My first hive came through winter strong as could be. It warmed up pretty quickly and they went straight to foraging. It wasn't long before they swarmed. We were able to catch the swarm and hive them.
The first colony still seemed to be doing great. It's possible they swarmed again after that, we did not bear witness to it. Then we got some heavy frosts.
This was followed with lots of dead bees on the ground in front of the hive. For a while I saw next to no activity outside of the hive so decided to peek inside (this was almost 2 weeks ago) and found LOTS of honey, a handful of workers (maybe a pound or two) and the queen. I took two bars of honey (but probably should have taken more) to reduce their space.
Went back in today and I really don't think the queen is laying. I didn't spot her today, but I didn't look that hard. The bees kind of seem to be increasing. but not by much. and the majority of the honey bars were riddled with SHB larvae.
I went ahead and removed 4 bars (they're in the freezer now) and I plan to switch them out for others in a few days. Am I doing the right thing? Should I just keep these out of the hive at this point to continue to try to reduce the size? (there's about 12 bars in there right now) Should I shake in some workers from another colony? Add a bar of brood from another colony in case the queen is failing? Leave them alone. Somehow the colony is still hanging on, but I feel like they're in trouble and I want to help them build back up.