The cold weather is coming and today was warm so I checked the bees this afternoon. I have seen bees coming and going in all three hives so I was totally unprepared for anything less than bees in all three hives.
Hive #4 - two supers on top full of honey and some honey in the top deep. Nothing in the bottom deep but there were no bees in the hive and I mean none. In this hive, there were some dead bees on the bottom screen, maybe 20 or less, but not a cluster anywhere so they didn't starve.
Hive #3 - another empty hive with two supers full of honey but not a cluster which is the norm for bees starving and not going up in the hive body to get food. And there were none on the bottom board - empty!
Hive #1 - thank goodness there were bees in this hive. The two supers were full of honey and the bees were in the brood box with maybe three or four frames of honey. So I put the brood box in the middle with a full super on bottom and on top. They looked fine but what do I know!
I called Mr. Ellis and he had the same thing happen to his bees. He has one hive now. I hope these bees will survive through the winter. I will check them in another week or so depending on the weather. Maybe I caught this hive early enough before they disappeared.
Beekeeping is difficult and I feel I've done a poor job for the past couple of years. But I'm a beekeeper and want to continue so I'll get some more bees in the spring and hope for the best.