thanks for the help.
 

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I would call the supplier to ask how long the bees had been packaged before shipment and how long they could expect to survive, fortunately it is not very hot, yet.
The bees may be sitting on the dock at your nearest terminal. Have you checked the detailed tracking info at ups.com? That may tell you where they are.

Good luck, I hope you find them.
Alex
 

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I have kept a package for three days before putting it in a hive. I estimate the bees had been in the box at least a week total. Had a hundred plus dead but that is a very small percentage. You may want to mist them with syrup when you get them. Access to the syrup in the can is limited.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you both. The tracking stopped in Seattle. When I got a hold of UPS they told me the same information so I suspect they are either in Seattle or somewhere between there and here. It has been cool so there is definitely no heat. I have left a message at the supplier and emailed them as well to find out about the information you suggested. Unfortunately I am West coast and they are East when I called on Friday and closed to phone calls for the weekend so I will see what happens on Monday. Thanks for the comments and support. I won't worry yet...
 

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With good care, as per JW Palmer, a package can do a week, although the layer of dead bees on the bottom will get deeper over time.

However sitting somewhere in postage survival time may be a lot less.

All you can do is see what condition they are in once you finally get them. As to what to do about the dead bees, nothing you can do, you just have to dump them all into the hive, alive and dead, and let the bees sort themselves out. Just ensure that dead bees do not block the hive entrance.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Since package bees are not necessarily of the same hive and job functions have not all been worked out, I can envision two worker bees standing over the body of one of their comrades, arguing about whose job it was to remove the body.

Like OT says, if most of the bees are still alive when you get them, dump them all into the hive. Living, dead, almost dead, not quite sure, etc. If the majority of the package is dead, take photos, and contact your supplier immediately.
 

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I have gotten bees from a local supplier or a local bee club that orders them by the truckload (500+ packages) and then has a Saturday distribution. It may be worth looking into this in the future to avoid shipping if you can.
 

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mfsheffield were you going to pick them up at the UPS terminal or have them delivered? If the terminal is close, I would see if I can change the pickup location to the terminal(I'm not sure with the isolation if ups is allowing pickup's now), it will save the bees the time riding around in the truck. When we have queens sent in ups, we insist that they be shipped on a MOnday so you have a couple of extra days if they get lost.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
They were to be delivered to my house. Today, Sunday, I got on the UPS site again and they still haven’t found them but interestingly it appears that maybe they didn’t even get to Seattle yet and are still in Louisville. I just assumed they were in Seattle because that is were the “Emergency situation” message came from but it appears maybe they didn’t even leave Louisville. Tomorrow is Monday so I will be able to call the supplier as well as, hopefully, get more response from UPS. Thank you all for your suggestions and thoughts.. it is helpful to know there are sympathetic ears out there.
 

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It's too late now, but in the future, order your bees from Olivarez or one of the other northern CA bee suppliers. They are just seven hours to the south. I have been very happy with Olivarez queens and their bees are gentle. Mountain Sweet Honey right there in Portland sells packages. Bridgetown Bees in Portland sells nucs. I can't say anything about their bees, but they are local suppliers that you drive over to and pick them up.
 

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Thanks so much. I am looking at getting some nucs from Bridgetown. I was going to give UPS to the end of the day because I found out that these Bees were packaged on Wednesday the 25th. I doubt I will get them today and even if they come tomorrow they will have been traveling for about a week. Maybe that might not be too long but I am afraid that if I wait too long I won't be able to order in time to get some for the season. It's been kind of a rough start to my beekeeping experience. I am hoping that if I can winter them over I might not have to deal too much with this going forward but am prepared for anything at this point... The bees are doing to me what I had hoped and that is to slow me down and just take things as they come... so I guess I am already learning even though they aren't here yet... LOL.
 

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I am afraid that if I wait too long I won't be able to order in time to get some for the season
doesn't seem to be as big an issue this year... last year the suppliers we telling the large importers in my area (1k packages a year) their orders were being cut in 1/2, this year its "hey you sure you don't want to add some extra order you made last month?"
 

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Thanks so much. I am looking at getting some nucs from Bridgetown. I was going to give UPS to the end of the day because I found out that these Bees were packaged on Wednesday the 25th. I doubt I will get them today and even if they come tomorrow they will have been traveling for about a week. Maybe that might not be too long but I am afraid that if I wait too long I won't be able to order in time to get some for the season. It's been kind of a rough start to my beekeeping experience. I am hoping that if I can winter them over I might not have to deal too much with this going forward but am prepared for anything at this point... The bees are doing to me what I had hoped and that is to slow me down and just take things as they come... so I guess I am already learning even though they aren't here yet... LOL.
Have you called the USPS that services your area? Often I order Queens or bees and they do not come to my door. my mail carrier is Allergic, and "can" just say no. your bees then are at the USPS that services your area, to be picked up. many time the phone number has been copied by someone who is not able to keep 7 numbers straight for 20 seconds. When I get the notice they shipped I call the USPS every day until they state they are there then go get them it is like 6 miles from my house. I would resolve this prior to you next order.
GG
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Final update... UPS killed the bees. I ordered them from Mountain Sweet Honey in Georgia and apparently the bees never made it past Louisville. It took UPS almost a week and multiple calls from me including launching an investigation and early on Tuesday AM I got a notice via tracking that the package was "damaged and discarded". It never made it to Seattle. I called Mountain Sweet Honey and they informed me that UPS had done that to 50% of all their orders going to the West Coast. They mentioned that there were over 200 issues they were going to have to deal with. Can you believe that? All the time and effort to get these bees raised and shipped and UPS kills them all! I felt bad for them. Anyway, I was able to find a local beekeeper that I can get 2 nucs from and they are local which might be better anyway so I will pick them up locally on Apr 18th. Thanks for all your support and helpful suggestions.
 

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Sticky problem for the package producer. Because they can demand UPS (or whatever other carrier) reimburse them, so they can reimburse the customer. But, if it costs the carrier, the carrier may just throw up their hands and say this is all too hard, and refuse to ship bees any more.
 

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the two times we had queens go through Louisville we had problems, I suspect someone down there has been afraid of bees for many years.
 

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Sticky problem for the package producer. Because they can demand UPS (or whatever other carrier) reimburse them
maybe yes maby no..
the word here (form freaked out local newbies on FB) was people were driving to UPS terminals to get their bees as when they called MSH on Friday the message said the bees had to be instaled on Friday as they were shipped without a feed can as it wasn't needed when shipped UPS ..
so there is a chance they didn't get lost, but died in transit and the shipping processes was then stoped.
we can believe UPS messed up Colorado to Oregon, or we can take a 2nd look at the producer I don't know where the truth is, but this raized some eyebrows
 

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Sticky problem for the package producer. Because they can demand UPS (or whatever other carrier) reimburse them, so they can reimburse the customer.
UPS Terms of Service for shipping "live animals" (including bees) say that they will NOT be liable for those animals arriving in good condition.

Packages containing live animals must be prepared in accordance with the requirements as specifically stated herein. Packages containing live animals must provide for the basic humane care and safety of the animal during transportation. Any package containing a live animal shall be considered a perishable commodity and will be accepted for transportation solely at the shipper´s risk for any damage or loss arising from the perishable nature of the item. UPS shall not be liable for any special, incidental, or consequential damages.

More here: https://www.ups.com/us/en/help-center/packaging-and-supplies/special-care-shipments/animals.page
Also, UPS does not permit liquids in feed cans in bee packages. Feed, if included, must be solid like fondant or candy.
https://www.ups.com/us/en/help-cent...l-care-shipments/animals.page#contentBlock-14
 
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