Did I do the right thing?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Larus, May 2, 2011.

  1. Larus

    Larus New Member

    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    This may fall under the category of "shutting the barn door after the
    horse ran out", but if I wonder if I made a mistake installing my
    packages yesterday, and if so, if there's still time to fix it.
    Basically, I left the queen in her cage and laid the cage down on the
    screened bottom board, under the frames. I heard some people do that
    instead of attaching the cage to one of the frames, and it seemed like
    the simpler solution to me.

    But now I am worried that with the 30 degree night we had yesterday,
    and will have again the next couple of nights before I release the
    queen, the bees will all cluster at the top, near the feeder, and the
    queen will freeze. Should I go back into the hive today and
    reposition the queen cage (or maybe even release the queen - she's
    been with these bees since last Thursday, and they didn't seem to be
    agressive towards her when I was installing the package)?

    I think the workers would find a way to cluster around the queen cage
    and keep her warm, but I don't want to wait 3 days just to find out
    that I was wrong on that point.

    Thanks very much.
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

    Messages:
    5,829
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    If it was a solid bottom board I would probably not be too concerned but are you saying it is an open screened bottom board?
    I might be inclined to reposition the cage given the cool temps you are describing but that is only my humble opinion.
    Also, "before I release her"? Are these queens in cages with candy plugs at one end? If so, the bees will release her on their own, no need for you to do anything more than simply remove the empty cage in a few days.
    Less interferance at this stage in regards to early release is the safer of approaches.
     

  3. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

    Messages:
    8,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I agree with what Perry said, but Many beeks direct release her if she isn't out on the 4th day. In your case, I think you could do it either way and still be safe.
     
  4. Larus

    Larus New Member

    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Dodged the Bullet

    The queen cages that came with these packages have no candy - just a cork on one end.

    I decided that if the queens are dead, I better find out sooner than later, and if they are not, I can still fix the issue. So I went back to the hives. Both queens were very much alive, moving around their cages. The workers were covering the cages, but not clinging or biting the wire. I even saw one or two feeding the queen. It looks like they've accepted the queens by now.

    So, I uncorked the cages and stuffed the opening with a little marshmallow. Neither queen escaped, which is good. Then I attached the cage to the top of one of the frames by its metal tab and closed the hive.

    These hives get lots of sunshine, and both yesterday and today have been very sunny. I think that helped keep everyone warm. And now that the cages are off the bottom board, I'm not worried about the bees being able to cluster around them. They should chew through that marshmallow by tomorrow anyhow.

    So, looks like I dodged the bullet so far. I'll have to see how these queens are at laying eggs. They might have to get replaced eventually, but I am glad that I am not starting out with queenless hives.
     
  5. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

    Messages:
    5,829
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    :clapping: Well done! The marshmallow was a good idea as well.
    Were there attendants in these cages? If not, no problem, if there are, make sure the end the queen would leave the cage by faces up so in the event an attendant dies, it does not block the exit.
     
  6. Larus

    Larus New Member

    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    No attendants either. The little marshmallows were freebees from the place where we picked up the packages. They are the ones who recommend this technique, given that the cages are supplied with no candy. They recommend against removing the cork and just leaving the hole open as you put the cage back in, because several people had their queen take to the air and fly out into the great beyond instead of crawling down into the hive.
    The marshmallow allows you to close the hive and let the workers release the queen into the dark crevices of the hive interior, where she'll be more at home and less likely to want to fly off.
     
  7. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

    Messages:
    8,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Good procedure.