I just received 2 packages of bees and had a blast setting them up. The first was a learning experience, (but I guess that's always true the first time with anything!) and the second went much more smoothly. I was only stung once, and this was by the very first bee to come out of the package. Is this usually how a new package of bees introduces themselves?
Well I installed them on 5/24, and everything seems to be going smoothly, but I do have a question. The 1st of 2, has very active bees. They are in an 8 frame deep and are building comb like crazy. I took the little queen cage out yesterday, (5/28) and saw a good amount of comb even on the outside frames! They have been working diligently! I see the little girls carrying pollen in by the truckload.
The second package, however is not progressing near as much. This one is in a 10 frame deep, but there is much less activity than the 1st. I may see 10 bees loaded with pollen in the 1st and only 1 or 2 go into the second in the same time frame. When getting the packaged queen cage out of this one they had some comb built up on it, connected to the center frame. So, I ended up putting a small hole, maybe 2 or so inches wide in the middle of the frame. I assume they will easily repair the damage. But, they had considerably less comb built as compared to the 1st.
Today, (5/30) while feeding the little tikes, I noticed (once again) much activity at the entrance to #1, with a small cluster constantly by the entrance, and very little happening with #2. (also, no cluster at entrance)
I'm using mason jars with small holes in the tops as feeders, on top of the ventilated inner cover. (Enclosed in an empty super and of course covered) Anyhow, there seemed to be a very large number of bees in the feeding area. Not feeding, just hanging out on the inner cover. (nearly covering it)
Well, as you may have noticed, I'm quite the novice, albeit a happy one! But, having the two packages to compare to one another raises questions I may otherwise not have thought to ask. I'm beginning to wonder if the lessened activity could be a sign that some problem exists with the queen. One day this coming weekend I may try to locate the queens, but I also don't want to disturb them any more than necessary, being in a new home and all!
Any advice is more than welcome!