Newbee here; first winter, central Arkansas. Entered winter with good stores, I was told. One deep and two supers full, 8 frame. SBB top and bottom. Italians. Huge number going into winter.
It should be about 66 today; cloudy, looks gusty. I've been doing lots of reading and lots say to check the hive on a nice warm day, so this was my intended day, should the forecast prove accurate.
Hubby wandered out and did a visual; saw about 30 dead bees clustered on the WET landing board. I have 2 hives. Same on both. I pulled out the entrance reducer on one. The other is stuck. Cleared away dead bees after examining. Read that tongues sticking out meant they were starving. Lots had their tongues out.
Came here to do some reading and I'm seeing as many "leave alone" as "check." So I'm just beside myself. I had tried the "lift" method - couldnt budge them. I lifted the lid on one just to see if I could tell if they had moved up but it was very quiet. Tapped on both hives - good strong hum, I felt.
Do you think the bees were just doing a cleansing flight and it was just their time to go? Why are their tongues out? Should I leave off the ER (have all mice found their winter homes already?)
Should I put sugar in "just in case"? Or do I just assume my winter stores were enough? And if lots of bees are out flying, does this mean the cluster has broken, so I can pull frames?
Sorry to have so many questions - I've got lots more! I really am trying to contain myself!
Thanks so much!
Addendum - just went out to check again; lots more dead bees, but they ARE being dragged out. It's misting; they are still coming and going.