OK, I have one hive w/ 2 deep supers and a shallow super sandwiched between them (started this past spring w/ 2, but ended up combining them). The hive is wrapped in tar paper. Going into fall, we fed fumagil medicated syrup, but the bees were disinterested in it and took very little.
We've had unusually cold temps this winter. It's been well below freezing for the last 3 weeks or so. Noticed that the outside of the hive is getting pretty spotted w/ bee droppings. There are only a few dozen bees dead outside.
The upper entrance is really stained.
One source that I read said that if the hive was lightly discolored (and what the heck is lightly discolored anyway? mine looks pretty spotted up to me), not to worry. Another indicated that seeing this in January meant the hive was doomed.
So, which is it? I have not looked inside...temps are supposed to moderate by the end of the weekend/early next week...