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Author Topic: 3 packages, but all bees went to one hive  (Read 1936 times)
AliciaH
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« on: April 23, 2012, 12:41:31 AM »

I'm helping a member from our bee club who installed 3 packages on Friday (another club member helped him).  He called me yesterday to tell me that he was noticing more activity around one hive than the other two.  He called this evening to say he'd been in the hives today (Sunday) and found:
     
     Hive #1:  Queen still in cage with apx. 10 bees attending her
     Hive #2:  Queen still in cage with apx. 20 bees clustered around her
     Hive #3:  Nine pounds of bees

I'm going to go help him tomorrow, but I haven't run into a situation like this before.  I know that we can rotate the boxes and try to redistribute some of the population, but what else can we do to balance this out?  If the queen from Hive #3 has stronger pheramones than the other two, won't they all drift back again?

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rdy-b
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« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2012, 12:54:40 AM »

 can you tell use about the boxes are they full of foundation or drawn comb--RDY-B
 
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AliciaH
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« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2012, 01:05:35 AM »

rdy-b:  He's using all westerns.  He put the packages directly into the hives, so there is only 5 frames of foundation.  Because the packages are taller, he stacked another western on top of the first.  I do not know if there is foundation in the top western, or if he only placed it to cover the package, then placed the lid.

I was wondering, from the reading I'm doing on the web, if we rotate the hive locations, then spray the bees down with sugar syrup so they can't fly right away?  Maybe even do all this at the end of the day so they would be more inclined to stay in overnight?

Any and all suggestions would be helpful.  I'm particularly worried about the other two queens..
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rdy-b
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« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2012, 01:19:22 AM »

 sounds like the second box is empty and thats what he dump into--9 lbs of bees would
 be a thight fit for just two westerns with frames-one western is plenty fine for the package once
 consolidated -from what you have provided information wise i would say there will be a big cluster of bees hanging from the lid into the empty box-start with those --
 and repopulate one of the other boxes -switch the other light hive with the location of the hive that the bees drifted to
 you will need to give the bees syrup to hold them -sounds like a mess you will be fine-- cheesy RDY-B
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AliciaH
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« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2012, 01:27:34 AM »

A tight fit is an understatement...he did mention that there was a huge clump of bees outside the box.

So, if there is a large clump of bees hanging from the lid, are you saying that we could lift the lid and simply switch lids with a hive that needs the bees?  Should we spray them with sugar syrup as part of the move?

Then, switch the overly populated hive with the 2nd underpopulated hive to try and get more bees equilized that way?  Spray or not spray?

I know I'm harping on the spraying, I'm just trying to come up with a way to keep the bees in the boxes once we shift them so they can get used to the new queen's pheramones.

As for feeding in general, he's using boardman feeders (ugh).  I think, additionally, I will advice him to feed through an inner cover.  That way the feed source is at the top of the hive and, hopefully, the bees will gravitate there, rather than the opening at the front.  Should help?
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2012, 04:45:19 AM »

I have seen it often enough.  More in recent years.  I had a lot do it this year.  Yes, they like the queen next door better.

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Michael Bush
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Jim 134
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« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2012, 05:49:32 AM »

I'm helping a member from our bee club who installed 3 packages on Friday (another club member helped him).  He called me yesterday to tell me that he was noticing more activity around one hive than the other two.  He called this evening to say he'd been in the hives today (Sunday) and found:
    
     Hive #1:  Queen still in cage with apx. 10 bees attending her
     Hive #2:  Queen still in cage with apx. 20 bees clustered around her
     Hive #3:  Nine pounds of bees

I'm going to go help him tomorrow, but I haven't run into a situation like this before.  I know that we can rotate the boxes and try to redistribute some of the population, but what else can we do to balance this out?  If the queen from Hive #3 has stronger pheramones than the other two, won't they all drift back again?



AliciaH.........
 
Do you know  how long the bees have been in the packages for Huh in days


   BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
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asprince
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« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2012, 06:57:33 AM »

I had this problem last spring with 20 two pound packages. Installed them on Saturday came back on Sunday to check on them and found that I had about 15 empty boxes and 5 packed boxes. I just split them and located some to different yards.

It appears that they were shaken on Friday and probably from one or two hives and had not been confined with the new and strange queen long enough.

Good Luck,

Steve   
   
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AliciaH
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« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2012, 09:48:28 AM »

Jim:  I don't.  I do know there was a delay with the bees, so I can only guess that they were packaged and delivered very shortly thereafter.  The syrup cans in the other packages I hived from this delivery were almost completely full.

As for hiving on Friday, they didn't get shaken out.  The person helping them had them put the packages directly into the hives to let them crawl out to the queen on their own.  This is one of the things I find so intriguing about this situation.  Not only did Hives #1 and #2 crawl past their own queens, but they had to crawl out of their own packages (which also contain pheromones from the group) and out of the hive, to get to the queen in Hive #3.

Would it be best for Hives #1 and #2, do you think, if we redistributed the bees and then moved Hive #3 away for a generation of bees?
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AndrewT
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« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2012, 10:30:21 AM »

I've never had this happen, but I wonder if it would be good to keep a feeder on the hive after you install the package and a screen door on the front to confine them in the hive for a few days. 

Not practical for the guy with 20 packages to install, but maybe worth a try for the guy with three or four. 

The old guy who I got my first package from years ago told me to always put an entrance reducer on and stuff it lightly with grass so that the bees are confined for a little while.
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AliciaH
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« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2012, 10:52:51 AM »

Feeding -- He really wanted Boardmans.  I've have suggested that as part of the redistribution he change that method to feeding through the inner cover.  It should help get the bees focused on a food source that is inside, at the top, of their new home, rather than a food source at the front door. 

I have wondered about the screen.

Right now, the other mentor is suggesting he move two of the three hives after bee redistribution, which was also suggested here by Steve.  I wonder, though, if two hives need to me moved (safer, probably), or if just moving the strong hive would settle things down enough?  These are new beekeepers, so the safer route would probably be less stressful overall?
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AliciaH
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« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2012, 11:42:35 PM »

So, we had a plan...right up until I got the call that the bees were leaving the box.  Ran over there and yup, 30' up a ceder tree, then all 9# flew away.  Full absconsion, nothing left in the box at all.  We tried to follow them but couldn't keep up.  They're putting the word out to the neighborhood.  That many bees is bound to make an impression when they land somewhere!

I took some frames of mixed eggs/larvae/capped brood and we put two frames in each of the remaining queens' hives (single western boxes now).  Hopefully, they can sustain her until she can start laying.  But that was an emergency maneuver because we were hoping to redistribute some of the bees.  Hopefully, they can track down a couple new packages.

Question:  The other guy helping them has put forth the theory that these bees were primed to swarm before being packaged and that they should lodge a complaint.  Don't know that I buy that theory.  What do you think?
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annette
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« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2012, 12:07:24 AM »

Boy, oh boy!! I know when we pick up packaged bees, the bee store always tells us not to hive them right away because they haven't been in the box long enough. They always say to wait a day. I guess this is a good indication of what can happen when the bees are not attached to the queen yet.

Well you tried to save them. Good luck and keep us informed.

Annette
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AliciaH
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« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2012, 12:11:17 AM »

Thanks, Annette!

I can also see now why some people put a queen excluder between the bottom board and the first brood box (for whatever reason, don't want to open a can of worms here).  I was going to have them do that when we redistributed the bees and moved the hives, but the uber queen beat me to the punch!
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2012, 04:35:58 AM »

Some of the ones I had abandon the queen and move next door were with her three days THAT I KNOW OF because that's how long it took me to get them all installed.  They should have been with her two days before that as well...
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Michael Bush
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AliciaH
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« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2012, 10:45:28 AM »

MB:  So why do you think that is?  Is it possible that the pied piper queen was better mated?

That's about the only conclusion I can draw with the limited experience I have -- They left their packages, left their queen, went on an elimination flight, then went back to the hive with the stronger pheramones?

I guess there's a learning curve with everything, though, and I have some pretty clear ideas of how I'd do things differently next time.  I just feel bad for these folks.  Bad enough to lose one colony.  But three, that just bites...or stings...whatever.   Undecided
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Joe D
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« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2012, 11:29:47 AM »


I am new to beek, was just wandering if putting a couple of drops of LGO in a hive before installing could help on something like this from happening.

Joe
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kathyp
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« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2012, 11:31:52 AM »

seems to me it wouldn't hurt to contact the company.  if it happened to your person, it might have happened to others.  you could just explain that the packages went to a new beekeeper who is now pretty discouraged.  they MIGHT at help you out.  worth a try.
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AliciaH
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« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2012, 11:59:32 AM »

Yea, Kathy, I was about to make that call, but was procrastinating.  Thanks for the kick... Smiley
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D Coates
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« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2012, 12:32:44 PM »

A 9 pound swarm flying around.  For the non-beek that could be quite scary.  For a beek, it's a bragging story for the ages.

I had something like that happen to me when I hived my first two packages as a brand new beek with undrawn frames.  I was confused and disheartened but obviously kept at it.  I hived 6 packages a couple weeks ago and like I do with all my swarms (after learning the hard way) I put in 1 frame of wet brood in there as an anchor frame.  I'm not saying it guarantees success but it would certainly help and give some new bees to the hive while as first wave of brood matures.
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