>I read that direct releasing the queen will likely result in them balling her and killing her. Is this not the case?
It is not the case.
>Do they have enough time to get acquainted in the package before being dumped in together?
A package is total confusion and they are just happy there is a queen there.
That would be page 78 in my book. The section titled: "Don't hang the queen between the frames"
"Don't hang the queen between the frames
"This almost always results in an extra comb be-tween those two frames drawn on the queen cage. Release the queen and you won't have to worry about the messed up combs. This is even more important in a foundationless scenario such as a top bar hive or foundationless frames as one messed up between the frames comb will result in a repeat of the error the rest of the way across. Dump the bees in. Let them settle a bit. To keep the queen from flying, pull the cork from the non candy end (where she can get out now) and, while holding your thumb over the hole, lay the cage on the bottom and leave it. Put the frames back in and the lid on and walk away. Don’t try to release her onto the top bars. Release her down on the bottom board.
"One of the issues seems to be that people think that either they will abscond or they will kill the queen. In my experience leaving her caged does not seem to resolve these issues. If they want to leave they usually move to the hive next door anyway and abandon the queen. If you release the queen it also won't stop this from happening, but it also won't cause it. I've not had a problem with a package killing the queen. A bunch of confused bees have been shaken together from many hives and in the confusion they are just happy to find a queen. If they do kill the queen it is almost always because there is already one loose in the package that got shaken in. The bees prefer this queen because they have contact with her."
And further on page 81:
"Don't let messed up comb lead to more messed up comb
"If you have foundationless or a top bar hive this is even more critical. With foundation you get a sort of clean slate every frame as there is another wall of foundation to start from. Still I would try to straighten out any messes quickly. Bees build parallel combs, so with foundationless one bad comb just leads to another. By the same token one good comb leads to another as well. The sooner you make sure the last comb from which the “next” is being built is straight and centered; the better off you will be because the next comb will be parallel to that one. If you have a top bar hive, make sure you have some frames built that you can tie combs into if they get crooked or fall off. That way you can always get at least the last one in the row straight again or, better yet, all of them straight. Especially with foundationless, I would check soon after installation and make sure they are off to the correct start, meaning the combs are in the frames and lined up correctly. The sooner you make sure, the better off you'll be.
"If you're using foundation and the bees build fins off of the foundation or parallel combs where there is a gap you can't get to, scrape this off before it has open brood in it. The wax isn't nearly the investment that open brood is. Keep the hive clean of this messed up comb or it will haunt you for a long time to come. With plastic foundation you can just scrape it to the plastic. With wax foundation you'll need more finesse."