I got up this morning and it was damp and cold. The last few days had been warm and yesterday it was in the 80s, but it rained last night like a son-of-a-gun and the temperature dropped into the 40s. I left the bees in the back of the truck (it has a cap). I put an old blanket over the packages so that they would not suffer greatly in the cold, since they were used to warmer nights in Georgia. I was careful that they had some ventilation, though. I did not want them to suffocate.
In the YouTube videos the beekeepers don’t wear gloves or veils and in one he remarks that he did not get any stings. Don’t believe them. The bees were agitated even as I took out the queen, and I ran back to get a veil and gloves.
I set up the hives for the bees and removed some frames. I put pollen patties in each hive, taking off the paper on one side and pressing them into an empty frame, and stripping some paper off the exposed side. I filled up 1/2 gallon containers with sugar syrup, and set up the top feeders so I could put them on and fill them.
I pried off the wood that was stapled on the top of the package and found that the queen was in a unexpected kind of queen cage. It had a disk of sheet metal stapled on the end instead of a cork to hold in the queen. I pried off the disk and punched a hole in the bee candy with a finishing nail. The queen looked well, although she was unmarked. There were a few bees in with her, I guess to help keep her warm and to help her escape.
There was no ribbon or tab on the queen cage so I set it down on top of the frames of the bottom super. I set the hives up as two deeps. I know it is a lot of room, for a package, but it seemed that they could ball up in the top deep and keep warm, so I thought it was a good idea.
The can of sugar was not even starting to empty so I am guessing that the bees were in the package less than 24 hours by the time I got them. This is good as it stresses the bees less, but bad because they haven’t had time to get used to the queen. I hope that they don’t kill the queen if she gets out early.
I then dumped the bees into the frames, banging it and knocking the bees out. This is when the bees got upset with me. There were a good bunch of bees that refused to leave the package so I set it upright with the opening facing the entrance and I hope that they smell that new hive smell and get a move on it before they die of exposure.
I covered the hive with the top feeder, inner lid and cover, and I went on the the second hive.
The second package went the same way, but I was more aggressive about getting the bees out of the package and it upset them quite a bit. There were also many more bees in the second package and had to shovel them into the opening between the frames. The bees did not like this and I was stung several times.
When I got back to the house I had a dozen or so stragglers on me and Erica brushed them off. One stung her and she was not pleased. She is not a bee girl. Two bees managed to hitch hike right into the dining room and I had to catch them and release them outside.
One of the stings was in my throat and my throat began to swell. I had to go to work, so I took the next bus and about 15 minutes into a one hour trip my throat began to close up making it hard to breath. I remained calm and it did not get much worse. It was scary, but I was never in danger. I could always breath, although it was uncomfortable. I got into work and took a sudafed, and I felt better in a few minutes. I never reacted badly to bee stings before, but this sting was was on my throat. The next time I go to the doctor I will get a prescription for an epipen, just in case.
I will leave the hives alone for a few days. If it is warm early next week, I will open the hives and check the cage. You are supposed to leave them alone for a few days. Some sites say 5 days and some say 3 days.