On Friday Anita from Beverly Bees came back to check our hive. The queen had just stepped out of her cage, so Anita carefully got all the bees around the cage to walk off of her hands and onto the comb they had built. It turns out that our Italian bees are very gentle, and they didn't seem at all bothered by us pulling the roof off of their house and poking around.
We also filled their feeder with some 1:1 simple syrup that I made that morning:
The feeder is just an upside-down mason jar with holes poked in the lid so the syrup drips very slowly. It's balanced on a couple of blocks just high enough to let the bees crawl under and sip the droplets. This food is to give them something to eat while they build their first combs and start foraging for pollen and nectar of their own.
Today Kirk and I went out to the hive on our own to check the feeder. We suited up and gave a couple puffs of smoke, then moved the bars to see this:
That's another comb underneath all those bees, and it looks like it's pretty well finished since it takes up the whole space (that's just a guess--we didn't move them to look). I think they've made two or three combs since we last looked on Friday. Anita will be back on Thursday to make sure the queen is laying eggs and that the combs are good and straight. In the meantime, we'll check the feeder jar every few days, which is a pretty easy task since the bees don't seem to care about us at all.
We also turned Fletch's old watering dish into a bee watering dish, since he hasn't drunk from that in years. The rocks give the bees a place to land so they don't drown, and hopefully having a nearby by water source will keep the bees from heading to the neighbor's pool in search of a drink when it gets hot. Our neighbors are cool, but I don't think they'd be happy about dealing with bees (and I'm pretty sure frequent guest Jonas would be complaining the loudest).