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Author Topic: Packaged bee survival statistics?  (Read 3779 times)
Billybee
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« on: April 22, 2013, 04:09:11 PM »

I just picked up 2 packages of bees today and installed them..

I did the same thing last year.  I bought them from a different place this year that is closer to me. Coincidentally it looks like I am headed down the same road. 1 package is getting moving, flying around and returning and the other has crazy amounts of dead or lethargic bees soon to be dead. I do not know the condition of the queens in either. I just put the cages in covered with bees.

So far I am NOT a fan of the packaged bee world. Seems more of a profit oriented thing than a bees first thing. I would much rather remove them from a dwelling any day. Seems to me to be a far easier ordeal than buying dead bees.

I have had beekeeping experience in Florida before my northeast torture and I do not know how anybody with zero beekeeping experience gets these things home and gets them going.

So my question is. What is the success rate of packaged bees? Is there any reliable data on the topic. Im not calling the slow hive dead yet or the one moving viable but, I have doubts. I am 50-50 on packaged bees becoming hives.
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sterling
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« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2013, 04:17:48 PM »

If package bees were the only bees that have problems then I guess anybody could keep bees.
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Steel Tiger
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« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2013, 04:25:42 PM »

I'm not a fan of them, but I'll be getting a package of bees on the 5th and a nuc of northern raised and wintered bees on the 10th. The package is being shipped from Ga to a local supplier. I was planning on getting the nuc this week but when I called earlier today to make an appointment to pick them up, they pushed it back to the 10th.  I decided, since I'll be getting the packaged bees first, to buy a Canadian Buckfast queen when I pick up my nuc and requeen the package. The packaged bees will have 5 days to start building comb. I figured that'll be enough time to decide whether to buy the new queen or not.
 I'll make a mini nuc for the italian queen that's going to come with the package...just in case I need her. If things go well, she'll be on craigslist.
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Jim 134
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« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2013, 04:29:47 PM »

I'm not a fan of them, but I'll be getting a package of bees on the 5th and a nuc of northern raised and wintered bees on the 10th. The package is being shipped from Ga to a local supplier. I was planning on getting the nuc this week but when I called earlier today to make an appointment to pick them up, they pushed it back to the 10th.  I decided, since I'll be getting the packaged bees first, to buy a Canadian Buckfast queen when I pick up my nuc and requeen the package. The packaged bees will have 5 days to start building comb. I figured that'll be enough time to decide whether to buy the new queen or not.
 I'll make a mini nuc for the italian queen that's going to come with the package...just in case I need her. If things go well, she'll be on craigslist.

Steel Tiger.......
  
       How long have you been keeping bees for Huh



              

                    BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
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"Tell me and I'll forget,show me and I may  remember,involve me and I'll understand"
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« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2013, 05:43:39 PM »

Have you watched any of the vids on installing packages? Are you using foundation frames?  Maybe we can better help you.

Installing a package is not that difficult. Intimidating maybe,but not hard. How did you transport them? They can not be in the open air in the back of a pickup without a wind break. I would haul them in the car with me.

 I saw your video from last year, did you use anything but the syrup cans from the package set in front of the hives to feed them? That can is sufficient for transport, but not establishment.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2013, 06:08:59 PM by buzzbee » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2013, 05:45:45 PM »

Steel tiger:
The logic of only five days to build comb?
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mulesii
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« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2013, 05:59:53 PM »

I purchased a package from a local supplier who goes down to Georgia and brings packages up to my local area each year.  I installed the package on 30 March on drawn out foundation with honey, pollen, and empty comb for the new queen to lay.  I also provided them with one gallon 1:1 syrup and a pollen substitute patty.  The queen was released by the third day and that was the last that I saw any evidence of her.  No eggs or brood evident at the 2 1/2 week mark.  I eventually put an frame of eggs in the hive from another of my hives so they can raise a queen and will probably need to add capped brood this week.  When I installed the queen, if she had not been marked, she would have been difficult to distinguish from the attendant bees in the cage.  I am assuming she was not mated.  Additionally about 25 percent of the bees in the package were drones.

After this episode, I will probably never purchase another package - at least not from the same supplier.
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« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2013, 06:07:00 PM »

Mulessi,
i would have contacted the supplier. Most likerly if she wasn't laying by then they might have shipped a new queen.
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Billybee
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« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2013, 07:29:50 PM »

Yes I have watched the videos. I had no problem installing them. I just think have a problem with this particular high chance of failure method of gettingf bees.


They were riding shotgun in the truck for well under 2 hours warm with the windows a little cracked open for circulation.

Heading back to them tomorrow afternoon. Will video the scene.



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kathyp
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« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2013, 07:44:24 PM »

we have a local supplier, so my experience was good...although years ago.  if i were you guys, i'd get my name out to do some swarm catching.  it's a good way to boost your yard and always have a backup or two.

some areas are better than others for getting into it.  you might try contacting an established person in your area and offer to be backup, or ask if you can tag along on a couple and help.

DO NOT take over his/her territory, or you will get on the black list and get no more help!   grin  but, i am always happy to have someone close to me who is willing to take calls when i can't, or when i have used all my equipment.
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Ken
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« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2013, 09:26:51 PM »

Early surviavl should not be too bad. We just need to help them  to get started as we are installing earlier in the season than when conditions are prime for natural swarms to occur.
The packages look well and healthy enough from the photo. Very few dead bees on the bottom, some but not too many, which is okay.
 What method are you using to feed them?
  At this point with it being cool overnight into late morning they will need feeding. We are dumping packages into empty boxes with no food reserves.They also have no comb built to store reserves. We need to help them get started with both.
Also, queen placement needs to be done where the bees can access and cluster around the queen keeping her warm during the cool hours. If they cluster above her while she is still in the queen cage and the cage is not where the bees will cluster, she could get in trouble fast.Be sure she is not laying on the floor of the hive while it is cold overnight. Especially  not screen side down.
Take note in your package photo that the bees hang from the top down. This is how they will cluster on the frames and foundation in the hive when it gets cool.
Hope you have better luck this time.
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OPAVP
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« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2013, 09:50:35 PM »

Steel Tiger,
Do tell me where do you get a Canadian Buckfast queen in the next few days. The weather in Canada is way to cold to find mated queens here. Greetings from Alberta. Cor Van Pelt.
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Jim 134
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« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2013, 10:09:57 PM »

Steel Tiger,
Do tell me where do you get a Canadian Buckfast queen in the next few days. The weather in Canada is way to cold to find mated queens here. Greetings from Alberta. Cor Van Pelt.

I do now you cannot send bees or Queens from USA to Canada its been that way for about 25 years. You may be able to send bees or Queens from Canada to the USA I do not know.




                  BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
 
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"Tell me and I'll forget,show me and I may  remember,involve me and I'll understand"
        Chinese Proverb

"The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways."
 John F. Kennedy
Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA. http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/
Steel Tiger
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« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2013, 10:37:42 PM »

Steel tiger:
The logic of only five days to build comb?

 If they stay to start building, then the likelyhood of them leaving is pretty low. I don't want to buy a new queen if they're not building or seem to just be dying, as happened to several people.
Steel Tiger,
Do tell me where do you get a Canadian Buckfast queen in the next few days. The weather in Canada is way to cold to find mated queens here. Greetings from Alberta. Cor Van Pelt.

 They've been wintered down here. Maybe they're Vermont Buckfast now? Anyways. I double checked the site, I thought you could choose from several types of queens. Turns out they're hybrids which includes Canadian Buckfast.  I also checked the available dates and they won't be ready until June Sad . I'll ask them anyways while I'm there. May have the queen mailed. It's a 3 hour trip each way for me to the apiary.
 Here's the place if you or anyone else want to check them out. Singing Cedar Apiaries
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Jim 134
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« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2013, 04:43:51 AM »


Steel tiger:
The logic of only five days to build comb?

If they stay to start building, then the likelyhood of them leaving is pretty low. I don't want to buy a new queen if they're not building or seem to just be dying, as happened to several people.

Steel Tiger.......
 Has this happened to you Huh     
 How long have you been keeping bees for???



             

                    BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
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"Tell me and I'll forget,show me and I may  remember,involve me and I'll understand"
        Chinese Proverb

"The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways."
 John F. Kennedy
Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA. http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/
Billybee
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« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2013, 06:31:16 AM »

I am feeding them with the baggie feeder method on top. They are on a 22inch high stand. I have plywood around the bottom of the stand to break the wind from blowing up into the hives (will remove when it gets warmer). It is chilly here and windy in Harrisburg.

There is a frame close to half full of empty comb and a frame with a smaller piece tucked into a corner of each box. The queens are hanging real close to if not on the comb. Frames are foundationless throughout..

About how they look in the truck: Dare I say that they may have been alive when the picture was taken but, on their way to being dead after being shipped in a cold trailor overnight?

As far as getting on a list to try and catch swarms I see no time for that with work, playing bass in a blues band, home life and had no idea you could get blacklisted for something in beekeeping. All about the bees right? I would rather get on a list to go remove bees from places they are unwanted but, there's probably a blacklisting for that too. Some elses territory? Sounds like a union thing. I wasnt impressed with the organization of the bee meeting/fest or whatever you wanna call it and it's doubtful I could get on a list for anything there. More turn offs for beekeeping the more things I hear when it comes to dealing with others doing it! I'm very close to bagging it.

Anyway. I am going to the hives around 5 today. I will be lifting up the bodies and my girl will be dumping dead bees into a bucket. Each hive seperate buckets. Then I am gonna pop the tops, have a look and replace food bags. Will upload pics asap after that.

The question I started this thread with still has not been answered though. How many packages actually make it?



« Last Edit: April 23, 2013, 06:59:29 AM by Billybee » Logged

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Jim 134
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« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2013, 07:04:58 AM »

The question I started this thread with still has not been answered though. How many packages actually make it?

Make it to what Huh
For a week or a year or long or Huh




               BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
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"Tell me and I'll forget,show me and I may  remember,involve me and I'll understand"
        Chinese Proverb

"The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways."
 John F. Kennedy
Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA. http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/
Michael Bush
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« Reply #17 on: April 23, 2013, 08:01:09 AM »

Lethargic bees from a package install is usually a sign of starvation.  Make sure they have food and that it's warm enough they can eat it.  If it's not much over 50 F in the daytime and colder at night the syrup will probably never be warm enough for them to take it.  If you warm the syrup once a day, they can suck some down to get them through the day.
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mulesii
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« Reply #18 on: April 23, 2013, 10:59:17 AM »

Mulessi,
i would have contacted the supplier. Most likerly if she wasn't laying by then they might have shipped a new queen.

The supplier offered to sell me a new queen for $25 but since the queens were all procured from the same queen /package supplier in GA, I couldn't see throwing good money after bad.  I tend to reward good service, not poor service and by the looks of the queen when I installed it this was an example of poor service.
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Jim 134
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« Reply #19 on: April 23, 2013, 04:22:21 PM »

                                      The Importance of Feeding

A queen will not lay to her full potential if the colony lacks pollen and honey. Keep
feeding your new colony honey, or sugar syrup 1:1 and pollen substitute until they
occupy two deep hive bodies. Even if plenty of natural pollen is available a new colony
will not have a sufficient foraging force until newly emerging workers are at least three
weeks old. It can take six weeks before the foraging bees can supply the food to meet the
needs of a young, laying, queen. Lack of food is the main reason new colonies do not
build up quickly. Keep your new bees well fed. My rule of thumb is that any colony with
less then three frames of honey (or syrup) and three frames of pollen is starving during
the spring buildup. Expect to feed a 5 gallon bucket of syrup per package, and at least
two pollen substitute patties.




                 BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
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"Tell me and I'll forget,show me and I may  remember,involve me and I'll understand"
        Chinese Proverb

"The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways."
 John F. Kennedy
Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA. http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/
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