Progress of new package hives

This is a follow-up to my post of April 13, 2016 which describes what new beekeepers should observe in new hives started from packages, or nucs. A week ago today, on April 15th, I installed five packages of bees. I looked at them today, and wish to share what I observed. These packages were purchased from Clay Guthrie, the manager of the Dadant & Sons branch in Frankfort, Kentucky (Guthrie’s Naturals), and originated in Georgia.


I briefly opened the hives on July 20th, Tuesday to see if the queens had been released. They were all out of the queen cages, so I removed the queen cages, and also some burr comb from a some of the frames in the area of the cages.

Today I saw comb being drawn in all of the hives – on 2-3 frames, also pollen in the drawn cells, and fresh nectar. In four of the five hives I saw eggs. In the hive where I did not see eggs, I saw the queen. There may have been eggs in that hive as well, but I moved quickly, since I was hearing distant thunder. Being caught out in the open in a lighting storm is not my idea of fun.


I am using two quart jars as feeders over each hive. The inner cover sits on a the lower hive body, where the bees are, and a second hive body sits on the inner cover. The feeder jars sit on the inner cover, and inside the second hive body. The outer cover sits on the second hive body. On Tuesday each hive had taken about a quart of syrup (made from equal parts sugar to water). Since Tuesday it looks like they have taken close to a quart again. so about 1/2 gallon in the first week.


The can between the quart jars is from the package, cans were not empty when packages installed. Today they all came out.

I also saw, and marked, four of the five queens. In the hive where I did not see a queen, I saw eggs. I might comment that do not be concerned if you do not see the queen, especially an unmarked queen. I am pretty good at spotting queens, but still missed one. As I suggest you do, look for eggs, not queens. If I had not planned to mark the queens I would not have looked for them. By next week I will see larvae as these eggs hatch, and more eggs.

I am quite pleased with the progress of these packages. I think there were about 4-5 frames covered with bees. I will attempt to post updates about the progress of these hives every few days. I will try.





3 responses to “Progress of new package hives

  1. Chris Conwell

    Do you have any concerns about neonic contamination in beet sugar? Could I dilute and feed honey from last fall that is left over from uncapping supers off my own hives? I never buy bees, only rely on splits and collecting swarms, try to maintain between 8 to 12 hives as a serious hobby.

    • I have no concerns, at this time, about neonicotinoid pesticide contamination from purchased sugar. Though it is fine to feed back honey from your own hives, I am more wary if from a hive belonging to someone else, but you need to be aware that you can spread pathogens even if the honey is from your own hive. So make sure that that hive from which the honey came from is healthy. You also need to be careful, especially in times of low nectar flows, of causing robbing. Feeding honey is even more likley to set off robbing than feeding sugar syrup. Better to move full frames of honey.

  2. Pingback: Progress of new package hives, part 2 | Phil Craft Hive Craft