as you can see, the feeder is a canning jar with holes punched in the lid. The bees keep a guard on that jar 24/7. when they succumb to the cold at night, another one comes out and keeps watch. If the night is mild, maybe only three or four bees die, if it’s a cold night, 10 might die. But in any case, there is a guard on this jar, and when I remove it, the guard bee flies up at me and obviously sends out a signal warning the others that their food is in peril. It just happens that I get the replacement jar in place before the bees come out. Since the feeder is there, all is well and I don’t get swarmed. Although the guard bee will often follow me and my empty jar.
Discovered this only this week. During the cold snap a month ago, they were going through one 24oz jar in about 36 hours . . although I was replacing it every other morning. Now, they are taking 3 or 4 days to go through the jar, and I’ve had a chance to check out the hive and see the guard bee marching around the jar.
The other thing I’ve noticed is when it looks like the bees are fighting as they tussle with each other at the entrance – they are actually cleaning each other. This particular feeder set up gets syrup all over themselves, so they clean it off. Which is why spraying sugar water on them when you go to work the hive works to keep them from bothering you.
but they obviously do the cleaning thing when its pollen not syrup. they are amazing for making use of their food sources completely.
Did look in through the window today and think they may have some uncapped honey cells in there now. and they’ve built some new comb. will have to try to get a photo one day soon to update my journal.