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Discussion Starter #1
Unfortunately, I lost my first hive sometime in late winter. I found a lot of bees dead head-first in the cells. They consumed all of the honey in the bottom box, most of the honey in the second box, and never touched a very little honey bit of honey in the top/third deep. The queen last year laid brood in all three boxes - lots of bees - but I knew there were problems late in the Fall when I suspect the queen was laying almost all Drones.

Anyway, I came home from work today and noticed some bees flying through the yard. I checked out the hive and I've got a lot of activity going on. The bees are darker and smaller than the Italians I had last year. Are these bees just robbing the hive of the 20-30 pounds of honey left from last year? or they checking the hive out to swarm into? or what? When I say "honey" I really mean mostly hived sugar syrup.

By the way, I took off the top deep yesterday before seeing any bees at all and set it up to install a package when I will get them next month. It has bees visiting it too!

I don't want to mess with them since they just came to visit me . . . what shoud I do?
 

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yes to ALL your ?'s what should you do? set up your package AND leave an empty box out for a swarm trap. good luck,mikr
 

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This time of year you either have some survivors
you overlooked.......... or ferals are foraging in your
boxes.

What are your temps??

And my advise would be to switch from Italians
to Russians, NWC, or Hygenics, easier on stores.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replies! Temps are highs in the 40's - 50's, nightime around freezing. It's suppose to get in the 60's this weekend.
 

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About the same thing in NW Ohio (Hancock, co). Lost 3 of 6 hives; one was a late swarm, this misserable winter did them in for sure, another a KTBH that was strong just ran out of stores were they last clustered, but very little left anyway (maybe 4-5 lbs at the tops of gleaned combs). By the way this hive is for sale! 4 foot long, 19" bars x 1 3/8 wide x 3/4", sides, ends, base of 7 ply interior/exteior plywood & treated. The bees loved the thing, but I am going to a long Lang. The last hive is still a question!! Plenty of stores left, strong swarm hive (same as an the adjacent hive that made it), Each of the hives bottom entrances were snow covered when I got to them. the one that made it just had snow that I brushed away, the other had the snow but also an ice dam, so I think they smothered or the hive just got too damp. No signs of desease, mites, or other nasties. There were a number of queen cells however. Maybe she died mid-winter and that was the end?
At least I have something to start with, unlike other years!
One VEEERY flustrating but interisting hobby!!!
Since I have not purchased packages or queens for a number of years now, the ones that have made it this year have got to be MUTTS!!!! Thank you Mr. Bush and this year answered any questions I had about "top entrances"
 
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