I have posted before but have not replied much as life got busy and weird for awhile. Here is my situation and thanks in advance to all who may reply.
I live in Southeast Virginia zone 8a and we had a mild winter. Two snows that melted the next day, only 10-15 days with lows in the 30's and most days between 40-55 with some being as high as 65-70. I have seen the bees bringing in bright yellow pollen, pale yellow pollen, red pollen, and our rock maple put buds out on Valentine's Day. Today the high is 50 and sunny and the bees are flying. I checked on them and both hives feel light and as I was watching the entrance I saw one bee with shriveled wings.
I have two hives. One is in a deep and two mediums and the other is a nuc in a deep and one medium. I started keeping before reading Michael Bush's book and will be switching to all mediums and setting up the hives as he suggests this season. When I do that I'll start a separate thread for advice My family and I are moving to SW Virginia as soon as our house sells here so the bees will be going with us and I want them strong for the ride.
Question 1. The hives are light but they are bringing in pollen and eating some dry sugar I placed on newspaper on top of the frames. Do I need to make candy to get them through the next couple of weeks. We have dandelions blooming now.
Question 2. How worried should I be about the shriveled wings I saw? I keep the bees foundationless, with the exception of the regular deep which has plastic foundation from the friend who gave me the bees, and they draw straight comb. I don't want to start down the road of chemical intervention. The bees did fine all summer without foundation and the nuc exploded, raised their own queen and she layed a very nice brood pattern, and drew straight comb on the foundationless frames.
Question 3. When should I plan on moving the nuc to a 10 frame medium hive? Right before a flow? Does anyone know the *usual* spring flow for zone 8a?
We are going to be rainy for the next three days.
Thank you very much for your help.