So something weird is going on in one of my hives. A few weeks ago I did the knock on the side test to listen for that familiar buzz, to check to make sure they were alive. The hive in question didn't buzz, so I looked up underneath through the screened bottom board and I saw bees walking around. Then I saw a couple bees at a time coming and going, nothing big and nothing compared to the hive right beside it which was a busy highway. The temps were in upper 40s and sunny but I assumed they were sluggish due to colder weather. Today weather got up in mid 60s so I decided to do a quick inspection and feeding if necessary on my hives. Other hives were doing great, still 20-30lbs of stored honey/syrup and good pollen stores. That's when things got weird. I opened the top and there were bees, but probably only 10,000 or so, but not a ton of dead bees inside the hive or outside the front...odd. This was a much stronger hive in early November. I checked weights on the top box for food stores and wow, it was packed, probably 25lbs easy. We run 1 deep + 1 medium here in winter, or 3 mediums. I took off the medium and begin looking down in the deep to find brood and that's where my heart sunk...couldn't find a trace of an egg, larva, or capped brood. In fact, the bees have extended their food storage to cover 75% of the deeps frames too, they probably have at least 40lbs total. I looked everywhere for the queen, but she's not marked and I had no luck. I guess she died sometime in November/December? Another observation, these bees were extremely calm, like not aggressive at all calm. I guess they're all just sitting around drunk on honey...
With all that food those bees can probably live out the next few months, but is there any sense in trying to reintroduce a queen come march if they make it? I'm guessing requeening is unheard of in January. Or should I just let 'em die? Or is it possible there is a queen but she isn't laying for some reason because of winter? Very strange, it's not like they starved and she was laying back in November, in fact I saw her on that inspection. What should I do?
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