I live directly on the 45 parallel just outside of Traverse City in NW Lower Michigan. We have what I consider a harsh winter with October and April snows (over 170" of snow this season) and single digit temps at night for weeks on end.
My TBH appears to have overwintered as the bees are flying on sunny 40 degree F days and collecting crocus pollen. I don't want the reducer to interfere with their efforts nor do I want the follower to make them feel crowded. However we are still 45 days away from last freeze and the nights are still in the 20's, how should I procede?
Two other related questions: when should I begin feeding? Also what are considered normal winter losses? I picked up 2 handfuls of dead bees from below the entrance and there are more on the hive floor. However when they are flying they appear to have the same numbers as last summer. They were installed from a package last May 31st.
Thanks for your help.