What should I do now? My observation hive bees absconded last week. I think this was due to stress from hive beetles. Yesterday, I noticed them in a tree about 20 feet above the hive entrance. They were too high to reach, so I put an 8-frame medium on a ladder below them and baited it with honey and lemongrass oil. By this afternoon, the cluster was gone and there was much activity at the entrance to the box, so I assume the cluster has occupied it.
What should I do next? I want to do whatever has the best chance of keeping the queen and colony alive to build up again next spring. I could leave them in the box, or try to reinstall them in the observation hive. Either way, I think I'll have to add more bees, as the cluster was only slightly larger than a softball when I saw it in the tree.