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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I opened my hive for the first time this evening. Now I have more questions after than I did before I went in. I am a complete newbie so please help me out. I got this swarm on the evening of 4/17. The weather turned cold and rainy the next day. I borrowed an entrance feeder and fed them 1 qt of sugar water. They were staying all over the outside of the hive. I put on a empty super that I have and put a plastic container with dry sugar in it on top of the frames.

My set up is 8 frame mediums with alternating empty frames and frames with pure wax foundation. Migratory top. Bottom entrance with partial reducer for now.

What I found today when I went in:

Most all of the bees were on the right most 2 frames and the right side of the box. It looked as if they have chewed most of the way foundation except for the last one on the right which they have drawn comb on. The empty next to that one has a very small (3" diameter) of drawn comb. There was still sugar in the container. I did see several with their heads down inside of cells with small yellow tint in the bottom of the cell.

What I could not see:

Queen. Not sure if I got her with the swarm or not. Probably could not find her by by myself anyway.

Eggs/brood/larvae/honey/pollen.

What I did:

Removed the empty super. Put small amount of wet newspaper on top of the frames with a small amount of dry sugar. Removed the chewed foundation. Replaced top.

Sorry I do not have pics. I cannot meet up with my local beek for a couple of weeks. What do you think?

Good? Bad? Indifferent?
 

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Breath relax .. If you have viable eggs at this point queen you have hope no matter what. ( you didnt see any if by sunday and it warm look for brood ) Till then give em some time the ladies have been thru alot in a short amount of time. Watch em but give some space so that they can relax and get to work once this spring rain stops.
 

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Sounds good to me. The yellow you saw in the bottom of the cells must be pollen which they mix with honey/nectar to feed the larva. That's a sign that they expect larva and there are probably eggs next to the pollen or across from it on the next frame. The queen is usually there also.
Covering only 2 frames is a small swarm. Feeding til they get going better is not a bad idea. Your honey flow should be going on or just starting and they usually don't take much sugar water at that time. I (and many beeks) don't like entrance feeders because it encouages robbing from other hives. Definitely don't feed that way after your honey flow ends. A small hive like yours could be robbed out & die. Also, dry sugar is used as an emergency feed when it's too cold to feed sugar water. I'd put the super back on without frames and turn the quart jar (if it fits) upside down on top of the frames. They may only take it during a rainy spell which is okay.
Since the colony is small, I'd replace the foundation that they chewed or are not drawing out with drawn comb if you have it. They need to put all their resources into increasing in size and storing honey to get through the winter. Next spring, it should build up to a booming hive and you can take honey off. Don't rearrange the combs that they are using-they have those organized for the way they want it.
A small swarm indicates that it was probably an afterswarm which would have a virgin queen. She needed time to get mated, etc before starting to lay. When you check in a week, you will probably see young larva. Be careful handling the frames so as to not hurt the queen. First take out unused frames and work your way into the broodnest.
If bees are hanging onto each other as you pull frames, it's a good sign. That's how they make wax.
Anyway, sounds good. Keep us posted on how they are progressing and don't be afraid to ask questions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the input and help. I took the super off because I was afraid that they had to much room. I will put it back with a feeder tonight or tomorrow morning. They were hanging on to each other very strongly and I had to gently pull the frames apart because they were clinging to each other so strongly. I was not clear as to the number of bees. All the work seemed to be on the last 2 frames but they were hanging on to each other in a big ball inside of 5 frames. It seems as if they chewed the wax foundation in order to make the big hole. Very encouraging to hear that they may be expecting larva. Thanks again.
 
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