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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This was decently strong hive. It was set up with a nuc box on top of some warré boxes. The top box was completely full of honey going into winter. I watched the hive often in the fall and didn't see any signs of robbing.

I've peaked in the top a while back to see if they still had stores. It looks like they've eaten/moved all the honey around the top and edges of the top box, but there still seems to be honey further down on the middle frames. I can't see any sign of the cluster from the top. Today I saw the same thing. They are going on cleansing flights and I can hear a solid buzz coming from the hive so they are certainly still alive.
 

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ditto, all my hives except 2 are up top spilling onto the inner cover. The ones that arn't im a little worried about 1 may or may not make it, the cluster dwindled and hasn't seem to recovered, the other is content to be in the 2nd deep but doesn't cluster in the honey super for some reason.

I ran no top vent this winter closed off with 1" rigid insulation. People preach ventilation ventilation, must have top vent, well so far so great, grant it I have sscreened bottoms with inspection board so ventilation is down below. Not so much heat loss either via natural convection, condensation seems fine, no worse than with an upper vent. Ill take pics in spring of any mold etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
This hive has only a few small bottom entrances. There doesn't appear to be any moisture issues. I'd guess there's a reasonable population in there(I haven't seen that many dead and they had a good number before winter), just can't see them from the top even though they've eaten the very top-most honey(the honey I figured they would eat last). The walls of the bottom boxes are thicker, but today was sunny, I would have figured the top box would have been warmest.

From when I wrapped


Look at the entrance from back in December:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
In my experinece bees almost always spend the winter at the top. Just make sure the hive has some weight (food).
Don't know what the story is with my hives, i peeked at 3 live hives the last few days and none of them had a cluster visible from the top. Just the one seems to have eaten the upper ring of the top box. I gave them emergency food just in case (looks like it could easily be another month before we get any blooms up here.)
 

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In my experience only a few colonies stay low. Every year I have a few easy keepers way down out of sight until late, but most are at the top of the stack most of the winter. I never requeen those low livers. They have a survival advantage.
 

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Sometimes I've seen them stay low, and they'll go into top and pull out honey stores and move it down into the brood nest, on warmer days.
 
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