Urban beekeeping in New Mexico's largest city.
Greetings, all -- I am a new beek in the 2-year 2015 apprentice program (NM Beekeepers Assoc.) and I just got a BeeWeaver package w/clipped and marked queen on Saturday (Roswell pickup). I put the package and queen cage, feeder, etc. in the hive (TJ Carr style top bar made by Jason Fink - fantastic hive). First time ever.
I checked yesterday afternoon to remove the package and feeder and to make sure that the queen was out of her cage when I noticed a small pile of about 50 bees on the ground about 4 feet away from the hive.
In the middle of the pile was the queen (luckily I saw her markings flash out of the corner of my eye as I walked by it). I cleared the package, feeder and empty cage from the hive and then scooped up the posse of bees and queen on a piece of cardboard and put them back in the hive next to the starter comb where the queen cage had been.
Here are my questions:
1. Has anyone had a clipped queen bolt the hive immediately after getting out of the cage (within 2 days of being placed in the hive)? Is that normal? Should I be concerned?
2. I read some posts and noticed that several folks were happy with their BeeWeaver bees, but that they needed closer / more frequent scrutiny. One person had the entire colony leave after only 3 weeks, another mentioned that s/he should have looked more closely for queen cells.
3. Should I be concerned about this, and/or should I NOT follow the common instructions to let the hive chill for 2 weeks before checking up on them again?
I don't want to lose my first hive or lose my queen, so I'm looking for guidance about frequency of checking the hive after just introducing the colony. I'm also curious about the runaway queen so quickly after introduction (especially since she was supposed to have been clipped). I don't know enough to know if I should just relax and let them chill for two weeks, or if I should be concerned.
Any insights would be greatly appreciated.
FYI - I just heard back from BeeWeaver and they said to close up the hive, try to get the queen back into the queen cage (if possible - if not, just put the empty cage back in) and make it as small and dark as possible for the next few days. Apparently, they're not liking the hive.
Has anyone else experienced this? Gotten a queen back into her cage, re-corked with food and re-hung?
Thank you, Jefferson! I believe the lumber has moisture in it. I bought it assembled, and the wood is/was fresh and not aged.
I closed it up last night but just heard back from Laura Weaver from BeeWeaver again, who said to put grass in the entrance (and not the wood I used) and to make the interior as small as the original package using wood or cardboard inside, keep it as dark as possible and wait for two days. I will probably go back in tonight and replace the entrance with grass and try to get something in there to make the interior space smaller.
It's only my fifth time in a hive and it's a little unnerving but not impossible. Thanks so much for the feedback.