I was regretting not using pollen patties to supplement the syrup I was feeding them. In fact, I bought some pollen patties but it was so cold that I didn't want to open the hives to get it to them. Pollen patties are a mixture of real pollen and pollen substitute which provides the bees with some protein, vitamins and minerals. Normally of course, they'd get this naturally as a part of their foraging. And they won't eat the patties when the real deal is available.
I did end up cutting up a patty and setting a piece right at the entrance to each hive. I also reduced the hive entrance to keep the wind and cold out.
Things warmed up on Thursday and there was healthy amount of activity at the hive. Normally, I would have done my hive inspection then but because they had such a rough week I figured I'd give them a day to recover.
As I watched the activity at the hive entrance on Thursday and Friday it seemed like many of the bees were doing orientation flights. In orientation flights the bees seem to fly in circles around the front of the hive, orienting themselves to the landmarks which enables them to find their way home from foraging.
Of course, after all the lousy weather they were probably doing a combination of orientation and cleansing flights. In "cleansing flights" bees take short flights to "go to the bathroom." They can hold it for quite awhile which during the winter it is often necessary to do.