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Hi everyone. My mom has kept bees for years (in Langstroths) and ordered an extra hive this year thinking she had the gear for it, but instead offered it to me. I knocked together a TBH following Les Crowder's plans, read the books, did the youtube bonanza, etc. I live in midcoast Maine, and the bees arrived on the 27th of April (1 May today). We had light snow and rain the day they arrived, so they spent the night inside. On the 28th is was in the mid to high forties, so I installed them with too much space (9 bars) and, last minute, decided to hedge on some youtube advice to avoid cross combs near the queen cage and put the cage on the floor of the hive.

Since installing them the weather has been trash. We had one bright sunny day with lots of flights and bees returning with pollen. I put an observation window in the side of the hive, so I could see activity all around the queen cage and the colony had organized itself on the end nearest the entrance and the syrup feeder (1:1, 1-qt glass milk bottles with holes in the caps). Late in the day on the 29th, popped the hive open just for a peek (I know) and saw movement in the queen cage, but:
1. Little to no drop in the syrup volume
2. An increasing number of dead bees on the interior of the hive

Through the observation window last night (42 degrees F and raining), I noted more dead bees on the floor of the interior of the hive, with bees still clustered around the queen cage but very little movement. The remainder of the colony was organized similarly to the warmer day prior, but creeping along the top of the hive by a few bars, presumably building out comb.

Since I'm new at this, I'm freaking out thinking I killed my queen. Since tomorrow will be in the low 60's F and sunny, my instinct is to direct release the queen if she isn't out by maybe mid-day. I'm hopeful the bees will start removing their dead during the warmer weather as well. Should I be concerned or can I calm the heck down?
Thanks in advance!
Rob in Maine
 

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welcome,

Can't say the TBH idea warms me. Seen too many go out back unused after a few years. But back to you, might as well calm down and throw something over them until tomorrow. It's the wind that gets them. Warm syrup is a staple advice for what that is worth.
A piece of comb tied on to an adjacent bar if they have started drawing will help straighten and start up laying if you can get some.

I would not hesitate to release her after four days (tomorrow) assuming they have already traveled from Georgia. Today if it stops raining/blowing.

Have you seen any of the queen acceptance u-tubes?
 
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