Those of you who survived my first two bee stories will enjoy this. Either that or you will cringe at how so much stupidity could fit into one body. I bought yet another package of bees with a queen and with the assistance of my friend Doug, we managed to get them to the house. Now, as a matter of record, Doug showed the depth of his friendship here because frankly, he doesn't like bees. Despite this, he put 3 lbs of them in the backseat of his car and stuck around while we unpacked them. To his credit he was doing really well until the time came to shake the bees into the hive. Oddly, his interest waned and he wished me well as he headed out. I continued to fiddle with them, hoping to get them all set up before the rain came , and that's where I made my mistake.
See, I had a makeshift feeder, and after dumping the bees in the hive, I was going to give them a few minutes to calm down before I put the top on the hive. with this in mind, I walked away and was taking care of another errand when the rain hit hard and fast. It dumped probably half an inch of rain in about an hour and then stopped. I walked out to the hive, put the feeder in place, put the top on and went about my day.
The rain came again and I wasn't able to make it out to the hive for almost a day. When I did., the first thing I noticed was very little bee activity. The second thing I noticed was all the dead bees. I opened the hive and it appeared that I had lost roughly 2/3 of my hive. I also noticed that the feeder was untouched. None of this made any sense, and I called the apiary, but they were closed for the weekend. I went back out to the hive, and looked and looked, and thought. I pulled the feeder out and then it hit me; they had died of starvation.
You see, when the rain hit the feeder was outside the hive and although it had syrup in it, it picked up about a half-inch of water. The syrup was heavier than the water, and sank to the bottom. I had bees that had food, but couldn't get to it, hence starvation. I drained the water out and drizzled the syrup over the old honeycomb, and the bees went to work eating. It's been 4 or 5 days now and they are abuzz ( ha!) with activity. As far as I can tell, all is well.