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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my fourth try with bees. I hived the bees on Sunday, early evening. There is a top feeder with syrup. The entrance reducer is in use. I ordered a marked and clipped queen. This morning the bees have been very active in front of the hive. They have been flying around in circles and are sitting on the front of the hive. There is a clump of bees in the grass about two feet in front of the hive. I am concerned the queen has crawled out. Is this likely? Should I investigate this clump. I wasn't going to inspect the hive until Friday. I have read if you open the hive too soon the girls might kill the queen. Any advice is welcome. I would really like to make a go at it this time. Thanks April
 

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Hi April,

You can poke around in the clump and see if you have a queen in there. If she's marked, it'll be easy to spot but don't discount the possibility that another queen might have been in the package. If you do find your marked queen, you can place her in the hive and let the others follow but I'd be doing a full inspection to see why she may have left or been driven out. If it makes you feel better, I've hived packages and later found the queen outside the hive on more than one occasion. All well was as time went on though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I just poked around the clump and didn't see a queen marked or unmarked. The bees are starting to fly around the hive again. I saw a few dead bees in the clump. I spread them around. Is it possible these are robbing bees? I wasn't sure I should open the hive right now. What do you think?
 

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Sometimes feeders can cause robbing, especially if there is an opening to the outside. When I used top feeders, I often had problems keeping the tight against the top of the hive body. Ended up using weatherstripping foam to make it seal up right. If other bees can get into the feeder from the outside, it can cause a lot of bees to visit your hive. Check to be sure. One way to check for robbing is to screen off your hive at night so that all your bees stay inside. In the morning, check and see if you have bees around your hive. If you do and if your bees are locked up, you have robbers.

It sounds like your hive is still fairly young so I don't think you need to open the entrance up all the way and certainly, if you suspect robbing, you should leave the entrance very small. If it is NOT robbing and you get bees kind of waiting in line to get in, then opening the entrance up makes sense. Keep an eye on things but nothing sound very desperate right now!
 
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