Package left hive

Hi still a newbie beekeeper after 3 years.

Installed two packages in hives one a flow, one a cleaned up hive that had died off ( most likely due to mites) last year.

I am unable to tend to bees during week but after first week all was fine and bees had liberated their queen. I removed the queen box and made sure lots of sugar water available ( was still coldish in upstate NY but tree pollen was plentiful) bees were building comb and loooked fine. Next week check and the flow hive has about a dozen dead workers a couple lethargic or near dying ones and two frames witha hand sized drop of comb and some uncapped honey in the upper cells. the smaller non flow hive is buzzing with activity. Can someone let me know what happened? did the workers all leave? did the queen die or swarm even though the new home loooked to be on its way to estabishment? so many questions. i have ordered a new package but would like to learn from this setback. Thanks in advance everyone!


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Hey Greg, sorry to hear your bees have left the building. Did the “stayers” get placed in your previously occupied box, and if so, is that a smaller sized box? If that’s the case then my best newbie guess would be that the leavers did so because their new box didn’t have enough elements of a cozy home for them. I was told to use a drop of lemongrass oil on a frame of my brand new deep brood box when I housed my package last year, and to close off the entrance to a minimum. Also, I put the coreflute slider in the topmost position on the SBB.

Yep. I bet those bees are all together in the one box and you have lost one queen as s result

Greg, my first packaged abscond last year too. As soon as they freed the queen, they were gone. I now put one drop of lemon grass oil in a new hive and give them one frame of brood from another hive to “lock” them in. I was also told some old comb helps to give some bee smell to a new hive.

Good luck.


Thanks for the prompt replies. I did remove the queen box after the first week and yes they did seem huddled and dwarfed in the flow brood box super. My old hive box is small and certainly lived in. :slight_smile: I have a new package coming in 2 weeks and it will be warmer in NY then with possibly some flow. I will take the recommended steps to make the flow super more accommodating by closing down the entrance some and maybe some lemongrass oil or rubbing down with some comb wax. It’s ok to leave the bit of comb and honey (uncapped, no brood) that was there right? Its on just 2 frames, clean and straight, foundationless

Just for understanding, do you have the Flow super with the plastic Flow frames on the hive? I know the words can be confusing, but “super” usually refers to a box intended (by the beekeeper) for honey storage rather than brood. When you install a package or any new bees, the Flow super should not be on the hive until they have fully drawn out and filled comb in at least one brood box. It is too much space for a new young colony to defend. :wink:

Just the brood box, the flow super is still in the house with the frames ready :-).

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Phew, breathes a sigh of relief. :blush:

Thanks, though I am just smart enough to do some really stupid things -
appreciate any and all advice!

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I frequently feel like that with bees! :blush: “Oh my goodness, why ever did I do THAT?” is a frequent question I ask myself… :smile:


Knock on wood ! I’ve not lost a hive or swarm yet from the “Get-go” ! Maybe I’m just lucky so far.

I do try to make there new home/box homey as possible … If I’m using a brand new hive box I try to rub a bar of bees wax all over the inside heartily ! (Lots) You really can’t overdo this process (normal but just maybe someone could) … I also add a couple drops of lemon grass oil to a cotton ball, slip in plastic sandwich bag, seal it then stab few times to let a dab fragrant order out the bees seem to like.

Good luck n enjoy,