Help! My bees absconded!
I got a package on Tuesday, installed them (not very smoothly, but got all the bees, food, and queen in.) The next morning, I released the queen from her cage because I wasn't sure they were getting her out. I checked on them briefly that night, and all seemed ok - although they all seemed clustered at the back of the hive around the feeder can.
Yesterday (Thursday) I came home and they all seemed to be flying in and out of the entrance, and I figured all was well. In the evening, my husband said he didn't see any bees and was worried, so I suited up and went to check on them. They were gone!!! I looked around, and saw them clustered in a swarm on the ground nearby.
I brushed as many as I could into a bucket and put them back into the hive. I moved the feeder can closer to the front of the hive, and I added a small container of honey with fabric over it so they could get some honey too (a TBH beekeeper I know recommended that.) Then I reduced the entrance with a screen allowing only 1-2 bees to pass through at a time. I tried to find the queen, and I think I did - I saw one bee who was much larger than the others, and who had a different color abdomen. I hope that was her.
This morning, I peeked at them, and they were still in there. There are still a few on the ground in clumps - should I try to get them in this evening?
Where did I go wrong? Any thoughts on why they absconded, and what I should do next? I don't want to keep bugging them, but I also want to make sure they have food and water, and dont leave again. It was so demoralizing to see they had left! How did I fail them?