It was MUCH nicer today, getting up into the lower 70’s. The bees were really active so I went and looked at them. They are getting into the upper (now lower) hive body, so instead of taking it off completely, I decided to switch them. My reasoning for this is, all the brood and resources and everything will now be at the top of the structure, where it will be warmest and take the least amount of energy to heat. Since the entrance to the hive is on the bottom, the bees will have to travel up through all that empty space to get to the main part of the hive. This should (at least I think it will) encourage the bees to build comb on these unused frames.
Since I couldn’t just switch the hive bodies without looking through the hive, I did a quick look through. There were two capped queen cells, both of which I uncapped (which kills the larvae). There was little to no honey from what I could tell. Because of this, I put out the pint of sugar water I made for them last night. While I was working the hive there were more bee’s flying then there ever have been before. There was a cloud of them flying in front of the hive, and the entrance was coated in a thick layer of bees. I’m taking this as a good sign. Of course, the lack of food is really going to worry me during the winter, but I’m hoping I can feed them enough that they will be able to make it.
There was an entire frame that has been continuously used for brood rearing that was completely empty, so I moved that into the center of the hive. After a day of cleaning the queen should fill the entire thing. This will ensure that at least 1/5th of the population will be young healthy bees for winter. Which means that there will be a better start to spring.
The way I have been feeding the bees is just sticking a cork in the middle of the sugar water, but because it’s round the bees have trouble getting up on top of it and drown in the process. So, in an attempt to save lives, I’ve draped a cloth through the sugar water over the edges of the measuring up. Hopefully this will result in fewer deaths. Fingers crossed!