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Author Topic: Packaged bee survival statistics?  (Read 3642 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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« 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?



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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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« 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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« 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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 John F. Kennedy
Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA. http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/
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« Reply #20 on: April 23, 2013, 06:29:38 PM »

 Package bees survive better in a cool truck as long as it's mnot an open flatbed trailer than what they would survive riding in a hot van trailer. I would rather have the ones cool shipped. Heat will kill them faster than cold when they are confined.

Most packages usually survive through the first winter if properly tended to. It is the second and third year when people ignore the mites thinking they have resistant bees because they survived year one.
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kathyp
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« Reply #21 on: April 23, 2013, 08:49:29 PM »

Quote
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.

hmmm.  might be that it's not the thing for you.  thought i was sharing some ideas and a little common sense stuff, but you took it all twitchy. 
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« Reply #22 on: April 23, 2013, 11:19:19 PM »

I installed 3 packages the last weekend of march. Each was given 3 drawn comb deep frames and 7 frames wax foundation. Sheet of wax separating comb in centers.  bees are so darn disoriented from shipping that they will accept darn near anything.  Live released her after two days in all 3 packages.  All now have 7-8 frames of solid brood.  Putting drawn second story on tomorrow.  I'm in frederick,md so we are slightly warmer but not by much.  Should have no problem getting them to feed.  I have some screened bottom some solid.  Some reducers some don't.  Still drawing comb but not taking syrup anymore, flow is on!  (They will be requeened from local stock in the next week or so.  I'll work the GA queens out in nucs and sell them as such.)

Over wintered hives have drones flying, have been supered, are starting to fill them and showing signs of swarming.

To answer your original question. I am 100% survival on packages.  The ones I lost in the past were beekeeper error. I found if you can't keep a package alive you may be "loving it to death"... Can't say I never did that.  But these little girls have a way of taking care of themselves if you let them. 

As for your club experiences, it's hard to find the members of York County's club to be anything but warm, welcoming and eager to help any and everyone. 
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« Reply #23 on: April 24, 2013, 07:40:26 PM »

What I meant by make it was. How many new beekeepers buy packaged bees, install them and achieve a viable hive on the first try?

I personally am not a pro beek but, I do have common sense. I see a lot of bees being sold like this and I know there isnt the support system in place for every beginner to be able to avoid the numerous catastrophies that can take place dumping bees into a box with zero experience.

Now back to my second season of attempting this.

I went back to the farm yesterday @ 5 ish. I actually saw activity in the hive on the right when I pulled up. (one thing I forgot was to pull the corks of off sugar plug side of queen cages)
I opened the right hive first. I removed the baggie feeder, then pulled out the queen cage and popped the cork from sugar plug side and put back, then lifted up hive body and my girl dumped lethargic or dead bees into the bucket (see pic) and put everything back including new baggie feeder of syrup.
The best I can afford to do is feed them sugar syrup. These are new hives for me and I dont have honey sitting around. This is the reason I asked the initial question in this thread. So after seeing the amount of dead bees in that hive what's gonna happen?
The left hive was buzzing about pretty nicely. I popped the top and went to pull the cork from the sugar plug side of the queen cage and saw that the queen was already out. They must not have plugged it from the supplier.I put a new bag of food in and closed her up.















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« Reply #24 on: April 24, 2013, 08:27:19 PM »

You say you picked up 2 package's today. Which was the 22, Monday, according to your initial post. "AT this time" you stated that one package was O K, right? the second package had dead and dying bees.  Did you inspect the bees before taking them? Where did the bees ship from and how long before you picked them up? The longer they stay in transit and, or, held over till they are picked up, the greater risk of losing more bees. M.B. may have hit it.That small can of feed will last only so long. Package Bee survival rate should come from good healthy package's and not a mixed batch. So your assumption of 50-50 is correct if you did your research on 2 package's and one survived.

Order some Bee Lure, Pheromones, and put out a swarm trap. Ferrel swarms do well for me. D2
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« Reply #25 on: April 24, 2013, 08:58:53 PM »

The pkg I got and just installed Saturday already had about 1/2 inch of dead bees in the bottom of the pkg before I even installed them. I watched them Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and saw the live bees in the hive flying out the dead bees on all three days.
Went in today after the rain stopped to check that the queen had been released and I was pleased to see she was. Also there were no more dead bees in the hive they had all been removed from the hive by the girls.

I have been feeding them since Saturday with a hive top feeder filled with 1:1 sugar water and they have drawn 4 frames partially with new comb. I noticed they had started storing pollen, syrup, and what looked like nectar in the center frame.

Looks like we are on a good start. We'll have to wait and see if I can get it to survive to next year.

So far my pkg of bee are doing well even though it started with a lot of dead bees in the pkg.

My next 3 hives will be started with nucs.

I wish you good luck with yours.

David
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« Reply #26 on: April 27, 2013, 11:44:15 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.

i had the EXACT same circumstance and experience with the same supplier...i live in Chester county.  had one package that never got any brood and one in which there were about 30 brood but also supercedure cells made at about same time and then nothing.  ANd yes there seemed to be a lot of drones in these packages but not 25%!!  In addition the hives were nasty from the start- got stung more times in 2 weeks that i have the last 2 years!  I talked to someone at Draper and they suggested that a lot of early season packages dont have fully mated queens.  So I toughed it out.  Like you i didnt want to purchase queens from same source.  Unfortunately both my hives died in the Winter so I had no brood to give these guys.
I just installed two new queens from a source in Vt via a push in cage (cut out supercedure cells)-- no brood to put cage over though....at least dont have worker laying hive....hive starting to bring in pollen but in general theyhave both been lethargic (not drawing out comb where i cut out wax on my Pierco frames).  I have never had such issues with previous packages ever.  To answer your question- i think i read that about 25% packges fail-- seems high to me.  I am going to wait 5 days before i peek in hive to check on push in cages.  What was interesting is that these queens came with extra bees (not attendants just extra bees on outside of queen cages).  I tried to brush some in a container and put right out side of hive...ironically they seem to have been accepted-- didnt see any fighting. 

The thing that sucks is that i had two hives fail over the winter...i hate packages.  I have had good luck with this supplier in the past-- maybe its just that these pacakges were too early....
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« Reply #27 on: April 28, 2013, 12:15:20 AM »

There has even been talk of them shipping virgin queens in packages this year with the shortages.  People been getting stiffed on packages left and right.  Glad I know the guy that drives em up!
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« Reply #28 on: April 28, 2013, 09:30:42 AM »

I am in Georgia and just installed a pkg I got from a local guy just up the street. I was concerned about the amount of dead bees in the bottom of the pkg however it has been a week and everything seems to be going fine. The queen is out. The bees are drawing comb on the plastic Mann Lake PF120 frames. They are storing both pollen and nectar in the new comb. I might even have seen some egg laying. So far so good. But that being said, I am just one week in. We will have to see where I am in a year.

Queen is at 6:00 in picture. She looks good. There might be eggs at her 10, 11 and 1 o'clock position.



Good luck guys.

David
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« Reply #29 on: April 28, 2013, 09:33:34 AM »

Yeah and they were clipped queens with the package...... AND March 30 is too early in PA to really get mated well even if she wasnt clipped....
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« Reply #30 on: April 28, 2013, 10:38:33 AM »

Beryfarmer,
I have beeen fortunate not to receive an unmated queen in any of my packages aso far. And your right, March 30 is too early to mate in PA.
 No drones,no mating. And the window of opportunity is small.
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« Reply #31 on: April 28, 2013, 11:11:32 AM »

                                     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.



good heavens what you are teaching!

The build up of colony depends on size of colony. You may feed 5-frame colony as much as possible but it cannot rear more brood that nurser bees can takes care.

It depends part of coutry  where you should do something.

A strange advice.

.most of beginners want to draw combs and fast. They do not understand about  brood amount nothing.

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« Reply #32 on: April 28, 2013, 10:00:57 PM »

Completely agree with finski. My girls didn't touch any of the several pollen subs I tried.  The big hive build up faster.  Also strong hives help to avoid tons of other problems.
Another thing I think.  Nothing against a screened bottom but I prefer a solid. I like to make sure they are hot. They will vent themselves if needed.
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« Reply #33 on: April 29, 2013, 07:40:06 AM »

Many packages are hived in the North before foraging is available, Be it weather or no blooms or nectar. These colonies need to be fed , especially if on foundations. they will not survive if not given the resources to survive until better conditions prevail.
I know it would be ideal to hive them during a good nectyar and polllen flow, but when purchasing packages, your orders generally nned to be in by early January and then you are at the mercy of your supplier when you get your packages. If you opt for later dates you may be out of luck altogether.
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« Reply #34 on: May 01, 2013, 03:06:57 PM »

update.
so after 5 days of the push in cage have the results:

Hive #1-- no live queen or dead body in cage--cage full of about 10-20 bees.  Searched the frams and found larvae and eggs.  good so far.. wasnt able to find queen but figured at the time that if she is laying i dont really care.

Hive#2- push in cage intact - handful of bees on outside of cage.  No eggs laid within cage.  Let queen out-- np and went to search other frames...oops.. saw larvae and eggs like Hive#1 but not as many.  one or two double eggs but not that many....was finishing my inspection of the last frame when i saw my released queen again-- scurrying around--bees kind of ignoring her. The push in cage was on the edge of the bee cluster and the bees were clustered around the  end frames.-- Didnt see any other queen except the one in #2
Sooo... advice?

I would find it hard to believe that in both these hives the original queens started to lay just when i put replacment queens in.   Thus must be laying worker in hive#2, cant tell with #1.. but many more eggs in hive #1.
There was a question a while ago re the shape of worker brood cells-- are they always bullet shaped indicating drones or can they appear normal?

1) Go back in in 5 days to check things out
2) Leave well enough alone and go back in 10 days
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« Reply #35 on: May 01, 2013, 03:09:43 PM »

oh hive #2 was MUCH more calm relative to previous inspections- noraml behaviour
Hive #1 was still a bit defensive and noisy....

also both hives starting to bring in pollen whereas 5 days ago not much going on.

they bother still arent drawing comb in the few frames that need a little bit drawn out-- i gues they dont need the space..
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« Reply #36 on: May 01, 2013, 03:24:35 PM »

Quote
Nothing against a screened bottom but I prefer a solid. I like to make sure they are hot. They will vent themselves if needed.

i have both and to be honest, i don't see much difference BUT i only have the insert boards out for about 3 months out of the year.  i like the screened for swarm catching, i like to be able to pull the boards out and see whats on them, i like the fact that the dead bees over winter don't seem so mucky on the screened boards...but i think that either way is ok.  just don't leave the screened open until the temps are up there day and night.
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« Reply #37 on: May 02, 2013, 10:02:08 AM »

When speaking of a package and "food" I mean syrup.  Real pollen is usually available from late winter on from Maples and Pussywillows.  Pollen substitute will make inferior short lived bees and usually is ignored anyway and only feeds the small hive beetles.

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« Reply #38 on: May 10, 2013, 05:29:12 PM »

So per my previous posts went back into hive after 10 days

both hives were the same-- calm bees (didnt use smoke), couldnt find the queen.  Tight brood pattern. Saw eggs up through capped brood but....

it seemed to me that a lot (50%! ) of brood was drones!  huh This was more prevalent i think in the older brood.   Each hive with brood about the size of 1-2 hands on 4 frame sides.  To me much of it seemed to be larger/domey than typical worker brood.  The odd thing is that there were more flatter capped brood on the outside edges of the laying pattern.

Seems odd i would have this on BOTH hives....perhaps got sent unmated queens?  But i find it hard to believe that once a queen starts laying that she would leave again for mating.  also find it hard to believe that it could be a worker laying because i did not see that many double layings and the pattern seemed tight 10 days ago and continues to be tight amongst all the brood

No supercedure cells filled. 

So i am thoroughly confused but also heartened that i am seeing the exact behaviour in both hives......I guess i will wait a week and check on them again--hopefully no drone explosion.

any comments would be appreciated-- sorry no photos
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« Reply #39 on: May 12, 2013, 09:59:58 PM »

                                     The Importance of Feeding
 Expect to feed a 5 gallon bucket of syrup per package, and at least
two pollen substitute patties.




                 BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley

The beek I got my first two packages from said not to use pollen patties as they will increase the hive beetle population.  Thoughts?
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« Reply #40 on: May 13, 2013, 08:45:51 AM »

>The beek I got my first two packages from said not to use pollen patties as they will increase the hive beetle population.  Thoughts?

Yes, they will draw hive beetles.  They will also do no good whatsoever as real pollen is virtually always available by the time you can get packages.  The Maples started blooming a month before, probably, and the willows and cedars and probably even the fruit trees are blooming usually by the time packages arrive.  Pollen substitute makes short lived bees...
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« Reply #41 on: May 17, 2013, 12:28:23 AM »

So far for me this year.
Ordered 10 packages.  Arrived with bottom fairly covered with dead bees, but not more than a layer of one.  All queens alive and looked good.
Installed on mostly drawn comb in ten frame deep with syrup and a frame of honey.
2 day queen release check.  One queen dead in cage. Gave that hive a frame of brood and eggs from an established hive of mine. Two queens released, the rest still in cages, although all had significant amount of candy eaten away.  Most cages had small pieces of new comb hanging from them. Pulled corks and placed cages back in and closed up.
2 week ( and a few days due to rain) check. 6 hives queen right.  The two hives that released their queens both were queen right and had the most brood. One hive had a very small amount of capped worker brood, a tiny amount of drone brood and a queen cell with the side chewed out.  Put a backup frame of brood and eggs in. 2 non queen right, one with significant drone brood and the uneven comb of laying workers, and one with a small amount of drone brood.  Put frames of brood and eggs in both.  Hive that had the dead queen, no brood yet, but found an opened queen cell. No sign of workers laying.  Gave them another frame of eggs and brood.  So those are the statistics that I have so far this year.

JC
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« Reply #42 on: May 17, 2013, 12:38:17 PM »

>So my question is. What is the success rate of packaged bees?

Steadily declining over the years, in my experience.  The last time I got some I don't think any of the packages survived.  Most of the local stock did.  I can't see me buying packges again.
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« Reply #43 on: May 17, 2013, 09:35:55 PM »

I started with a package in Oklahoma in 1980.  Figured out how to install it by reading a book w/pictures (no internet videos back then.) Moved to Virginia and started over there with a package in 1988.  Kept moving so I quit for a while but finally settled down and started over back in Oklahoma with a package in 2010.  Got another package to expand my apiary in 2012.  Never had a lick of trouble with any of the packages. Never requeen them; let them do their thing.  Maybe I have been lucky. This year for the first time I made a nuc to have on hand with a back up queen the girls made in case one of my 3 hives goes queenless.

Linda D.
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« Reply #44 on: May 18, 2013, 02:38:46 PM »

Of the three I've put in this year, last weekend of march, all three are quite strong.  After well established brood nest I pulled the original queens and put in carniolans. 
Father in law has put in 6 packages this year.  He has lost one already to laying workers.  He has replaced queens on 2 others.  Lots of people have been having problems with the queens from earlier this year from packages, at least around here.  Anyone else?
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« Reply #45 on: May 21, 2013, 09:40:43 AM »

We got two packages this year.  One is super strong and the queen has a very good lay pattern.  The other was really strong got honey bound and started swarm cells.  We are currently trying to get a few nucs with the extra queens but if it fails or flourishes at this point it is on our management.  The packages were good.  Good queens it appears.
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« Reply #46 on: May 21, 2013, 11:53:49 AM »

Father in law has put in 6 packages this year.  He has lost one already to laying workers.  He has replaced queens on 2 others.  Lots of people have been having problems with the queens from earlier this year from packages, at least around here.  Anyone else?

Early queens had a rough time in the south land trying to get mated.  Untypical weather pattern really messed it up.
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