Last Fall we were a little skeptical that we would still be beekeeping come spring. While things had looked good in late summer, the Fall saw one hive abscond just two weeks after we saw the queen and were confident it would be a really strong colony going into the winter. The queens in our other two hives stopped laying brood early and one hive just didn't seem to have enough bees to give us any hope it could survive the cold.
But here we are with temps in the 60s and 70s and both our hives are bringing in pollen, a good sign that brood is present. We pulled the remaining sugar patties out today and put two quarts of 1:1 syrup in each hive. I also noticed that they still have honey stores in the upper box so they seem to be in good shape food wise. In a day or two, weather permitting, we'll go down into the brood chamber and see what's up and shift the brood box to the bottom of the hive and checkerboard above which means alternating frames of honey/pollen with empty frames of drawn comb which discourages swarming and increases brood laying and hive buildup. I hope to do it tomorrow since everything I'm reading says do it as early as possible in the season several weeks before the red buds bloom.
So tomorrow we will be doing a serious exam and also be looking for signs of early swarming.
Let the fun begin.