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Author Topic: HELP package bees  (Read 2159 times)

Offline jgiles

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HELP package bees
« on: April 02, 2010, 08:29:16 PM »
I just received 5 packages of bees from Walter T kelley  which i installed monday.  I checked this afternoon to see if the queens had been released from their cages and found that 3 out of the 5 have left the hives.  1 package had left without even releasing the queen.  This is quite disheartening especially because of the cost associated with the packages.  Does anyone have any advice to prevent this from occurring again.

Online kathyp

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Re: HELP package bees
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2010, 08:36:12 PM »
it happens, but that seems like a lot.

what kind of foundation did you use and did you put feed on?
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Offline fermentedhiker

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Re: HELP package bees
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2010, 08:51:53 PM »
placing a queen excluder underneath the hive but over the bottom board for a couple of days can help.  Although that wouldn't stop the ones that left the queen behind.  The packages the left without the queen might have already had a queen loose in the packages, in which case a queen excluder would have forced them to stay around for her.  Alternatively you can "make" a queen excluder entrance guard out of some hardware cloth(not sure of the size though) which is probably cheaper than buying 5 separate queen excluders.  I'm sure others will have suggestions as well.  Sorry to hear about, especially since I have 10 packages coming next month.
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Offline jgiles

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Re: HELP package bees
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2010, 09:23:22 PM »
I have foundationless hives.  I already have three foundationless hives with screened bottom boards and have had no problems with foundationless before but was wondering if this could be once source of the problem.  I had two quart jars on each hive and one of the hives already had approximately a 4x5 in section of comb drawn out  should I obtain more packages and start over with the use of a queen excluder and adding lemongrass oil to the boxes?  I would like to get at least 8-10 strong hives for next year to begin expansion.

Offline fermentedhiker

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Re: HELP package bees
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2010, 09:34:18 PM »
Trying again with more packages is all about the money for you i guess.  If you're comfortable risking the cash then it's worth the attempt.  Can you steal a frame of already drawn comb from your existing hives?  Just one for each package probably wouldn't set your hives back too much and might encourage them to set up shop for real.
Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.
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Online kathyp

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Re: HELP package bees
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2010, 11:08:16 PM »
foundationless shouldn't be a problem.  that's how i used to start packages. 

i'm wondering if it was just the bees.  i don't think the company should be expected to replace your bees, but it might be worth calling just to see if this has happened to others.  some strains of bees seem to be flighty like that.  if you are not alone, it might be something with the bees they raised this year.  if nothing else, you'll know to order from someone else if you try to get new packages.

i think they have a good rep, so if it's happening, it's just one of those things.
.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville

Offline wd

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Re: HELP package bees
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2010, 11:56:06 PM »
did they join a hive next to it ?

Offline jgiles

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Re: HELP package bees
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2010, 11:35:04 AM »
It does not appear that they have joined another hive.  I dont expect the company to pay for it, they cant help that the bees left.  I was in the process of transitioning to all medium hive bodies but may go back deep hive bodies so I can use a frame of brood from my existing hives. 

Offline wd

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Re: HELP package bees
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2010, 01:51:28 PM »
Keeping in mind they were shipped.

What I have done with better results is let the packages sit for about 48 hrs to get acquainted with the scent. When ready to install, I lightly spray the bees with sugar water. Just enough so they don't fly. Dump and shake, spray a little more if needed. I don't spray the queen. If I can get them all in, I reduce the entrance and plug it with some grass, the bees remove that. I've checked them later the same day and reduced then.

I didn't like the idea of spraying but I had 2 out of three take off which convinced me to give it a try.

Offline wd

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Re: HELP package bees
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2010, 08:13:59 PM »
for what it's worth

this is what I currently use to start a 3 lb package minus the sprayer and 9 frames.

division board feeder is used with dry sugar and 9 frames

pollen substitute sprinkled on the frames

entrance feeder 1 part sugar 1 part water

entrance reduced with a little grass

also have a wood entrance reducer to keep the queen in if needed for 10 to 12 days

petroleum jelly to place where I don't want propolis





Offline Highlandsfreedom

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Re: HELP package bees
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2010, 11:53:23 PM »
for what it's worth

this is what I currently use to start a 3 lb package minus the sprayer and 9 frames.

division board feeder is used with dry sugar and 9 frames

pollen substitute sprinkled on the frames

entrance feeder 1 part sugar 1 part water

entrance reduced with a little grass

also have a wood entrance reducer to keep the queen in if needed for 10 to 12 days

petroleum jelly to place where I don't want propolis






WOW never thought about the petoleum jelly..... do you put it between the deeps and supers?
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Offline wd

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Re: HELP package bees
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2010, 03:39:54 AM »
WOW never thought about the petoleum jelly..... do you put it between the deeps and supers?

hmm,

thought about it many times but no I don't, there's usually gaps in between those. It's mainly on metal rabbets for frame rests.

Offline Buz Green

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Re: HELP package bees
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2010, 08:01:26 AM »
That seems like a lot of flyoffs. Could it have something to do with the hives or the location?
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Offline buzzbee

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Re: HELP package bees
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2010, 10:16:18 AM »
That seems like a lot of flyoffs. Could it have something to do with the hives or the location?

Were the hives coated inside with anything,like linseed,stain,paint?Could the syrup have been dripping on them?

Offline jgiles

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Re: HELP package bees
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2010, 12:32:50 PM »
The inside of the hives were bare wood.  The outsides had been painted 2weeks prior.  I checked on the remaining packages (italian) this morning and one of them is doing great already has 1 frame 3/4 drawn out while the other package (russians) are lagging and do not appear to be very strong.  I have them located in a sunny area on the edge of the woods.   

Offline wd

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Re: HELP package bees
« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2010, 04:29:49 PM »
I don't know if you've thought of this yet or would even consider it - I did

Thinking the feeder would help with scent and not let feed go to waste, I placed the can inside the box on hunch that this one might take off. yeah, they stayed but built comb on the can and attached it to the wall. no pics, I've since cleaned them up and have the memory.