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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a!
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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Two Packages, Two Installs - Let's hope for SUCCESS!

I had the privilege to stop in Lula, Georgia at Don Kuchenmeister's lovely beeyard to pick up two packages on Saturday. It was raining cats and dogs. Don had a ton of bees in his basement. I asked him to pick my two packages. Here he is holding the two packages of bees.



I've had a couple of telephone conversations with Don. He is a gem of a beekeeper. He colors outside the lines. He has lovely bees. These bees were so calm and easy to install. I want to go up and spend some time with Don. He only lives about an hour from my house and he's right on the way to my mountain house, so you can rest assured that I will be visiting him again.

BTW, he had PINK nuc boxes in his beeyard. His beehives were in a pine grove and he was about to go to work the hives in the RAIN. He's quite the renegade beekeeper, and I'd love to learn more from him.



I drove to Rabun County where I was supposed to install the bees and then give a talk to the community gardeners. However, the weather (part of the system that spawned the tornado in Yazoo City, MS) was in Georgia all day yesterday. I gave my talk to the gardeners (Meet the Bee, I called it!), but I couldn't install the bees until this morning.

Today I set up the hive box and took out two frames in preparation for the installation. I've, BTW, never installed a package in my beekeeping career. So I was a little nervous.

First I sprayed the bees (who spent the night in the basement of my mountain house) with sugar syrup. They immediately calmed down.



I wasn't sure if the queen cage was secured so I put a tack in the tape that secured it.  I've seen videos on the Internet with the beekeeper dropping the queen cage into the bottom of the package as he/she lifts out the syrup can.

Then I pried up the thin piece of wood serving as a top.



I pulled up the can of syrup which was still quite full, and then pulled up the queen cage. I took the cork out of the candy end of the queen cage.


This wasn't the easiest thing I have ever done - it was hard to pry up the staples.  But I succeeded.  Then I found that the queen cage was also stapled.  I have an Italian hive tool which has a curved end, perfect for prying up the staple in the tape holding the queen cage.



I took the queen cage and hung it into the hive body by tacking the tape to the top of a frame.  Then I turned the package upside down and dumped the bees in.  I had to slant the package back and forth a little to get all of them to leave it and go down into the hive.



Then I returned the two frames to the box and closed it up.   I  put a shim around the top to contain a baggie feeder of sugar syrup to help the bees get started.



I hope this will help these bees since I can't come back until Sunday, May 1.  



I left the hive with the almost empty package container in front of it to leave any errant bees a chance to get with their queen.  I put a brick on top to secure the hive top.  And then I drove back to Atlanta until next Sunday when I come back to check up on them.

They are behind and back of the community garden and I hope they don't draw too much attention.  See them in the back in the center of the picture.  I hope they are of great benefit to the gardeners!



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8 comments:

  1. Hi Linda,

    You never said how you got the bees from the package into the hive body. I assume the shake method since in the next photo there is a big pile of them in the hive body. Just to let you know there is a different and I think better method for installing a package. My wife did a blog post on it http://chiotsrun.com/2009/04/09/installing-a-package-of-bees/

    As always.. I really enjoy your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  2. For both of these packages, I dumped the bees in. I don't think you can use the "set the open package in the hive" way of doing it in my situation. I can't revisit the Rabun County hive until next Sunday, and the top bar hive is totally foundationless. In both cases the bees are inclined to build comb immediately and if you can't remove the package pretty quickly (as in the next day) after installation, the bees are likely to build comb in the package. I don't want these bees to build comb anywhere other than the top bars (in the top bar hive) or in the hive box (in the Langstroth). Our honey flow has started in Georgia and only lasts for about six weeks and I don't want them to build comb anywhere other than where they will stay.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I too have been using a baggy feeder but am having a heck of a tome with leaking. Any advice? Also how long do you plan on feeding?
    Thanks for a great post
    Sydney

    ReplyDelete
  4. I bet you're nervous leaving them until Sunday :) I hope they do well!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Sydney, I don't plan on feeding more than this first baggie of syrup because the nectar flow has begun in Georgia. I am only feeding the baggie to help them get started. I only use actual Ziploc baggies - the quality of the name brand helps make them leak-proof. I don't have leakage unless I leave the syrup in a baggie for a while and some critter (read that roach or other bug) finds their way into the baggie when I am not looking~~~

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous9:59 PM

    Linda no veil required for my bees to shake them in a hive. I don't own one they just get in my way. I have to work these bees rain or shine hope you have same luck with them as i do.
    Don
    www.DixieBee Supply.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. hard to get signed on here Linda you keeping me out? just kidding. glad you got your packages in.
    Don

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Don, Sorry it's hard to post. If the blog post if over a week old, then I have to OK publishing it first - that's to keep all the readers protected from advertisers who always try to sneak in a plug or two if I don't have that one week rule in effect.

    I love the bees - they are so happy. I want to get bees from you again!

    ReplyDelete

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