While we have seen coming and going of foragers, not very much progress had been visible through the observation window. Top bars we expected to have comb under construction remained bare in spite of the occasional indication of imminent festooning. Is the supply of nectar insufficient to encourage comb construction? It should be mentioned that with respect to gathering nectar and pollen our bees (package and nuc) have always seemed to us perverse. The autumn olive not ten feet in front of the hive, which we expected to see covered in humming, happy bees, spent its blooms in vain. Likewise the stand of sumac about twenty feet behind the hive. So too the eglantine. And even the clover in the lawn. All shunned as the foragers mostly zoom off to the eastern woods and wetland. What are they finding? At any rate, we decided to resume feeding sugar syrup.
Yesterday, on day 13 since installing the nuc bees, we replaced the follower with our new-and-improved feeder follower board (more about that in a later post) and 700 ml of syrup in the jar. As that end of the hive usually seems devoid of bees we had briefly dunked a bag of peppermint herbal tea in the syrup to provide some fragrance to attract them to investigate. The switch went smoothly. Unfortunately our observation window does not extend far enough for us to use it monitor the syrup level at the feeder’s current location. Our next hive will have a window running the entire length.
Looking through the window this time we saw that the empty top bar between the package bee comb and brood frames had definitely acquired some comb covered in bees. It is being constructed at the same end of the bar as the old comb. Also there were two miniscule beginnings of comb (an inch or two high) on the top bar on the other side of the brood frames. These were near the center of the bar. They seemed a bit off the centerline towards the brood. We hope that this will not be problematic in the future.