It seems that every morning since the evening I installed the bees, I've opened their hive every day for one reason or another. Sunday morning while it was still cold I opened them up to pour some more sugar syrup into their feeder with a turkey baster. It was a half-assed contraption of a clean leftovers container with a bunch of sticks sticking out off it. I don't know if they were too cold and lost their footing or they were dying anyway, but I was really dismayed to see a bunch of dead bees in the syrup.
Obviously I had to do something. I grabbed another short end of the same fence board that I used for the roof of the hive and attached three small equal sized pieces of wood in a triangular pattern on it, the apexes of which I left open for a bee to crawl through. This morning I removed the death trap from the hive and placed the new feeder in its place, and then upturned the same feeder can of sugar syrup that came in the bee package on the new feeder. Fortunately I'd had the foresight to mark the side of the can where the holes in the lid were, so I'd know how to line up the can.
I hope this time it works and they'll be alright because I'm determined not to disturb them again until this Saturday when I can check for brood.
Any of you beekeepers out there: how do you feel about smoking the hive? I didn't buy one, thinking that I should stick with a sugar syrup spray, but it doesn't seem to occupy them quite as I'd hoped it would.
And how do I keep from crushing the queen?