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Author Topic: 3 lb vs 4 lb bee packages  (Read 3429 times)

Offline DCHoneybees

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3 lb vs 4 lb bee packages
« on: January 19, 2011, 10:34:24 AM »
Does anyone have any personal experience using both 3 and 4 lb packages in new hives? 

One would think that all things being equal (supplier, breed, delivery date, install location, etc) that mathematics would dictate quicker comb production (I am going foundationless), colony build-up and an improved (though likely unexceptional) honey crop in the first year.  I have therefore opted to pay the modest premium for the 30+ percent more bees in the 4 lb package.

How sound is this logic in the experience of others?

Offline Vance G

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Re: 3 lb vs 4 lb bee packages
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2011, 12:27:35 PM »
With the price of packages, it is indeed not a huge extravagance to opt for a four pound package.  What really determines is when you have ordered your package in relation to your main honey flow.  If you order and install your package early, feed them including pollen or best available sustitute, that queen can produce that pound in less than a week, even if 21 days down the road.  If there is available forage when you get them, then having the extra workforce will speed things up.  If they are just sitting at home being fed and building up, it's not neccessary.  Your dime!

Offline DCHoneybees

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Re: 3 lb vs 4 lb bee packages
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2011, 09:47:55 AM »
With an install date in mid-April, our warmer climate, and a variety of foraging options in our urban area (Georgetown, DC) I imagine that the girls will have almost immediate access to food sources.  I've already made the bet with a premium of $13 for the extra pound on most of my purchases.  I do have a few 3 lb packages coming too around the same time so I will report back on any findings!

Offline Finski

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Re: 3 lb vs 4 lb bee packages
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2011, 10:05:05 AM »
.
4 lbs = 2 kg. It occupyes the whole langstroth box. That is very good.
When I started beekeeing, I bought lots of swarms and i join them..

I found that 8 lbs = 2 langstroth box is optimum. It makes quite a big brood area and after 4 - 5 weeks I may add a third box.  it brings honey too.

Best is ofcourse a nuc, which has brood frames. It build up very fast compared to package.
One brood frame gives 3 frames bees.
.
Language barrier NOT included

Offline Russ p

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Re: 3 lb vs 4 lb bee packages
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2011, 03:03:15 PM »
  Last spring I started 2lb packages the first part of april and in two months one hive had already built up and swarmed. I saw it go but never did find it.They built up again and was heavy with honey for winter.The other hive gave me a medium super of honey with the two brood hives really heavy for winter.Both hives with two brood boxes each are still heavy at this time.

Offline Course Bee

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Re: 3 lb vs 4 lb bee packages
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2011, 05:33:29 PM »
Russ P, Did you start your two pound packages on foundation or drawn comb?
Tim

Offline Russ p

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Re: 3 lb vs 4 lb bee packages
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2011, 09:15:48 PM »
   I started the 2 lb packages on foundation

Offline DCHoneybees

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Re: 3 lb vs 4 lb bee packages
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2011, 12:29:19 PM »
I'll be starting most of these four pounders on a foundationless set up which is why I think the added work force will help build the comb a little more quickly and get the queen laying.  I will be feeding them 1:1 syrup until I see some stores in the new comb.

But Russ P, your experience is interesting especially given your climate.  I have also ordered an extra queen and plan to split one of these large packages into two 5-frame nucs and then go vertical with additional 5-frame boxes.  While not a experimentally significant, it will be interesting to compare the buildup of these smaller colonies against the full-sized packages.  These packages are costing me $88/per.  Splitting this package in two (and perhaps doing one more split in June) might provide a cost effective means of establishing for sale some economical summer nucs. 

Offline Russ p

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Re: 3 lb vs 4 lb bee packages
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2011, 01:22:39 PM »

          Yes it sounds like that would work for you if you are in a good area for the bees. I live way out in the country next to big fields of alfalfa the farmer cuts late allowing the bees to really work on the blossoms.There is also a river close with basswood trees for another source of nector.I fed mine 1-1 sugar water maybe to much I think trying to get the foundation drawn out making one honey bound causing it to swarm.I checked the hives yesterday still heavy and alive.
           Russ

 

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