The Trouble With Olga

We went out to check on the hives today to make sure that the bees were feeding, had accepted the hive and open the hive entrances. The Kitty hive was in working order. You can see in the above photo that a cluster of bees is on the pollen patty and many more were under the white pail feeding on the nectar. This hive is following the textbook and next week I hope we will find some comb under construction.

Olga was a different story. No bees feeding at all. We lifted up the nectar pail and no bees were underneath--not good. The pail felt hard and yesterday when we were making nectar, we used some raw sugar to make the nectar for this hive--it had turned into a dry rock. We decided to take the pail back and remake the nectar. The feeding tin that came with the package of bees still had nectar in it, so we placed that in with the bees while we made more. When we came back about forty five minutes later, there were still no bees to be seen--not a good sign. Were they still in the hive? Did they die off?

I had been stressing to Lorraine that after today we were to leave the hives alone. We could check the feeders, but to not open up the hives to view the frames until next week. Now, I didn't know what to do. I wanted to open it up and see what was going on but I didn't want to disturb them and I didn't want to set a bad example. We decided to open it up. I didn't know what I would find or if I would be able to do anything. We opened it and the first thing I noticed were quite a few dead bees on the bottom. I remembered that the Olga bees had quite a few dead ones on the bottom of the package, I figured that was normal. But the rest of the bees were all huddles along frames on the extreme right side of the box. I suddenly remembered this being covered in the class. Sometimes the bees get cold on the first night an huddle to one side, completely missing the food at the hole in the center of the roof. All I had to do was rearrange the frames so the bees were right underneath the nectar feeder.

We moved the frames and within moments one of the workers came up and began sipping the nectar and not long after other workers followed. I'm so glad I took that Beekeeping Short Course at the U of M so I knew what to do! Whew.

I will say one thing about the Olga hive, they had already opened the entrance of the hive without my help. They may not have found the food that I set in there for them, but at least they were smart enough to find their own way out to start searching further away.

I have a feeling that Kitty is going to go by the book and Olga is going to be a bit rebellious and require extra attention.