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Author Topic: what do you folks think of package bees?  (Read 2012 times)
irekkin
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« on: May 06, 2009, 09:53:38 PM »

it seems alot of people here have bought package bees and i was wondering what kind of good/bad luck you've had with them. my first attempt at beekeeping was package bees and it was a total bust. i've stuck with swarms and splits since then. i would like to get some other thoughts and opinions . tia.
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bailey
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« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2009, 10:01:44 PM »

give me a swarm or cutout any day.
only did one package of russians for my father in law, it worked out ok but i really like swarms.

bailey
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doak
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« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2009, 10:05:51 PM »

Been at it ten years. Never did a package. :)doak
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gguidester
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« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2009, 10:09:22 PM »

New to bees last year with 2 packages.  OK first year I think.  One hive lost their queen but requeenedand made it through a fairly tough winter with a few stores left.  Harvested 100 lbs. of honey off the other hive last year.  They wintered well, lots of stores left.  I planned on moving around some frames on Sun. last week-end, but they swarmed on Sat..  I captured them and all seems great so far.  Installed 2 packages Mon. evening, one in a topbar and one in a conventional hive.  Now that I captured the swarm, I think if I see the same situation next spring, I will split one a bit sooner.  I really only want about 1 or 2 more hives if that, so next year if I go to splitting, I'll have to find someone else to get started  in their becoming a beek.  What happened to your packages?  If you give the details on this page you'll get some great advise on how to succeed. Smiley
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mlewis48
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« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2009, 01:41:48 AM »

 Packages are a big roll of the dice. They are too much work, take too much time and I have had more bad luck with them than the nucs that I got before. This is the last year that I will waste money on them. I will buy nucs and hope to catch more swarms. Splits are going to be my thing.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2009, 02:58:33 AM »

Packages are a big roll of the dice. They are too much work, take too much time and I have had more bad luck with them than the nucs that I got before. This is the last year that I will waste money on them. I will buy nucs and hope to catch more swarms. Splits are going to be my thing.

So are Swarms.  The differences between a package and a swarm, going into the hive, is that all of the workers and the queen came from the same hive in a swarm where they have come from many hives in a package and packages might be tossed around a bit more.  Treat them the same way, every package is, in essence, a swarm.
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Life is a school.  What have you learned?   Brian      The greatest danger to our society is apathy, vote in every election!
Two Bees
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« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2009, 08:50:14 AM »

Last year, I installed two packages of Italians and they did great!  Fed them everything they would take and left all stores on the hives.  They built up real fast in Feb and March.  Split one hive in late March and captured four swarms from my own hives.  So now I have 6 hives that started from two packages last year.
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jdpro5010
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« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2009, 09:36:25 AM »

I do not like packages but sometimes you have no other choice.  The best bees are the bees that are adapted to your area or region.  If you are in the south the southern packages will probably do better for you than a northerner getting southern packages.  Nuc's will definetly do better than packages.  Nuc's or swarms from your area or region will do the best.
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Bee-Bop
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« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2009, 09:52:02 AM »

Packages have been used for how long, 1880-90's ?
Must have something going for them !

Inexperienced people, I would guess would be there biggest drawback.

Experience does count.

Bee-Bop
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dgc1961
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« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2009, 10:22:41 AM »

I started last year with a package of Italian bees.  They did great.  I fed them until they wouldn't take anymore.  I only got a couple of courts of honey off of them at the end of the summer.  But, they came through winter great. 

The hive was busting at the seems, and they swarmed before I could stop them.  I was able to catch the swarm so now I have 2 hives.
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David C.
vermmy35
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« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2009, 10:32:48 AM »

I just installed a package the other day and so far so good as for the rest I can't say since I a too new to beekeeping to offer any kind of opinion.
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shaux
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« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2009, 01:30:45 PM »

I've only used packages.  Can't complain.  The first package I had built up quick and was able to take honey.  Had a swarm come from them the next year and wasn't able to successfully hive it.
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annette
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« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2009, 05:20:20 PM »

I have started 3 packages so far and have been very happy with the build up in all 3.  They are Italians and all did great.
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troutstalker2
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« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2009, 10:06:05 PM »



  I like the free kind hanging on a low branch.
 
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jpitz31
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« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2009, 03:29:15 PM »

There are some advantages to packaged bees.

Easier for beginners to work, fewer bees than in an established hive.
Move adult bees than in a nuc or small hive.
Certified apparently healthy and from healthy stock.
No brood diseases.
Replacements are easy to obtain.

Being in southern CA we are in AHB territory.  So knowing where
your stock comes from is a plus.

Thanks

Joe
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hankdog1
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« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2009, 04:28:13 PM »

Just depends i don't like packages thier pretty dang expensive but if it's the only way it's the only way.  I bought two packages that i've put in of russians was okay rather mess with a swarm but that's just me.  Only reason bought them was a gift certificate from Walter Kelly that i got for christmas.  Gonna cross my fingers and hope they work out.
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wxton
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« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2009, 04:56:25 PM »

I started 2 years ago with package bees(italians).  I was so excited.  Put them in on April 21, 2007.  The first year we got about 60# of honey from 2 hives.  last year we got about 120# from the 2 hives.  Just added 2 new nucs to the collection.  They are supposedly the ARS? hybrid strain...we will see how they will do.  i do know they are working there butts off.  Even moreso than my older hives.  But I digress!  The package bees were a great way for me to get started.
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Britt
MustbeeNuts
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« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2009, 05:00:45 PM »

I got no problems with packages, just shipping companys, ups, postal. but if you go get them , no issues, i got honey first year, 75lbs. got six more packages this year and so far no issues.
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NasalSponge
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« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2009, 05:28:49 PM »

Never done one.....all mine have been nucs and swarms.
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nella
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« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2009, 08:40:23 PM »

I like nucs and swarms and the swarms are free and usually the most healthy.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #20 on: May 10, 2009, 07:56:48 PM »

It's hard to beat a package when you want to do a top bar hive or mediums and the only nucs available are deeps.

The quality of queens has gone downhill in the last decade and the packages often seem to fail because of that.
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Michael Bush
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