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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My package bees, after a 3 week delay relative to when they were supposed to get here, are finally scheduled for arrival sometime later this week (probably on Saturday). I have some last minute questions about package installation and queen release:

The weather forecast calls for highs in the 50s/60s but lows in the 30s/40s over the next 10 days. I am going to put the bees into single deeps with a screened bottom board and a hive-top feeder, and brand new frames, with wax foundation. During the day, the bees should be able to get all the syrup they want, and even go flying about if it's not raining, but I am worried that during the night they will have to cluster and won't be able to crawl all the way up into the top feeder and then down to the syrup.

Is there anything I can do to help them get through the nights until the temperature warms up a bit more? Should I put some powdered sugar on a wax paper on top of the frames? Should I put in the varroa screen so that the hive is a bit less drafty?

Thanks a lot.
 

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Don't worry. Your bees will be fine with those temps! Forget about powdered sugar buffets. No need to fuss or cover your screen bottom, no need to worry about how they'll eat at night. Midnight trips to the fridge only make you FAT. ;)

seriously- those temps are not extreme at all- your bees will manage just GREAT in those temps. :D
 

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Omie is right, you have nothing to worry about.
Congratulations on taking the plunge, you will never regret it. Oh, your bank account may suffer a little but it is worth avery penny! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
:) Thanks for the reassurances. It's going to be great to finally have bees, not just empty wooden boxes.
 

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Hi Everyone,

I picked up my bees today (65 miles away) and had planned to install them late this afternoon. However, it is EXTREMELY windy here right now and it is predicted to have heavy rains later and overnight.

I would have decided to keep them overnight in my basement (where they are now), but I have a second problem. Many, if not most seem to be dead already. There is about 1 inch of dead and dying bees at the bottom of the package. SOme of the others keep dropping to the floor of the cage and then getting back up. I am afraid that they will all be dead by morning if I don't get them installed.

When I got the e-mail to pick them up, the seller said that they were already stressed and that everyone should get there as soon as possible. I did.

Some other facts: The current temp. is 80 degrees. It is expected to drop tonight into the low 50's and only get up in the 50's for the next 2 days. Rain tonight and tomnorrow, possible thunderstorms and heavy at times. (I sound like a forcaster.....)

What do you all think? Should I go ahead and put them out late this afternoon or try to wait until it stops raining? It is only "sprinkling" now.

I was on the forum last year with some issues, but my bees simply flew away after 1 month. They are still "in the area" since I see them. I have no idea where they went. I live on 25 acres, so they may be in an old hollow tree.

Thanks for your advice!
Helen
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If you are worried that they will all be dead by morning, then install them now - what do you have to lose? They might recuperate better if they have fresh air and ad libitum access to food. I don't think rainy weather matters, as long as they have plenty of syrup - their first job will be to build comb, anyway. The rain will give them extra incentive to stay put, settle into the hive, and not fly away.

For the weekend here they are also predicting rain, even thunderstorms, but I will install my bees as soon as I get them - the sooner they can get back to a normal life as bees, in a hive, the better for them, I think.
 

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Helen, spray them with 1:1 sugar water immediately. They are likely starving.

Larus, you should spray them with the same before installing them. They can last 3 days on one feeding.
 

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Larus writes:
During the day, the bees should be able to get all the syrup they want, and even go flying about if it's not raining, but I am worried that during the night they will have to cluster and won't be able to crawl all the way up into the top feeder and then down to the syrup.

tecumseh:
bees cluster whenever their is a temperature drop to induce clustering (about 55 degrees). they are pretty much genetically engineered to do that. they have no problem navigating day or night inside those white boxes. anytime the temperature is above 55 (day or night) I would guess they will be accessing the top feeder.
 

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Larus, you should spray them with the same before installing them. They can last 3 days on one feeding.
Larus, just make sure not to spray them with syrup in the evening if temps are still down in the 30's. Do it in the morning or midday and they'll have licked themselves dry by the time they need to stay warm overnight.
 

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Thank you all for the advice. I went ahead and installed my bees the same afternoon. They are doing fine and have cleaned out most of the dead bees. The queen has been released, as of yesterday and everyone seems to be happy!

Helen
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Congratulations, Helen! I installed my packages on Sunday, and my bees seem to be doing just fine also.

To paraphrase one of my coworkers: "May your bees be happy and glorious." (and may everyone else's bees also be the same.)
 
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