Howdy, I installed 2 lbs of bees saturday, (temps 55 or so, and sunny, sunday 65 and sunny)then spent the rest of the day watching the entrance of the hive, and on sunday opened the hive to check the frame feeder, and see the bees. ( after all this is my first hive so am spending some time just looking and wondering) so my comments/questions are: on sunday I found about a dozen dead bees outside the hive entrance in the grass, and have observed several instances of bees "fighting" (OK that's what it looked like) with one bee being left dead on the grass, and what seems to be single flights of bees that come in from the south and leave the same way. did not see any bees standing like the "guard stance" in front of the porch though. Could it be that I am already being robbed? For the most part we have no flowers yet, but I do see a few bees flying into the hive with what appears to be pollen on the back legs, where would they get it from? (I'm in Madison,wi). (Only thing I could think was maybefrom a greenhouse?)
As these are storebought bees, and a mixture, (I observed several different colors of bees, very light blond and some darker banded bees when I installed them) I would assume that the very large dark bees, 1.5 times larger, that I occasionally see on the porch is a drone, and NOT the queen? When I looked for the queen on sunday, I did observe what appears to be the queen surrounded by others facing her, and the center cells were being slowly lengthened ( I used Duragilt) the bees had used about 1 quart of 1-1 sugar water between sat and sun. is this about right? got stung once, bee got caught in my beard, my own fault too.... shaved the beard, figured I didn't need it anymore....what with spring here and all...anyway thanks and drive careful....
I am new to this beekeeping thing my self but I did see the bees all over the wifes weeping ***** willow tree Sunday which is full of the yellow pollin. they are also working all the places the maple trees broke branches and tops during last week ends ice storm.
Anytime that I install a new package, I wait at least 1 week to open the hive. I think that this gives them the time to orient themselves to the area and to what needs to be done inside the hive.
In a package you will have new hatched bees and some older bees hence the different colors. New spring bees are a lighter color than the over wintering bee.
The first thing to remember and I know how hard it is, The bee knows best. They've been doing it for many years and they will adapt to their surrounding that you have given them.
The Temp out side before you open I think should be around 68 to 70 degrees. If you chill the young you'll start seeing white larva outside your hive.
Like I say I know it's a great temptation, but if you open too soon or too much the bees will think that it's not a good home and start a massave swarm to a new one and all you'll have is an empty hive.
If you are observing fighting, I'd put some grass in the entrance so none are getting in or out for a while. They will eventually remove it. It may be a strong local hive found your feeder inviting.
I'm thinking that with one hive(?), that perhaps it is bees bringing out dead bees that were dumped in the hive when the package was installed. A bee struggling with a dead bee will sometimes get the legs snagged and appear to be fighting once outside the hive.
The best sign you mentioned was that they were bringing in pollen. This indicates hive organization and possible brood rearing although its hard to imagine egg laying in 24 hours unless you removed alot of the sugar candy. I would wait 4-5 days more and look for egg laying. If you have seen new eggs before, it is easy to miss untill you know what to look for. Ask another beekeeper in the area for a quick inspection if you have questions. Now is not the time to have problems. Your two pound package will start losing bees, and new replacements are needed in 3-4 weeks.
Make sure you entrance is no bigger than needed. Perhaps one square inch in area, at the most.
Bjorn may be right. We assume when you say it looks like they are fighting that they are fighting. A real fight looks like a wrestling match with both bees very active. Usually the defender has a hold of the robber and usually the robber looks darker and kind of bald from having her hair pulled out.
The pollen is most likely willow, or maple, or even cottonwood now. Is there a farm nearby? They may be raiding the barnyard, my bees will visit the farm next door and eat the stuff they feed their cows. Did you release your queen right away when you hived them? If so, you may find eggs right away, but they are almost impossible to see on new foundation. Let them get settled for a few days before you open the hive again, then check. Do you have an entrance reducer in? Have fun!