Putting the mini-marshmallow in instead of having to dig the cork out later. I did like I did last time, and waited three days to make sure they'd all settled in before I went into the hive in order to figure out if the Queen had made it out and if there were things I had to do in order to get the missing frame back in.
There were things I had to do, the girls were really busy.
They'd also drank nearly three quarts of simple syrup, and I keep giving them more. It's not a terrible thing to feed them that way; but they will have to be getting more nectar as the time goes on. The weather has been warm enough for them to be getting all kinds of good flowers in the neighborhood and the dandelions are out already.
The girls were super busy and super active, and really happy to have a good solid queen and they were really busy putting things together to make it all work out. And the missing frame meant that they were doing their best to build comb to fill in the gap. That was annoying, but entirely typical. I had to very carefully take all the leaves of wax off the frame they had extended it from.
But the first thing I had to tend to was the queen's cage.
It was obvious that the marshmallow had been completely eaten out, so she was loose in the hive without any intervention on my part. And best of all, there was absolutely no chance that I'd drop her on the lawn while trying to free her from the cage. Or drop her into the hive, or worse yet, outside of the hive by accident. As she can't really fly all that well anymore.
The whole extension was just spectacularly efficient of them. New comb is usually white, and they can take the old, used wax, and extend it if they need to, so what they actually did was take old comb out of other parts of the hive, and use it to build these things. It was crazy to see. And they'd started filling them with nectar/syrup. Luckily, they weren't using the brand new stuff for the queen and her eggs, she prefers the old stuff, which was all to the good.
If I'd been *really* good, I'd have tried to spot the queen first, but I knew that it was going to take me too long, and I don't like having the hive open for too long. So I just took the risk and peeled off the wax bits, tried to shake the girls off as best as I could. I put the old frame back in and then put the missing frame in and had to just hope for the best with respect to not having bothered or damaged the queen.
She's usually smarter than the others, running from exposure and hiding when necessary.
I closed it up by removing the extra deep. It didn't have any frames in it, and I didn't want them expanding before they'd filled in the lower box as best as they were able to. I also dumped the last of the traveling syrup into the feeder, so that they'd have that to eat as they wanted. And I added a chunk of pollen patty, so that they would have more food if they needed it. They like having the extra pollen for brood rearing. It's just one of those things that is useful and the settling of a pollen patty into the hive really helps them take off.
And then I closed it all up.
They settled down really quickly. And the bees were all cheerfully getting on with what they needed to do.
So I think it was a success, and I think that they're doing all right. I think I should also inspect them again in a couple of weeks to be absolutely sure that the Queen is laying and that the larvae are developing and that things are still going well. Maybe I'll spot the queen. I don't know if they actually marked her or not? I didn't get a close enough look at her while she was in the cage to know. I suspect not, as marking the queen can affect their health, so they prefer not to if it's possible.
We'll find out.