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:
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.
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.
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.