I am in Maryland and we have had cool, rainy weather the past 2 days. I observed a small cluster of bee bearding, or what I believe to be bearding, outside my hive. There were a few bees also outside the cluster that were barely moving & appeared nearly dead. And, a handful of dead bees on the top of the hive & on the landing board that I brushed off. Any ideas of what this might indicate? Or whether I should adjust my hive? The high today was about the mid-50s with rain, low 50s when I visited them at 7 p.m. Tomorrow will also be about 51-53 degrees with rain.
I'll return to check on them on Sunday, when the weather should be in the low 70s & sunny. A fellow beek did tell me that when in doubt, give it a few days & see what happens. So, I know patience - at least until Sunday - might be the best answer here, but any additional insight would be appreciated.
A few additional notes:
- I receive the nuc for this hive around April 8th.
- On May 2nd, I observed 7 capped queen cells in this hive - prior I had been in the hive on April 27th & had not noticed these cells.
- Under the advisement of other area beekeepers, I am only visiting the hives to feed & am otherwise staying out in order to let the new queens develop, mate & start laying. Hopefully.
- The 5 new frames in the brood box (added with the 5 frames that came in the nuc) had not been fully drawn out yet as of May 2nd.
- Due to the numerous queen cells in the box, I did add a medium box with 10 un-drawn frames on top of the super, in case the cells indicated that they needed space. I thought it could help prevent a swarm if that was what was going on.
- Despite no nectar flow, I had stopped feeding the bees around mid-April due to ants & it also seemed like they weren't eating much.
- They were incredibly aggressive when I checked them on May 2nd, I believe due to lack of a queen & possible robbing. I resumed feeding & have returned every other day - every 3 days to check on the feed. I've been doing 2 parts water to 1 part sugar in a pail feeder.
- I last visited them on May 9th (today is the 12th) to change out their feed & did not observe this behavior.