A couple of days after getting the bees in the hive the weather turned kind of cold and rainy. I was seeing some activity, but not a lot. Looking in through the hive window I still just saw a big cluster of bees. It looked like they had eaten some of the hive candy, but not all of it. The folks at Beeweaver said I really should be feeding them syrup, so I made some plain sugar syrup and put it in a baggie feeder in the hive. A baggie feeder is just a zip-lock baggie full of syrup with some slits cut in it so the bees can get to it. Just as I opened the hive up to put the baggie in a storm came out of nowhere with high winds, lightning and rain. So I just dropped the bag in and put everything back together as quickly as possible. Turns out that I kind of squashed the bag with the divider board and syrup went everywhere. Some was dripping out of the hive, and a lot ended up running all over the bottom of the hive. A few bees drowned in the mess, but mostly they seemed to go for it and I could see them busily feeding on the stuff.
After a few days warmer weather returned and a replaced the no empty baggie with a new one, this time doing a better of placing it and it didn’t run all over the place. While the hive was active, I still couldn’t see if they were building comb. I assumed they were under the mass of bees, but I could not yet see any.
So after a week I decided it was time to see what was going on. I threw together a quick stand to hold the bars as I pulled them out of the hive and opened the hive to see what I had.
Turns out things were progressing well. Under the thick mass of bees were 5 bars worth of comb. The waxed dowels had worked perfectly and the comb was all on the bars as I had hoped. I wasn’t able to locate the queen, and I did not want to disturb them for long, so I put all the bars back and gave them a couple of extra to work with as well.
Putting the bars back was an experience because the bees were crawling everywhere and I had a heck of a time getting the bars back in without squishing them. As it was I still crushed a few, but not many.
I waited another 4 or 5 days and decided to open it up again to check for the queen and add some more food. The bees were really active and coming back laden with pollen. I opened it up and quickly found the queen. When I ordered the package I requested a marked queen to make it easier for me to locate her. She is of course the largest bee, but that doesn’t always make her easier to find in a mass of others. The big yellow dot on her back stands out quite nicely though. I did see some eggs and capped cells this time, though not as many as I had hoped. I went ahead and added some more feed, this time a very thick syrup laced with pollen and pollen substitute sitting in silicon baking cups. I also added a couple of more bars for them. I will probably leave them alone for a couple of weeks now. I don’t think there is a need to feed them much more, but I will keep an eye on how much they eat. I’m a little afraid that continued disturbances may cause them to abscond, so I want to leave them to their work for a bit.