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Discussion Starter #1
OK, some questions about a hive I'm concerned about. Listening to it over the past few weeks with the stethoscope, it went from a nice low humming buzz to only an occasional high pitched buzz, sounding like one or maybe two bees in there. I put on some syrup/HBH, even though it was probably too cold for anyone to feed at the time. I found one dead bee floating in the top feeder, but it doesn't look like anyone's feeding regularly.

Finally, today it was warm and sunny enough to open things up. I didn't pull any frames, just pulled apart the chamber and checked things out. Much to my dismay, didn't see even one bee moving, although i heard someone buzzing a little bit. So I came back into the house, searched the internet and frantically called package suppliers - you know the drill. It's Sunday, so of course no one's taking calls, but I at least wanted try to do something.

So, I head back out to the hive about an hour later. The sun's out, it's probably 10 degrees warmer and now there's three or four flying around the entrance (familiarization flights?), and about a half a dozen more on the bottom board crawling around and looking like they're cleaning themselves off. Also, two floaters up in the top feeder.

Questions... 1) Do the flying bees indicate that the queen is laying eggs? 2) Is there a way to prevent them from drowning in the top feeder? 3) Is the change in pitch within the hive normal for this time of year?

Thanks in advance!
cdykstra
 

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I think you need to go pull some frames and take a look, that is what I would do anyway. I am not sure about that far north but here my queens have been laying since early Jan. What are your temps there today?
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Temp is 58 degrees F, wind 10mph wind out of the north which feels a little chilly at times. My hives are well protected from the north and west wind, though.

We just got done with about a week of heavy cloud cover and lots of rain, with temps rising rapidly into the 40's, and now today 50's. Two weeks ago I was cross country skiing and running my sled dogs on a daily basis. Now there is no snow cover at all.

I looked at them again. They are coming in from long flights, and quite a few are up in the top feeder. I'm feeling a lot better about this hive at this point. Tomorrow is supposed to be in the low 60's, so I think I'll pull some frames then see if she's laying.

cdykstra
 

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Use small pieces of wood like sticks, bark or scrap wood to prevent drownings.

The flying bees could be robbers. You could also have a very small cluster. I'm assuming your bees are in two deeps. Did you look between the two boxes? However with a nice size cluster and a descent day bees should climb up to the top when they see the light from you opening the hive. Worst case scenario is the bees are dead and the bees you see are robbers, the other scenario is you have a very small cluster of bees.
 

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You may not see any eggs for a while. When I looked at some of my hives 3 weeks ago I had no eggs. These were small nuks going into winter here in N Centeral Texas. Small clusters. Maybe grapefruit size. Looked today and brood and caped brood. Other hives been producing brood for a month now. Hang in there.
 
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