I've been looking through the window about once a week - my bees have appeared to be doing fine all summer (I started this, my first hive, in late Spring)...however this week when I looked I could see NO activity and only a bee here and there in the hive. The nights have gotten much cooler and I thought maybe they were just hundled together more and I know in the fall their numbers are reduced so I was hoping all I was seeing was normal. There is plenty of honey (in my view - I see maybe 3 full combs of honey or more).
Now, it appears my queen (or some other marked queen) is on the outside of my hive with a very small number of been surrounding her. When I get close to the hive the bees seem normal - protecting their hive (warning me a bit) but I'm confused at what I'm seeing.
Is my hive in trouble? Is this my queen and for some reason she has decided to move out? If this is my queen perhaps she knows the hive is not strong enough to survive so she's trying to save what she can.
Any tips, suggestions, comments welcome - I'm not sure there is anything I can do know except watch.
I will say that about one week ago I opened the hive up just to move the false back closer up and I also inserted a feeder (small plastic lid with some sticks in case I did need to feed later on). At that time my hive seemed well and busy and protective.