What the Bees are Doing:
The worker bees (who are all female) can generally be divided into two groups: house bees and foragers. The house bees are caring for the queen (who continues to lay eggs and build the colony population this time of year) …
… caring for the brood (the babies) …
… building new comb on the added frames …
… and a host of other housekeeping chores. For more information, look at my post “Why Honey Bees Need Bee-Centered Beekeepers,” and read the list of all the things we know that honey bees are working together to manage inside their hive.
The forager bees are becoming oriented to their new location, looking for the most nutrient dense sources of pollen and nectar, and looking for the most efficient sources of water and tree resin (from which they make propolis).
What You Can Be Doing:
For the next couple of weeks, give the bees lots of space. They will be a little discombobulated for awhile, but will eventually fall into the routine of doing their work in their new location.
If you want to observe them from a distance, please be sure to follow the guidelines in the post “How to Live in Harmony with Honey Bees.”
You can provide a source of still, shallow, warm water for them if you do it correctly. (If you don’t, they may drown.) A separate post will be coming about how to safely provide water for honey bees.
Don’t be concerned if you see some dead bees outside the hive. That is completely normal and natural. A separate post will also be coming about that.
What I’m Doing:
Over the next couple of weeks I will be building a second box for any of your hives that do not already have two brood boxes (the actual living space of the bees). If your hive already has two brood boxes, the boxes are separated by the inner cover so that the bees do not currently have access to the second box. That would be too much space for them to try to keep warm while we continue to have such cold nights.
In two to three weeks, I will be visiting each hive and giving the bees access to the second box. (In their current box, they already have two additional frames to build comb on besides the frames that came with their temporary Nuc box.) The addition of the second box will give the colony room to expand as the May blooms begin to come on. The colonies should then be set for the month of May.