Package Bees Ordered
Wyoming’s spring weather has been unusually warm and mild. And while out and about digging the garden, I noticed a few bumblebees and wasps trying to find a new home. Interesting!
And the weather has been mild enough to allow some limited foraging on the cherry blooms. Noticed some wild bees and a honeybee.Now that’s not a full recovery from the devastation the bee populations have suffered over the last several years. But it’s enough for me. A beekeeper must be full of hope, especially in the spring.
So, I’ve decided to get some package bees and start over.
It’s been awhile since I’ve been around package bees, something like the late 90’s. But I contacted Ken Smith who hauled and sold them in central Wyoming. He’s not in that business anymore. But he referred me to Brian Houtman who had taken over from him.
After a pleasant talk with a busy Brian, I’ve ordered 5 three pound packages. They are due to arrive by the end of the month. And will be put on new comb. So, I’ve got lots to do in just a few weeks:
- reclaim and process all old comb
- scrap, scorch, and disinfect all woodenware
- procure summer and winter beeyard locations
- get some sugar feed stockpiled
I like to use a push in cage and confine the new queens on comb for awhile before releasing them. It gives the 3lb glob of unrelated and traumatized bees time to:
- settle down
- form a cohesive unit around the new queen
- pick up comb odor
- begin foraging
The queen can begin laying without any harassment. And that helps packages succeed.
But this time, without any comb, I’m going to keep the queens confined to their queen cages. And then manually release them about a week later. I’ll:
- gently open the hive
- look for any worker bees tightly clinging to or biting the wire on the queen cage
- if so, I’ll keep the queen confined and inspect that hive in another week
- if not, I’ll release the queen and close up the hive
It should be a good chance to take some photos and describe how to quickly and easily handle package bees. I’ve done it thousands of times as a commercial beekeeper.
And I’m looking forward to beeing in the saddle again.