last week We had a warm 55deg day and sunny. 2 of my 3 hives were out flying, so i decided to check on the third.
decent cluster in the middle of the second box, right under a full med super of capped honey. I did not tear into it. I will when its warmer still and take pics. THis hive was inspected by the local state IL inspector as part of my yearly inspection per IL rules late in the year and found the queen, and had low mite load. It was non-treated for mites like the other 2 hives i have. It was also the new 3lb package i bought in the spring. It did well in the spring, putting up at least 2 supers of honey. (i took one) with the successful late inspection i did not expect it to die like it did.
I opened up the second hive next to it to check it out, after i opened it up i remembered i had moved some foundationless frames (starter strips) into it in between honey frames hopeing hey would draw them out toward the middle of summer (after july 4th when i took honey). They hadnt done anything with those frames so i went through that box, removed any empty frames and back filled with full capped frames from the other hive. that have now has one less super on it (less dead space) and a full super of capped honey right above the brood box were the cluster was, i expect it to make it thru to spring fine.
the third hive was strong and didnt want me messing with it, so i left it be. Ill do a more through check on it in feb and move the last 4 frames of capped honey to if if i need to.