Yesterday, I checked a few hives that were a little low on stores. With the temps were close to 55 degrees, I decided to open a hive that I thought was dead and being robbed. To my surprise was still hanging on. This was a russian queen that I had purchased in summer of '07. As I was moving some honey closer to the cluster, I saw the queen still marked from 2007. I had not seen her at all last fall. With their reputation of swarming, I thought she was long gone.
Also got into a colony that was a late swarm from last fall (Sept 15th or so). It never really built up and I thought it to was dead. Not only did it survive, but to my surprise it was really boiling over with bees.
Fed them both, gave them a half of pollen patty, and now all I can do is hope they will make the rest of the winter.
Al