So when the beekeeper picks up a package, it's not a bonded group. It's a loosely connected bunch of unrelated bees with an unrelated and heretofore unknown queen.
I took two packages to Stonehurst Place to install the bees on March 29. The packages were about equal in size:
As in the typical package installation, I sprayed both packages with sugar water and then installed them. The hives are side by side facing a privacy fence so that in flying out, the bees have to fly up and over the fence.
Here's the first hive that I installed:
You can see at the front of the box the tape on the top of the queen cage which I jammed between two frames. Although you can see the syrup can sitting on top of the frames, after the bees settled in a little, I removed that and put on the inner cover. Then I gave them a feeder of Bee Tea on top of the inner cover hole.
As you may remember, I have been dealing with an injured shoulder (from a fall in October) that is just now getting better. When I finished the first install and turned to the second my shoulder hurt and I didn't have it in me to be quite as thorough.
I had a terrible time with the staple holding the Hive 2 queen cage to the package and destroyed the tape in the process. I decided to put the queen cage on the floor of the hive under the frames instead of putting it between two frames.
When I returned three days later to give them more food, there were about three times as many bees in hive 2 than the first hive.
And today when I went over to see if they needed a new box, here's how the bees looked in hive 1:
They are in the hive and working, but not nearly like hive 2:
Hive 2 had bright white wax drawn on every frame. I gave them a new box and pulled up two filled frames as ladders to encourage the use of the new box.
I think all of this is about lack of loyalty and strength of pheromones. The bees were looking for a place to go and probably the pheromone of the queen in hive 2 was stronger than the queen in hive 1. And with queen 2 on the bottom of the hive, it was probably easier to smell her pheromone than the queen in hive 1 who was wedged between the frames.
So the bees who had no loyalty to begin with, gravitated to the queen in hive 2 - whether because of her strong pheromone or advantageous cage placement.
How I will handle this, in the long run, is that the next time I am over at Stonehurst Place, I'll move a frame of brood and eggs from Hive 2 to Hive 1. If I do that every time, gradually I'll help build the population of Hive 1.