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Hi there,

I am a first time beekeeper and installed my bees six days ago. I put a quart of SW on the feeder and there is still half of it left. We had two days of sun and then 3 days of rain. In the evening of the second day of being installed, what looked like a small swarm congregated in the evening in the cinder block under the hive. I may have made a mistake, but i pushed them around a little bit to encourage them to go back in side. The next morning the whole clump of them was just lying on the ground. that afternoon they were all gone.... It's sunny today on the sixth day so I decided to check in on the hive. The queen cage is empty. there are about two frames full of bees, but no comb drawn.... What is that about? I was really hoping to be able to check the brood comb to find out the health of the queen. I also looked really closely for the queen and couldn't find her, but I hear it can be very difficult for new beekeepers to find the queen. Should I be worried? Are they not drawing out comb because they haven't had access to natural nectar yet? or is the queen dead and the bees are just hanging out? Why is there still half the SW left in the jar? I was under the impression they could eat a gallon in a day.

I'm sorry I have so many questions,

I'm kinda freaking out about this and wondering if I should order a new queen or maybe change my feeding method..... I don't know.

Thanks for your help,

Mason
 

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Check to make sure the holes in the feeder lid are not plugged. Sometimes the bees will stuff them with propolis when it's cold (or wax) and then won't unplug them later because they don't know there is syrup in there.

I greatly prefer hive-top feeders for this reason.

Your bees should be consuming large amounts of syrup and drawing comb -- the queen cannot lay on foundation until there are some walls as she cannot measure the cell.

I would mix some dry sugar with water to make is sort of slushy, put a piece of newspaper over part of the frames the bees are on, and dump the wet sugar on top of the paper. They will eat it up right away and start to work. Make sure they can get to the syrup in the feeder, and consider getting and installing a hive-top feeder pronto.

Otherwise they will take a long time to draw comb as they cannot get nectar until there is flying weather.

Peter
 

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Depending upon your planned methods of how you will treat/not treat your hives you may want to look into getting some Honey B Healthy and mixing into your 1:1 syrup. Also the bees cannot use the syrup till it's temp reaches 55 deg F. Won't really touch it at all. So if you are using an external feeder and temps are getting low, this causes the syrup to cool down to not useable. Also, what you didn't mention, what size package did you get 2 or 3 pound, using foundation/not using , type of hives top bar/ lang, all of these factors can and do affect how fast comb is being built.
 

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The bees you found dead probably just never re-entered the hive and died overnight. I find dead bees when I do splits, even last night, and it only got down to about 45 F here. It takes a while to get good at finding the queen. I'd guess she's there and just hasn't started laying yet. If the bees are queenless, you can usually hear a roar from their wings as they try to get a whiff of queen pheromone. I would just keep feeding and not worry about the bees you found dead.
 

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Where in the world is the placement of your feeder?

A properly placed quart jar will be 75% Utilized 90% of the time by a 3 pound package every day once they are installed... That is unless the flow is on and the bees decide they like the taste of the flowers better than the taste of the sugar cane!
 

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Flow is on in my region and bees ignore frame feeders, boardman feeders, and open feeders. Every package is different. Some are just more motivated than others.
 

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Every package is different. Some are just more motivated than others.
Sounds like some of the help now days . Had a guy who recently decide he needed to "take a day long break" the moment we needed to have packages ready. Needless to say the bonus money for the year fell out of his lap the moment he refused to stick around and help like everyone else was doing. Be it the bees or people.... in this business you need to suck up the syrup when its in front of you. Waiting around only leads to failure when the flow is on.....
 
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