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Good Morning all,

I am relatively new to the Beekeeping hobby and was wondering when my bees should start come out of their winter rest state. I have noticed that their is a significant amount of dead bees on the ground in front of the hive and the hive itself is dead silent. I live in Ontario, Canada and we've had a long, harsh winter and I am concerned that they may have died in the off season. I don't want to crack the hive open incase they are still in there huddled up, waiting for the weather to stay in the double digits. Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated

Jeff
 

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Put your ear to the hive and give it a knock with your knuckles. If you don't hear any buzzing, they're history.
 

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You should be worried if the temps are in the high 40s and 50s (looks like it's going to be 52F for you today and 59F for you tomorrow) and knocking on the box doesn't rouse any guards. If the forecast I looked up is correct, you should be able to pop up the cover around 3 or 4pm today (assuming it's not raining and windy) and see if you detect movement. Don't take long, but a quick look should be able to tell you the status of the cluster and colony.
 

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unhappily you should start looking for a last minute nuc or package if you are not seeing any signs of life by now. I live just across the border from Kingston ont. it does not look to good for any wild swarms this year. we have had 2 goldenrod dearths in a row and are on the tail end of the coldest longest winter in decades. it is not looking too good for the feral bee population.
 

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Not sure if this helps but do you have a reducer on the front of your hive?

I am also in Ontario, Prince Edward County and checking my hives last weekend I noticed one had a lots of activity but the other not so much then I realized.
The opening in the reducer I had put on to keep mice out over the winter was almost plugged with dead bees, I cleared them away and within minutes there were fliers. They just couldn't get through.

JJ
 
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