Day Zero: The hiving.

This historic event got its own post.

Day One: Removing the queen cage.

Not as smoothly done as yesterday, perhaps because we haven’t seen as many online videos of this stage or rehearsed the steps in our heads as often. Things had more of an improvisational feel.
Typically the queen cage is left in for several days until the queen is released. In our case she was free to leave the cage immediately so we intended to remove it before it was incorporated into comb but it turned out to be already too late.
We looked through the observation window (half the length of the hive) and saw the bees clustered in a south corner. The follower is sufficiently forward that we could see the jar of syrup and note it was about half empty.
We removed a few top bars from behind the follower board so we could slide it back and gain access to the cage. This revealed a flaw in our feeder design as the follower readily tipped backwards enough to reveal a host of little bee faces looking at us and some comb entombing the queen cage. Fortunately with two of us one could wield the bee brush to coax the girls away while the other removed things and closed the hive back up.
Stepping away we were gladdened to see that some cells of the comb had yellow pollen. Breaking it free of the queen cage we returned to the hive for one more intrusion to return the comb so they could recycle the wax and reclaim the pollen. Then we encouraged the bees within the cage (not the queen!)to depart and make their way back to the hive. We shouldn’t need to disturb the bees by opening their chamber for a while. We will confine our visits to peeking through the observation window and replenishing the syrup supply as needed.

Day Two: More syrup yet?

The day is warmer than we have had and the bees are very active around the hive. Peeking through the window we still see a cluster in that one area. It is hard to tell just what they are building. We do note that the dead bees are gone from the bottom of the hive. There are about ten near one of the legs of the hive stand. These probably were very old bees that died on the way back to the hive since bees remove their dead to hundreds of feet from home.
They still haven’t emptied the syrup jar. As the level drops the pressure to force it out the holes lessens so perhaps we are seeing reduced flow rather than reduced interest in feeding from it. There seems to be steady traffic in and out of the feeder slot. Tomorrow we will replace it with a fresh full jar whether they need it or not.

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