To start - my hives are in the Central Valley and during the last 2 Decembers I have observed the errant poppy and star thistle blooming... so I think many of the observations which have been trending over years are worth noting
1 - Drones in November flying and returning to the hives
2 - Swarms in September and October natural and a couple of my hives
3- Mites being very difficult to control, I treated for mites in August, September, October, and November, rotating through various treatments (other commercial guys I know had a similar experience this year)
4 - Late development of winter bees (the larger fat bees), in the past they would start to be present in late September, this past year I did not really start to seem them until November
5 - Because of the ongoing mite assault I had an on going virus issue
6 - Experienced increased queen failure from August to September
Ranger, thanks for sharing. I live just a few miles north of the Florida Panhandle. I too, am noticing some changes that I attribute to a warming climate.
Unexplained queen failures in late fall. This phenomenon has plagued me for the last two years.
Can't say that I have noticed Drones coming and going to the hive, but certainly have noticed a higher population of drones wintering with my bees.
Got called to a swarm on Halloween. Thought surely it was something else. Legit swarm. Basketball-size with queen.
But what I am really noticing is the early leaf-out and bloom. I have a red maple visible from my window at work. It began spring growth before Christmas this year.
Also, I have not had a decent goldenrod nectar flow in the fall in 5 years. Plenty of goldenrod present, but no flow at all. I had been attributing that to dryer conditions locally. But that is no longer adding up. They used to pack a super with goldenrod honey. There used to be a thin coating of orangish-yellow dust all over the frames. Not any more.
The early arrivals of spring, such as henbit and wild turnip, are now arriving in December. Things are changing. Beekeepers will have to adjust.
The last two winters have shaken my conviction that I was expert at wintering bees or maybe reigned in my arrogance. Winter has indeed been challenging in severity during that period here. But additionally amitraz is no longer a slam dunk mite control and that is huge. Speaking of huge, my belly more and more gets in the way of beekeeping operations one needs to perform to insure mite levels are controlled and bees have adequate nutrition. As agricultural practices change, the nutrition my bees need in my degrading location is not a given.
Times indeed change and beekeepers have apparently been facing that for nearly ten thousand years! Just our turn.