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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 19th year of beekeeping in April 2024. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

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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.Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Installing Two Packages in Rabun County

I had a crazy Monday.  I picked up two packages of bees, drove to Rabun County, cleaned out the dead hive, installed the two packages, drove back to Atlanta and ran a group at my office at 5 PM on Monday.

I put the packages in hives with a mix of old comb from foundationless frames from last year and new foundationless frames with wax strips.

These packages were so difficult to work with for four reasons:

  1. The packages themselves were put together with screen wire that extended past the edges of the wood in a sharp row of extensions of wire.  I was working bare-handed and really tore up my arms and hands on these edges
  2. The queen cage had this circle of aluminum over the cork at the candy end.  It was too thick a material to put a thumb tack through.  This presented a challenge in determining how to secure the cage in the hive.
  3. The syrup container was located as it usually is but instead of being in a circle cut out to fit the can, there was an extension opening between the syrup can and the queen cage, so while I'm trying to lift the syrup container and get the queen cage, bees are coming out of the opening and crawling all over the place.
  4. The cover over the syrup can and queen cage wasn't simply stapled in but rather was nailed with a 1 1/4 inch nail - hard, hard to pry up with the hive tool.
I was anxious to try to get the syrup can out the way my Virginia mentor, Penny, has suggested by using duct tape as a handle.  It is SO difficult to pry up the syrup can.  The idea of easing it out with duct tape was really appealing.

The problem with duct tape is that bees can stick to it.  

On the first hive I pulled a piece of duct tape, taped one end to the top of the syrup and pulled from the sticky other end.  Of course a couple of curious bees died flying onto the duct tape (Death by Duct Tape!).

So on the 8 frame installation, I taped the duct tape to the top of the can and then made a handle that was stuck to itself (no exposed sticky surfaces).  So no bee deaths the second try.

Here's a slide show of the installation.  I was by myself, and although I set up the camera on a tripod,  I didn't get as many pictures as usual.

I'm going back to the Rabun County Garden on Thursday to see if the queen is released and if they are doing well.

I felt pretty good about this installation.  I remembered how to handle the feed and put it OVER the inner cover.  I was worried because there was a little space between the upper box on the 8 frame hive and the 10 frame inner cover, so I put an upside down frame there temporarily to block the opening.   I didn't want to create a side opening in the hive. When I come back,  I'll have the right sized inner cover.   

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