I checked one of my top bars today. 62 degrees in East Tennessee! Maybe that rodent from Pennsylvania is right. Anyway, in the first picture there is a drone! He must have made it through the fall purge, or the girls are about three weeks early this year. Picture two shows some red and light yellow pollen, and the third picture is one of my bars upside down on the hive. This has been a great colony, I requeened it late summer with one of my local mutts I raised. Hope you enjoy the pictures, it won’t be long now! Hope everyone else is coming through winter.
I also check for evidence the mites reproduced in the hive - sometimes the mites were imported when the house bees went robbing. If the mites reproduced in the hive, they leave behind mite frass (or poop), which is white and tiny drops on the roof of the brood cell https://beeinformed.org/2018/07/24/2...180402_143955/ .
This is how I grew as a beekeeper - by learning to check for the 2 different signs that mites killed a hive. Mites in dead bees (like 30+ in 300) and mite frass means... most of those mites were home grown. Mites in dead bees and NO mite frass (find the last capped brood, look around there - it will be most concentrated there if it is present) means the bees went robbing.
How to counter that in the future is a different story...