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Installing Package Bees without shaking or smoke


That’s NUCs. Darn spellchecker!


Lol Whatever they are, I’m glad they’re installed :smile:

Yup I put my nucs in last night - they’re bustling around today, bringing pollen in & finding all my flowers :heart_eyes:


That’s great! I hope to find the same tomorrow.

If you get a chance, check out my thread under ‘SBB Weird behavior’. I’d be interested in your thoughts. Did you use SBB’s?


Well, I’ve had these bees 3 weeks now. Exactly to the day. Had not checked them for 2 weeks. Looked at them today. I’m a little worried about the queen’s “productivity”. They have two deep boxes with 20 frames altogether. The bottom box is unoccupied. In the top box I’ve seen the larvae in the cells. However the frames are not full. May be two half -full frames with larvae/honey/pollen. Busy bees. I did not see the queen, however did not see the signs of the queenless hive either.
So, my question is - how long does it take the queen to fill up a frame with larvae?
We had about a week of cold and rainy weather. I also kept the bottom entrance closed with the feeder (probably was a mistake).
Should I still feed them?


That is probably part of the problem. Way too much space for a package. One box is plenty. They will be spending a lot of extra energy trying to heat the second box. I would take the bottom box away if they aren’t using it.

A decent queen can easily lay 2,000 eggs per day. A langstroth frame has 3,500 cells per side. So she can half fill one side of a frame in a day. However, her laying will be determined by space, heat and stores. If the bees haven’t drawn much comb, she can’t lay that much. If the bees can’t keep the space warm, she can’t lay much. If they don’t have many stores of honey and pollen, she can’t lay much because they don’t have anything to feed the larvae.

A healthy hive will have brood boxes with approximately 60% brood, 20% honey and 20% pollen, according to my mentor. If that is about what you are seeing, the queen either doesn’t have enough drawn comb yet, or they don’t have enough supplies to support more brood.

That will certainly slow them down. Plus they will be eating the stores to keep that enormous space warm. :wink:

You probably did them a big favor by reducing the entrance. They would find it easier to keep heat in the hive. If they have only drawn 2 frames, and the weather has been bad, I would keep feeding them, and keep the entrance reduced to between no more than 1/4 and 1/2 of the full width.


I just took some screen shots of data from our Arnia hive monitor. It has been cool, overcast and raining for the last few days. This is a big hive with a double brood box and it is over a year old, so it is a little different from your package, @Alena, but I think it might help you understand hive dynamics a bit.

Here is what the hive was doing before the bad weather. You can see a nice steady weight gain of about 500g (1lb) per day:

On about May 5th, the outside temperatures dropped and the sky was overcast. This was followed by a couple of days of significant rain = no flying for the bees:

Here is what happened to the hive weight (= food stores) over that time while they had to keep the hive warm and couldn’t forage:

Around a kilo (2lb) of honey gone in the few days of bad weather. :flushed:

Now my hive is big and has plenty of stores, but you can imagine the impact on a new little colony that doesn’t have a lot of stored food or drawn comb. So I wouldn’t blame your queen, this is probably just climate and bee economics. I am sure that you will help them hugely if you take off that empty brood box as soon as possible. :blush:


Hi @Alena - I feel like we’re having the same weather patterns here in PA as you are in KY! Finally some sun again recently.

Dawn’s right, def take away your extra brood box - your package girls will thank you :innocent:

My two nucs that I installed in 8 frame brood boxes on 4/29 seem to be doing quite well, but I still have their entrances reduced because of the chilly nightttime temps and a recent stretch of cloudy/rainy days.


Thank you for all the answers. Got it! Already reduced the entrance and removed the extra box. I’ll keep feeding them. Glad that they exhibit the signs of normal hive environment!


I installed a package (3#)of Italians with the no shake method 6 weeks ago.
I simply had the box ready to go with 6 frames,none of which were drawn and plastic, knowing now what I didn’t know then would have been wax.:slight_smile:
Sprayed the bee’s with 1:1 sugar water then placed the Queen candy side up between the two frames in the middle closest to the package in the ten frame box, removed the wood cover and closed the lid.
A day and 1/2 later checked for Queen release.
I’m new at this but it just seemed that the package was a perfect fit so shaking them didn’t seem necessary.


Flowering plants for 9 months, good nectar flow for only 3-1/2…in a good year, unless there’s too much rain or not enough, then there is nada :frowning:


@Rodderick Do you have a link to where I can purchase packaged bees :pray:. Thanks. :relieved:


Hey there, from your profile you are in Narooma right? Packaged bees may be tricky but a Nuc from a local beekeeper in your area or a swarm from the local bee club might be a better option for you. Packages are generally transported in bulk to the major cities like Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney.


There’s a beekeeping club in Bega and another in Nowra…


Yes Bega is an hour away… I will do some local inquiring. I’m sure I will be able to obtain a nuc somewhere. Thanks @Rodderick