Sometimes a package of bees will fly away. It happens. If there's something about a hive they don't like, the entire colony will "abscond" – I repeat, abscond; not "swarm" [LINK BROKEN]– to look for someplace better. Having spent $80 on our package, I set up house to entice them to stay put. The brood nest is in between bars of honey, for three reasons. First, with almost 5 lbs. of food at their feet, they should be very happy here, especially since the weather's been a little cool for flying. It'll be interesting to find out how fast 3 lbs of bees consumes 5 lbs of honey.
Second, the honey comb nearer the entrance (and exit) is a "Queen Includer." Supposedly, queens do not like to walk on honey combs. Of course she could simply walk around it, but if she stays in the hive everybody stays.
And last, I figured the bees would eat the stores and then have empty comb ready for the Spring buildup. But note the title of this post!
I spend a lot of time reading posts in the biobees forum and came across this comment, made by Phil Chandler. "As the bees consume their winter stores, they empty the comb and that does indeed create space for their spring build-up. However, honey store comb usually has a larger cell size than brood comb, so it is better to remove honey comb before the spring build-up really gets under way, so they can build correct-size comb in its place." A little hive management is in order already!
A Spring snow storm is about to hit, so we won't be able to do our First Inspection on time. Beekeeping for Dummies says we're supposed wait a week and then look for eggs as proof that the Queen was accepted and is performing. Where's the emoji for fingers crossed?
We don't like to go into the hive unless absolutely necessary. Simply observing foragers returning with pollen would be proof enough of eggs and larvae. But we love any excuse for looking through the window, and this delay was it.
We saw fantastic stuff! A new comb (image above) on the 9th bar, fresh and white, but perhaps off-center. And a nice network of bee chains, right around the 5th comb, which needs major repair work.