I picked my sons up from school, and we installed our three packages today. They arrived Tuesday morning, but yesterday it did not break fifty and the winds were up to 30 mph. Consequently, we waited. The bees were no worse for the wear and had had half a can of syrup left and we had been spraying them with sugar syrup as well periodically. Both boys insisted on installing a package after watching me install the first. It was really fun, and we have high hopes for them. We had to use a variety of feeding methods in that our migratory top feeders with a hole for a quart mason jar are still being fabricated. On one we used a Mann Lake Miller feeder which I do not really like but was glad we had today. The other two got baggies on the top bars. We did not have any shims, so we used a slatted rack on top to hold the baggie. We do not know how fast they will go through a baggie as we have never used one before, so the boys and I are looking forward to monitoring that. The bees were installed in a deep hive body with at least 8 frames of drawn comb and three of those with honey and pollen in varying amounts. I found it interesting that some of these bees were quite agitated and hung on our suits or repeatedly bumped our veils. One stuck with me seemingly angrily buzzing at my veil for 200 yards back to the barn.
We also checked in on our sole surviving hive. We started winter with three, but this one hung on. We found all bees in upper deep on three to four frames. The lower deeps had some honey, pollen and dry sugar that the bees packed in over the winter. We found the queen easily in such low numbers, and she had about 1/2 frame of brood (some capped and some open). The boys asked if she should have more by this point, but I could not answer them. Do any of you know? IN comparison to the packages, it seemed that this hive had fewer bees than the packages. I am curious if they will build up. I put a frame feeder inside the upper deep and filled it with syrup with a bit of HBH. I also took the opportunity to cull all large cell frames that were empty or essentially empty and replace with PF-100 small cell. There are now only about four frames of large cell in the hive, but these had so much honey and pollen that I was afraid to take them from the bees at this point.