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I have an empty hive that seemed to die out over the Winter right next to another hive that made it through to Spring and is growing well. In the hive that died out, there was some honey in the upper super which I left because I hoped to split the survivor hive (not sure if the queen died over the winter, but there were only dead bees in the bottom of the hive...possibly the survivors drifted over to the neighboring hive during the breaks in temps this Spring?).... Today it was really hot (mid 90's) so I could not bring myself to donn on a hot bee suit, but I noted there was a lot of activity with bees flying in and around the empty hive (but I wasn't going to open it up to see exactly what might be happening without being suited up.) At first I thought that they were robbing it as there appeared to be wax cappings strewn outside the bottom entrance, but then I noticed that there was alot of wax and propolis "deposited" under the top openings on both the front and rear of the inner cover.(Bees were flying into the hive via the top openings and also noted to be flying out from the bottom entrance.) Has anyone ever noticed this secretion activity before and possibly tell me what this might mean? Could the bees that I saw be scouts and marking the hive as a possible location to swarm to? Would they deposit wax and propolis if they were solely robbing it? Were they moving into the hive and I just did not realize it? Unfortunately the extended weather forecast is for rain most of this upcoming week, so I most likely will not be able to check them again until next weekend and I guess by then I will know if they decided to take up residence, or will find that it was just robbing behavior that I was observing. But in the meantime, I was hoping that someone might be able to explain why they would have secreted what appears to be wax and propolis underneath the openings of the inner cover. I am pretty sure they are not the bees in the neighboring hive. The overwintered bees are mostly smaller and darker bees, while the bees “invading” the “empty hive” were a little bit larger, with brown thorax and black tip abdomens. Could I possibly be lucky enough to have a swarm take up residence? :s
 

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What you see is the "stickies" coming off the feet of the robber bees as they leave the hive after crawling over each other in the honey in the frenzy of robbing.
 
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