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Author Topic: package installation next step?  (Read 444 times)

Offline rgennaro

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package installation next step?
« on: April 14, 2021, 12:20:16 pm »
Hi everybody
my first hive was started from a nuc so this is the first time I am starting from packages. For those who didn't read my previous posts: 2 packages were installed on Saturday. Queens both in their cage (minor mishap with one) with a mini marshmallow stopper. Instructions said to check at 3 days which was yesterday. Both cages were open. The one where installation went smoothly (Italian queen) had just a couple of bees in the cage. The other cage (Saskatraz queen -- this is the queen that flew away, was found and ended up in the cage a little banged up but later looked fine) had many many bees in it going really crazy. I opened the screen and shook the bees back in the hive. Both hives are already bringing pollen in and drinking the sugar syrup I am giving them (they also have tons of honey from last year)

When should I do the next inspection? Instructions say 10 days. I am a bit concerned about the Saskatraz queen so I wonder if going in a bit early is OK or a risk.

thanks as usual

Offline van from Arkansas

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Re: package installation next step?
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2021, 01:46:39 pm »
To answer your question.  I released 6 Cordovan queens into queenless 5 frame nucs last Friday.  I will check the queens this coming Friday.  In other words 7 days.

I know how you feel, the temptation is great:  I want to look so much and see my queens.  Are they laying, were the queens accepted?  This Friday will tell.

I have been around bees a long time, since birth.  I am a hobbyist so my answers often reflect this fact.  I concentrate on genetics, raise my own queens by wet graft, nicot, with natural or II breeding.  I do not sell queens, I will give queens  for free but no shipping.

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Re: package installation next step?
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2021, 05:18:12 pm »
The worst thing you can do to a new package undergoing queen introduction is to in banging around interrupting the household before they are family and have the pantry organized.  3 days was WAAY too soon to be doing anything other than walking by an waving hello to the bees at the entrance.  Hopefully it plays out to your favour, but the advice right now is stay out of there until next week.

Minimarshmallow are really quite a fast release.  Often just a matter of a few hours, much too fast and the queen is promptly killed. The instructions I give with my queens is go with a hard candy or if marshmallow is used then put masking tape over the end covering the marshmallow.  Leave the tape on for 3 days then go take the tape off and let them at the marshmallow then.  That said, I use marshmallow myself but I thoroughly stuff the hole with 3 to 4 minis or a big thick smear of a regular.

At this point, I say do nothing for 1 full week.  You are not going to find or fix anything between now and then, and it is more likely you will cause a ruckus and a loss instead.   Bee patient.  We can rush alot of things in beekeeping but the one thing we cannot rush is queens.

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Offline Oldbeavo

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Re: package installation next step?
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2021, 06:27:05 pm »
I know i am slightly off topic, but other than easy to transport, what are the advantages of a package of bees versus a nuc for starting a hive?
There seems more issues with a package, but only from reading forum posts, not from experience.
We have only ever used nucs or splits to start new hives.

Online The15thMember

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Re: package installation next step?
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2021, 06:32:50 pm »
I know i am slightly off topic, but other than easy to transport, what are the advantages of a package of bees versus a nuc for starting a hive?
There seems more issues with a package, but only from reading forum posts, not from experience.
We have only ever used nucs or splits to start new hives.
In my situation the advantage was price, much cheaper to get a package.  Some people also require nuc boxes returned, and I was already driving pretty far to get my bees and didn't want to have to make the trip twice to return the boxes.   
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline van from Arkansas

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Re: package installation next step?
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2021, 10:36:43 pm »
Mr. Beavo, I like to buy a package almost every year.  I just enjoy the challenge and seeing the bees organized as total strangers in disarray to harmony as a functioning hive.  I don?t need the package bees, I just enjoy them.  Remember I am a hobbyist and adore my lil friends.
I have been around bees a long time, since birth.  I am a hobbyist so my answers often reflect this fact.  I concentrate on genetics, raise my own queens by wet graft, nicot, with natural or II breeding.  I do not sell queens, I will give queens  for free but no shipping.

Online Ben Framed

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Re: package installation next step?
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2021, 10:41:22 pm »
Mr. Beavo, I like to buy a package almost every year.  I just enjoy the challenge and seeing the bees organized as total strangers in disarray to harmony as a functioning hive.  I don?t need the package bees, I just enjoy them.  Remember I am a hobbyist and adore my lil friends.

You told us of your arthritis ailments a day or so ago and of your appointment with the orthopedic doctor for today. If you do not mind me asking publicly, how did your meeting go today? Good I hope.....
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline rgennaro

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Re: package installation next step?
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2021, 11:55:22 pm »
OK at least seven days from? The day of installation? Yesterday? 

This was a reputable large retailer (I won't say the name but you can all probably guess) that I ordered the packages from. Their instructions said check at 3 days ...

I was not happy with the cork stopper that I had to replace with a marshmallow myself. I was not happy that the queens were not marked. I think next time I'll go back to the nuc. Last time I got it from a local apiary who brought the nuc at the farmers market in my town, price wasn't that much more expensive and I returned the nuc box to them the following week back at the farmers market. It would have also saved me the driving!

by the way: I didn't do a full inspection. I took one frame out from the side to create enough space to pull the queen cage out. I left all the other frames in the box.

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Re: package installation next step?
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2021, 01:04:57 am »
I know i am slightly off topic, but other than easy to transport, what are the advantages of a package of bees versus a nuc for starting a hive?
There seems more issues with a package, but only from reading forum posts, not from experience.
We have only ever used nucs or splits to start new hives.

A nucleus colony is a fully functioning beehive with a balanced bee population of all ages. Insert the nuc into the box and done. The colony gets to work and starts growing immediately.

A package is a swarm of strangers with another stranger (queen) that they are all forced to get along and accept. The package bees take 7 to 10 days to fully assimilate to each other, and the queen will be also in that 10 day range before she starts laying much. By the time the first new bees are emerging from the queens first eggs all of the package bees are well over 3 weeks old and dying off in numbers. It is then another 2 weeks before those new bees start foraging.  The package is not a fully functioning balanced beehive until 5 weeks after being installed, and you have fed the colony for 3 to 5 weeks of that time just to maintain it until it got established.

The advantages of a package are a lower up front per colony cost. Packages are a solution derived to solve the problems of logistics and handling or transferring colonies between beekeepers in large numbers. Packages also mitigate the problems of mismatching hive equipment between beekeepers and passing equipment born diseases between operators.  Thus, packages are really primarily designed and intended for the commercial and experienced - pro consumer who is hiving hundreds / thousands of colonies at a time. The disadvantage is higher startup cost (feed and colony inspections) and a much longer timeline until the hive is noticeably gaining in population and productivity.

Hope that helps!
« Last Edit: April 15, 2021, 01:27:44 am by TheHoneyPump »
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Offline van from Arkansas

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Re: package installation next step?
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2021, 11:40:48 am »
Mr. Beavo, I like to buy a package almost every year.  I just enjoy the challenge and seeing the bees organized as total strangers in disarray to harmony as a functioning hive.  I don?t need the package bees, I just enjoy them.  Remember I am a hobbyist and adore my lil friends.

You told us of your arthritis ailments a day or so ago and of your appointment with the orthopedic doctor for today. If you do not mind me asking publicly, how did your meeting go today? Good I hope.....

Surgery the 29th.
I have been around bees a long time, since birth.  I am a hobbyist so my answers often reflect this fact.  I concentrate on genetics, raise my own queens by wet graft, nicot, with natural or II breeding.  I do not sell queens, I will give queens  for free but no shipping.

Offline rgennaro

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Re: package installation next step?
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2021, 12:50:54 pm »
Thanks THP. I guess next time I'll go with a nuc ...

So I am trying to figure out my timing. Package installed Saturday April 10. Queen out for sure on April 13. Next inspection date? 18 too early? 20? later?

And what should I be looking for? Obviously a queen alive and well, but given that the queen is not marked and I am not very good at recognizing queens, should I look for some eggs? Will she be laying some by then?

This was a learning experience. Which I guess is part of the point ...

Offline TheHoneyPump

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package installation next step?
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2021, 12:58:04 pm »
If you are happy that the queen is out and about, there really is nothing to do in there until about April 22.  At that time there will be capped brood and open brood. When you go the purpose will be to assess the queen. You will be looking for tightness of pattern of brood, amount of worker vs drone brood, missing cells in the brood, overall quantity of brood, possible presence of supercedure cells. Until then, just keep the syrup feeder a bit over 1/2 full and enjoy the bees flying around.

After that check, your timing to inspect will be 7 to 10 days between inspections. No longer than 10. Your goals from then onward are to be watching for and managing queen stability by looking for queen cells and staying ahead of the bees on space requirements by adding boxes before swarming develops. New package to risk of swarm events is startup plus 3 to 4 brood cycles, 70 to 80 days. Mark your calendar.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2021, 02:06:09 pm by TheHoneyPump »
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Online The15thMember

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Re: package installation next step?
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2021, 01:38:24 pm »
You told us of your arthritis ailments a day or so ago and of your appointment with the orthopedic doctor for today. If you do not mind me asking publicly, how did your meeting go today? Good I hope.....

Surgery the 29th.
Best of luck to you, Mr. Van. 
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline AR Beekeeper

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Re: package installation next step?
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2021, 01:47:16 pm »
I like to open the colony in 48 to 72 hours to see if the queen is released and to remove the queen cage.  If the queen is not released I want to assess the bees attitude toward her.  If they are happy with her, based on how they cluster on her cage, I will make a hole through the candy plug and return it to it's position in the hive.  In 24 hours I make another check.  She should be released by now, and the cage can be removed.  After I know she is out of the cage I leave the colony alone for 10 to 14 days.

With a package, inspections can be done with little or no smoke and little disruption to the bees.  It's the perfect time to learn to inspect with no gloves, and how to work the frames in a gentle manner.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2021, 07:01:38 pm by AR Beekeeper »

Offline van from Arkansas

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Re: package installation next step?
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2021, 07:22:02 pm »
No gloves?

Hi Norvel, hope all is well neighbor.  Just a note: folks ARBeekeeper has been keeping bees for decades and has developed or bred a very gentle, prolific, honey producing strain that he maintains.  AR bees are impressive to say the least, I have seen up close and personal the bees.

So, with your well behaved bees, ARBeekeeper, yes Sir, no gloves is OK, however not all bees are as gentle as those cotton candy personalities as those bees you raise.  Just wait until some new beek gets ahold of a package with a few Russians bees mixed in.  No gloves would be a rodeo.

Van
I have been around bees a long time, since birth.  I am a hobbyist so my answers often reflect this fact.  I concentrate on genetics, raise my own queens by wet graft, nicot, with natural or II breeding.  I do not sell queens, I will give queens  for free but no shipping.

Offline Oldbeavo

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Re: package installation next step?
« Reply #15 on: April 16, 2021, 09:09:49 am »
when we sell nucs we supply then in a corflute nuc box for $20 that they get to keep or they bring the hive to us and we install the nuc about an hour before sunset, let the hive sit while the field bees return and on dark the people take the hive home, usually 2 hours or less drive, set it in place  when they get home and away they go, One trip.

Offline rgennaro

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Re: package installation next step?
« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2021, 11:51:00 am »
just a quick update on my 2 packages. Checked them on Saturday the 24.

The Italian queen (the one that was installed without a problem) is doing really well. There was a frame full of brood on both sides and one frame full on one side only. This is a 10-frame deep and she has plenty of space to lay. Great full solid pattern. I saw the queen.

The Saskatraz queen (this is the one who flew away, was found and was placed back in the cage, maybe a little banged up) is also doing ok. One frame full of brood on both side (in an 8-frame deep), also in a solid full pattern. Plenty of frames with space to lay. I did not see the queen however. Most worrisome there was a single queen cell (empty) built on the top part of the brood frame.

I'll check the hives again next weekend (7 days).

Two questions:

Given that she seems to be laying a little slower than the Italian one, and that there was a QC in the hive, is it possible that the Saskatraz queen is not performing to the expectations of the hive and they are preparing to supersede her? If so should I let bees be bees and not intervene?

Frames are fully drawn and with lots of honey since they come from last year's hive. At what point do I add supers? Should I aim for 75% of full frames (of either brood, honey and pollen)?

Thanks as usual

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Re: package installation next step?
« Reply #17 on: April 26, 2021, 01:22:22 pm »
If I am reading your descriptions right, you have two very different strains of bees. Do not try to compare one to the other directly.

On the italian, expect larger brood patch, more bees production, overall bigger clusters, high food consumption, lots of feeding, lots of wondering and robbing, tendency to swarm if you are not keeping on top of space needs.

On the carni (sk hybrid) expect smaller cluster, smaller brood patch, higher honey production, frugal on stores (less feeding), and keeping to themselves. Much much smaller winter cluster. 

To see empty 2 to 5 queen cup placehders in a carni hive is absolutely normal.  Means nothing.  Carry on with no concerns.  Leave them in place so you know where they are. Check them at each inspection for egg or jelly.  Doubtful that there will ever be anything in the cup until the queen is old or injured and obvious.

Hope that helps. 
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Offline rgennaro

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Re: package installation next step?
« Reply #18 on: April 26, 2021, 01:42:34 pm »
thanks very helpful as usual.

I did buy two different packages/queens. As a hobbyist I am interested to see what does well in my area and just in general to learn by observing how the 2 different breeds progress. I will keep in mind your description.

From what you say the Saskatraz bees seem much more preferable ... why aren't they more common then?

Offline TheHoneyPump

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package installation next step?
« Reply #19 on: April 26, 2021, 05:06:12 pm »
A follow up comment on your question about when to add supers.   Adding space has little to do with how much resources (honey/pollen) is in the existing boxes and has everything to do with bee space needed for the population that is in the hive.  The amount of space adjustments made each visit by adding or removing supers is based on the `bee-power` count that you come up with each time you inspect the hive.
 - count how many frames are covered with bees, in all boxes, all frames. If the bees are really spread out, just imagine what the cluster size would be if things were cooler and they condensed a bit.  That is the count to use.
 - count how many frames of CAPPED brood that is in progress.  60% or more per side of a frame counts as one.
Next do some math to figure out if you need to add or take away space by adding/removing supers.

The Number of frames of bee space that the hive needs = number of frames covered in bees +(plus)  2 times (2x) the number of frames of brood counted. 
Always have a bit more space than what this calculation gives.

Example, a 2 box hive that has 14 frames of bees coverage and 6 frames of brood on the go.  Needs:
14 + 2x6 = 26 frames of bee space.  Assuming 10 frame boxes, the beekeeper should be adding a box to this hive thus giving them 30 frames of space, which is a bit more than the 26 that they need.

So, going back to your question about when to add supers.  Do not look at and be distracted by those frames filling with honey.  Instead look at the bee-power of the hive by assessing the number of frames covered with bees and brood. If necessary remove honey (harvest) and replace it with empty combs to keep all of that bee-power working steady. The Number of boxes needed is dictated by giving the bees the space they need to live and work, not by how much work they have already done at filling the combs.

Hope that helps!
« Last Edit: April 26, 2021, 10:59:47 pm by TheHoneyPump »
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