New package question

Discussion in 'Beekeeping' started by hmaxims, Apr 18, 2017.

  1. hmaxims

    hmaxims Member

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    soon to be NH
    Was a first time beekeeper last year. Lost the hive. Got it very late in the season and had a pollen dearth. Only realized I was lacking pollen when it was too late. Was probably in the hive too much also. So I guess I cant call myself a beekeeper yet.

    This year, bought a package and a nuc. No nuc yet. I installed the package on Saturday and all went well. Pulled cork for queen cage and installed marshmallow. (I'll add this since its the #1 issue with pkg installations) Had a top feeder with syrup. The last 2 days, LOTS of activity. Every 8th bee coming back with pollen. Promised myself I would give the queen 5 days before I open hive to check and pull queen cage. (since estimates vary on 3-7 days for queen cage removal) Also promised not to go in the hive at all unless required this year.

    Today I watched the hive and hardly any activity at all. 1 bee coming and going every 5 minutes. I looked around the ground in front of hive this afternoon and found 25 dead bees. Is this normal bee life cycle? Or could something be wrong? Just a very drastic difference in 24 hours.
     
  2. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper keeper of the bees Staff Member Supporter

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    Today is Wednesday, 4 days since the install and I would be willing to bet the queen has been released already. But the marshmallow thing I just do not under stand at all. Every package queen cage I have seen has been a Benton 3 hole wood cage. Remove the cork and there is a fondant the bees need to eat thru to get to the queen. No need to plug the cage with other stuff.

    Is not uncommon for bees to not be flying for one reason or another wind being a good reason they are not flying.

    It also isn't any thing to find dead bees in the first few weeks after a install either. they are shook from a hive and there are bound to be old bees that get shook in too.

    Any way I would peek in at the queen cage today my self and if she is out remove the cage and close the hive back up for about 10 days and open it up to do an inspection for eggs. After that do an inspection about once a month to make sure the queen is still laying and they have room to store nectar and pollen.
    Ad boxes as they run out of room.

    :D Al
     

  3. hmaxims

    hmaxims Member

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    Thank you. I had never heard of the marshmallow thing either until this year. The other queen cage I got last year had the fondant. This one would have been nice to know because I pulled the cork out expecting fondant and the queen almost escaped. I quickly put my finger over the hole. This is how I got the package (including the mallow in a ziploc bag).

    I am working a 24 hour shift today, but will check on the queen tomorrow (THURS) and post an update. I texted my father-in-law and sister-in-law who both are longtime BKs. Even they have different philosophies when it comes to what to do and advice they give. I think that's what makes this so intimidating to new BK's. So many ways to do things. But they did tell me not to worry. One said if the weather changed drastically (from sunny and warm to grey and damp, which it had) they were probably drawing comb instead of collecting pollen.

    I had an entrance reducer on when I added the package and removed that yesterday. I could peek inside the front and see activity so that is good. Maybe I should have peeked in the front in the first place and not paniced.
    Howie
     
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  4. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper keeper of the bees Staff Member Supporter

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    Old saying is ask 20 beekeepers a question and get as many as 30 different answers. Surely some of the 20 will give you 2 different answers to the same question.

    :D Al
     
  5. hmaxims

    hmaxims Member

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    I am finding that out! My step father is a wealth of knowledge, but his bees in Florida behave much differently than mine here in New England. Sister in law has bees on the west coast and its pretty damp - same thing. I can only ask them very basic questions. Plan on joining a local bee club as everyone recommends.

    I checked on the queen on day 5. She as out and I saw her. Removed the cage. Was only in the hive for a few minutes. 1 brand new frame drawn with comb. I refilled sugar syrup and tossed in half of a pollen pattie BUT they are really active with pollen right now going in. I plan on checking on eggs in another week. That will be 10 days since I was in last. Rainy days, they are inside building comb. Sunny days, lots of activity. Have found more dead bees on ground but numbers appear normal. Thanks for the help. It looks like I have a good start after all.
     
  6. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper keeper of the bees Staff Member Supporter

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    Yup you will have foragers coming and going, you will have house bees keeping the hive clean and making wax. as the foragers die off about 6 weeks of working it happens, the house bees will become foragers. You will notice a drop in the number of bees around day 25 to day 30. But after day 30 the hive will start exploding again as the queens egg laying brings forth new bees at a good rate.

    Now you under stand why your location in the profile is important to answer questions.

    :D Al