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0 for 2 this year

 
M Johnson
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So I didn't feed my first set of bees last year and they did great until winter in a langstrof. I opened them up and they had exhausted all their honey and didn't make the harsh winter. 0 for 1. I felt bad.

I had already ordered another package (hoping for it to be my second one) and put it in last Saturday in my new top bar hive. The Queen was released by Monday and now she is gone and there are,about 20 bees left and a big pile of dead ones. 0 for 2. I called the company (kelley bees) and they said too bad, so sad, wouldn't help me. I bought the top bar from them and he mentioned having trouble with bees staying in them. At the time I didn't think anything of it since my bees stuck around great last year. But that was a langstrof.

I have two more packages ordered now, one from kelley I had ordered before I stopped liking them and another one now from a different place.
Any suggestions on keeping these around? I am getting a hit discouraged.

I hate it too because I am getting my mom into it and she seems to like it, don't want her to give up either.
 
Rob Browne
Posts: 65
Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
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When you put the bees in the hive from the package keep the queen in the queen cage for a few days before exposing the plug. That way they will be settled in more before she is free to swarm. Also, feed, feed, feed them, packages are not like a swarm and need lots of food to give them a good start and encourage comb building.
 
Bob Simmons
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I'm new to beekeeping so I mostly lurk and learn. I have built two top bar hives and installed bees into both with no problems. One was a 'crop and chop' from a nuc and the other was a package install. The package was three weeks ago, they're drawing comb, making babies and putting up groceries.

This is what I did that worked in the top bar installation. At a location close to the bee entrance I took an old (empty and clean ) piece of brood comb cut to fit the hive and wired it to a top bar. I took the syrup out of the package (and put the lid back on) and placed the package in the hive with the opening up close to the comb but not crowding it. Took the queen cage out and with a thumb tack I attached the queen to the top bar next to the comb so that the opening of the queen box wasn't blocked. The queen package came out with a couple hundred bees clinging to it, I left them alone.

My hive has a syrup feeder built into a follower board which was placed about six inches from the opposite end of the box so the bees had room to move but not exposed to the whole hive, close to two feet I guess. They will need syrup and mine went through about a quart a day for a few days (50/50.)

I bought my package from a local keeper and his advice was to leave the queen cage plugged for two days then pull the plug to expose the candy. Then leave them alone for two weeks. When I went in to pull the plug I removed the empty bee box.

There was plenty of activity for four days around the hive entrance with cleansing and orientation flights so I knew they were ok but not peeking in for two weeks was hard.

Like Rob said feed them.

Hope this helps.
 
M Johnson
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I did feed the bees with a double feeder since there was nothing blooming yet. It looked like they had used about an inch in each.

I took the plug out right away, I thought it would take a few days for them to eat through it. Maybe I got it wrong. This time I will leave it in there for a couple days, then remove the plug.

I am thinking for now I will put my next two packages in my two langstroths (clean out last years and I had bought another one). Then if I can get a swarm, I'll put it in the top bar.
 
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