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I finally got a chance to check the hives to see how they wintered over here in upstate NY. I was wondering if it was my imagination but It appears a large number of bees from a hive that I suspected was queenless drifted to a neighboring hive. The queenwright hive was populated with Italians that I captured from a swarm trap. The queenless hive was a great honeyproducing mixed northern bee, larger and darker. The queenless hive was a deadout with plenty of honey in the upper box and nice and clean. The bottom box was empty except for dead bees on the bottom board. The neighboring queenwright hive is jam packed with a mix of Italian and northern mixed bees. Looks to me like my northern bees decided to switch. Is that possible?
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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With bees, just about anything is possible. You will know if after another month or so the "northern bees" disappear. The winter bees will all be dying off soon and only the bees produced by the queen recently will remain. If you still see these larger darker bees it means the queen mated with a drone that had those characteristics and you never noticed them before.
 
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