I installed my package last Friday, and we had 3-4 cool rainy days right after that so there wasn't a lot of activity at the hive. Two days after I installed them I went in to make sure the queen was out of her cage and to retrieve the queen cage. The past few days have been nice and sunny and the girls have been pretty active! We've got lots of stuff blooming right now--dandylions, cherry, apple, etc.
I went in the morning to check their feeder and to see how the queen is doing. They're building out comb nicely, which is great! It looks like some of the cells are being filled with nectar because it's a darker color than the sugar water I'm feeding--but I don't know for sure. I found the queen, she seems to be just fine and they seem to be taking care of her with attendants. The frame feeder I'm using was about 1/3 full, so I know they're feeding on the sugar water.
I did have a few questions and would appreciate any help offered!
Almost every day there are 6-8 dead bees near the entrance--is this normal? I know that they will remove the dead ones from the hive, I guess I thought that they would take the bodies farther away? Is 6-8 dead bees a day anything to worry about?
Instead of an entrance reducer, I installed one of the metal mouse guards. We have LOTS of mice here, and it seems prudent to use one. The guard itself reduces the entrance some, but, seeing as many suggest that with a new installation an entrance reducer allows the new bees to defend a smaller space, I covered up about half the mouse guard with two pieces of electrical tape (one on each side stuck to each other so no exposed stickyness to trap bees....) and hope this will work. So my question is: any problem with doing this? How long should you use an entrance reducer?
Second question is about my SBB. I built it myself and used 1/8" mesh screen. I created a channel/shelf for a cover/mite inspection board under the screen, but right now it's open as I figured I wouldn't put the cover on until this Fall with the cooler temps. But in another thread here, I saw people speculating that opened screen bottoms were a potential reason for absconding, which of course got me worrying! lol Should I put the cover on now while the bees are new and the night time temps are low (40's-50's)?