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Worried after new package install

We installed a new package last Saturday evening. Same day of pickup. There was still a lot of sugar water in the can it came with, so we put that on a top feeder that filled it about half way. We didn’t check on them again until Tuesday midday because it was super cold, rainy, and windy.

Feeder was empty. Now I’m freaking out because I’m afraid they may have starved! I don’t know why I thought that amount of sugar water was sufficient. But, it’s been in the 40s and too cold to open the hive. Refilled with about a quart of sugar water yesterday. Checked this morning and it was empty. Refilled with about 1.5qt to the brim again. But there’s no activity outside the box. Now waiting until the temp gets to at least 60 degrees to open the hive, but really nervous that most have died.

This is our 2nd year and not sure what to do when I find whatever I find after getting into the hive.

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If they are taking the syrup that is a good sign that they’re alive in there.

Keep feeding them and open up when it gets warmer. Unless you had drawn comb for them, they have a lot of work to do before the queen has anywhere to lay eggs and make more workers.

Make sure the entrance isn’t blocked by dead bees - sometimes a chopstick or bamboo skewer will clear out enough space if there’s a pile blocking the entrance.

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I’ve had my bees one week and have been feeding them with a freezer bag, and worried about the same thing. (So I know how you feel!) I’m going to switch to a double jar top feeder as soon as I can. Sambees has a good post about his feeding setup. My bees are building comb and buzzing about, but when it’s overcast, they stay in the hive until it warms up.

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We were finally able to open the hive today (Day 5) and the queen was released. However we checked every panel and were not able to spot her. Now worried, the queen didn’t make it. We won’t be available to check the hive the next four days. So now have an all new cause for anxiety.

Also, what does it mean when there are small clumps of bees at the bottom, underside, corner of a panel? We saw that on several panels.

Don’t be worried about not spotting the queen, they can be very elusive one day, then the next time you inspect, you’ll spot her straight away. It takes practice at spotting queens as well.

Next time you inspect, don’t look for the queen, look for eggs & young larvae. You might happen to spot her during that process. I never look for the queen unless I have to. Seeing eggs & worker brood is sufficient to know that she’s there.

The bees in clumps could be in the process of producing wax. They need to do that in order to produce wax.

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@Carola & @claire_c
Hi
For reference, we installed 2 nucs Saturday night close to midnight. Each with a gallon of syrup. By Sunday night, they had consumed about 2/3. By Monday night, empty. Refilled Monday night. Tonight they only have about 1/8-1/4 left. That is 2 gallons in each hive since Saturday night. I have checked in the trays for evidence of leaking and see none. They are consuming it. It seems unbelievable, the amount they have consumed. Both hives at about the same rate.
Also, I have quart sized chick waterers on top of the cover with a little salt in them. It doesn’t seem they have been drinking that at all.

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This afternoon I ordered a Ceracell Top Feeder feeder and 5 gallons of Pro Sweet. I’m hoping this will help get them off to a good start, and I can reuse the containers when they’re empty.

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Following up on this — I installed the new Ceracell feeder and it looks like an olympic swimming pool! It holds 2.5 gallons exactly. I was watching Fredrick Dunn, and he suggests that you cut a little piece of sponge and place it in each corner to help the bees climb in and out. The sides are pretty slick, so this sounded like a good idea. My hive is unlevel on a slope and it really shows with this feeder. But the bees can feed from the corners, so it’s a good solution for me. I’m thinking that this 2.5 gallons should last 5 days, unless they’re as voracious as Sambee’s bees… we’ll see!

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Any chance you can shim it up? You def don’t want it off by too much, since the combs might end up off kilter in the frames & create probs when you pull them for inspection.

Nice pool though :sunglasses::swimming_woman::surfing_woman::woman_playing_water_polo:

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Hi Eva! I’m going to transfer these frames to a Flow Hive in about 6 weeks, so it’ll get straightened out. I think it has settled a little bit since I set it up, and now is about 1/2" off on one side. I’m using frames with plastic foundation, so I hope it’ll be OK until then.

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@claire_c
I see the island :sunglasses: I can’t see the diving board though - lol.
Looks good. Let us know how it works out.

Your feeding set up is impressive. We are new to bee keeping and will get our first NUC next Saturday. My question, Do the feeding jars need to be on top of the brood box or can the feeding jars be outside the flow hive? Is it best to feed the bees inside the brood box like your setup?
Thanks,
Trish

Hello and welcome to the Flow forum! :blush:

I am not @claire_c, but I strongly warn you against feeding a new hive outside the hive. Inside feeding is many times better for the bees, if not for you. Inside gives them exclusive close access. Outside feeding causes robbing, which is very bad news for a new colony and even pretty bad news for an established colony. Avoid robbing at all costs. Claire has done well with her feeding choice. :wink:

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Thank you for the information, I appreciate any helpful information :slight_smile: :grinning:

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Would we need to put a jar for water and a jar for sugar water inside the hive?

I just use a single feeder. I dissolve 5lb of sugar in 3lb of very hot water. Don’t boil it after adding the sugar, and only use white sugar (brown and raw/molasses is toxic for bees). Once it has dissolved and cooled, you can use it as feed. I add a half teaspoon of Vitamin C powder to discourage mold and help the bees - not needed, but it helps.

If you use that formula at this time of year, the bees should not need extra water unless the weather gets really hot - I mean 90°F or more. That mixture is perfect and my bees thrive on it
:blush:

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Thank you. I will get some Vitamin C powder before my bees arrive. Then add water after the temps warm above 90 F. Will the bees need anything else to eat besides the sugar water until the temps warm and flowers start blooming?

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They may not need it, but I use these pollen substitute patties. You can keep them in the freezer for a couple of years if you have freezer space…

:wink:

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Here’s an easy water dish for the bees. I set this in the splash zone of a half whiskey barrel pond. It looks like they’ve adopted it as a convenient water source, rather than invading the neighbor’s swimming pool.

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Claire, I have that same feeder, which I ordered online. It came with NO instructions. I assume it rests on top of the brood box, but the clear plastic pieces pop on or off. I can’t tell if there is a reason to take them on or off (on is closed or open, etc). How do the bees get into the feeder to eat? Thanks