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Crazy weather expected on package installation day!


#1

According to my package coordinator, the bees I will pick up on Saturday will have already been in their packages 3 days on pickup day. Here is the forecast:

http://tinyurl.com/jfkhvl2

Looks like I might have to install on Saturday, Sunday if I push it. Any tips/suggestions/words-of-wisdom?

I had been planning to place the queen cage in the bottom of the brood box if the weather was nice, but now I am leaning towards just releasing her, if it appears that the bees have accepted her. Otherwise she will likely freeze to death. (So you know, I am going foundationless…)

Much hand-wringing…

MaryBeth
(newbie beekeep from Colorado)


#2

The worse the weather the better…
http://www.bushfarms.com/beespackages.htm


#3

I’ll take your word for it!


#4

Yikes. They delivered our packages a day early because the supplier was concerned that they wouldn’t be able to make it here tonight/tomorrow because of the storm.

Today is probably the best day to install, weather-wise, but I am totally unprepared, with respect to food, etc. And single-handed. And I’d have to hang the queen cage, likely, since the bees have been in the package only since Wednesday.

I’m wondering whether or not the package can make it in my garage until Sunday. It will be snowing up to 2" an hour tomorrow, with 20mph winds. That’s a bit intimidating for this first-time beekeeper!


#5

Sorry I am not Michael, I respect him greatly, but as he is busy, and you are asking…

I would install them today if you can. I would not install them in 20mph winds, but maybe Michael knows better. Overall, they will do better in an enclosed hive than an open package - they can control temperature with much less effort. As far as food is concerned, there should be a feeder in the package, they may not have finished it. If they haven’t, it is ready made and you can give them that. If not, it takes about 10 mins to make a gallon of 1:1 syrup, so don’t worry too much.

Failing all of that, by all means wait. Don’t be alarmed if you see a lot of dead bees in the bottom of the package. This article explains why I say that - http://honeybeesuite.com/would-i-accept-this-package/ Just don’t put them in a drafty or wet place, and they will be fine.


#6

Dawn, I am grateful to have ANY advice since this is so new to me…and I appreciate that everyone is busy. So thank you for the response!

I followed my gut, and installed today. I had two packages…and not surprisingly, the second installation went much more smoothly than the first!

Some things I did, right or wrong, and some observations:

  1. I released the queens into the boxes, knowing that I didn’t want to hang her cage from the top, and also knowing that I might not be able to get out to release her for a few more days.

  2. I made a type of sugar candy suggested by my bee class instructor - super fine white sugar with just a bit of water to get it pasty. Then I folded this into cheesecloth. Now, here is where I am quite certain that if I had this to do all over again, I would do it differently: I hung this cheesecloth bag from the top of one of my frames. I think what I should have done is lay it over the top of multiple frames - why on earth I thought it was OK to hang this when I was really trying to avoid hanging the queen (and dealing with wonky comb as a consequence), I couldn’t tell you. Too late now, and I guess I’ll just deal with the consequences later.

  3. I was worried that the big clump of bees left in the box would die in the cold and (beginning) rain, but when I went out to check 15 mintues later, all the bees were gone…hopefully they all found their way to the hive.

Now…I wait. If we get the 12-18" of snow they are predicting, I’ll likely just let these little critters do their thing for the next few days and not disturb the nice layer of insulation the snow will provide. If there’s no snow and it clears a bit, I’ll check on them tomorrow!

Thanks Michael and Dawn, for all your help.

mb


#7


#8

Love the photos! There is nothing more exciting than seeing somebody new get their first bee family. Thank you for sharing. I am glad you installed. I agree, I wouldn’t hang that fondant, but it is unlikely any harm will come in a day or two. The worst that could happen will be creative comb. :smile:

If it was my hive, I would go in again as soon as the weather allowed (Sunday?) and put the fondant either on top of the frames, or on top of the inner cover. The bees will find it.

Congratulations, it sounds like you did a great job!


#9

Thanks again, Dawn.

I’ll try not to lose sleep about hanging that sugar candy…and hope that this big storm they are predicting is a no-show, so I can right my wrong as soon as possible!

Also need to give credit for the photos to my 12 yo son…he took some great shots, and was also a big help during the first installation. I think he’ll make a great beekeeper…apparently we didn’t have his veil on quite right, and when a bee managed to find its way inside the veil, he was as cool as a cucumber. Simply told me what had happened, walked away from the hive, and had me remove the veil. Never even broke a sweat! Impressive!

Anyway…thanks again for your encouragement. I’ll let you know how things look in a couple of days!

MaryBeth


#10

Well, good for him, I am proud of both of you! :smile:

Is it snowing yet? The weather channel shows snow over much of Colorado, so I was thinking about you this morning.


#11

It rained overnight here, then turned to snow this morning. So far only an inch or two on the ground, but I think that’s because it is melting as soon as it lands!

Hopefully it will clear tomorrow so I can go in there quickly and move the cheese cloth package. I’m sure it is going to be covered in bees…should I just brush them off and move the sugar to the top? Aye…so much I don’t know! :slight_smile:

Thanks again for your help and encouragement!

MaryBeth


#12

Just move it with the bees still on it. If you can shake some off into the hive, do it. Even if there are still bees on the cheesecloth, if you put it down VERY slowly (tai chi slow movement kind of thing), then any bees on the underside will have a chance to move. Don’t brush them unless you feel you have no other choice, they really hate it and they handle shaking or slow moving much better than brushing.


#13

Got it! And thank you again.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be able to get out there until tomorrow - the high will be 33 today, and it is supposed to keep snowing until the evening. We had about 8"more overnight. It’s beautiful outside, but I went to sleep last night thinking it wold fizzle…no suck luck!

Thinking Tai Chi…

mb


#14

These guys are a little whacky, and the hive design is not something I would use, but their speed of movement is something to learn from - no protective gear at all! :cold_sweat: