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This is my first Winter with bees. I have two hives. Here is a bit of info on my situation.

One went into late Fall very strong and one very weak.
Strong hive had a full deep of capped honey (and a partial deep of capped honey, the other part being brood). Weak hive had about 5 frames of capped honey in the upper deep and a few frames in the lower deep.
Strong hive faces east. Weak hive faces south.
I have a top feeder on my weak hive (both experienced local beekeepers that I pepper with questions said they have never put sugar on their weak hives, but instead just put syrup on them through the Winter, so this is what I have done, as opposed to the other method that I see posted here.)
I am not feeding my strong hive (did put some pollen sub on them yesterday, however.)
There appears to be several feral hives in the area.
I have had about 4 weeks of weather that tops out only in the upper 30's.

Yesterday, it popped up into the 50's and the bees got out. Oddly, my weakest hive was the most active. Bees were everywhere. I even took pictures of some coming in with pollen on their hind legs (some gray stuff.) It 'could' have been off of my camelias, but I really doubt it (never saw a bee on these flowers.)

Regardless, I initially figured the bees were doing their training flight/orientation. But, the sheer amount of activity has me worried.

Do bees rob in the winter? There was no fighting going on, but maybe the thieves had already killed all of the guards?
 

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If it's warm enough for pollen gathering, its warm enough to rob. Robbers don't bring pollen into a hive they are robbing. Usually you can discern robbing by bees trying every nook and cranny on a hive trying to get in. Probably just "cabin fever".
 

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if the weather has bee cold for a spell then my vote is with 'cabin fever' also.

robbing generally equates to bees wrestling around on the ground just below the entrance(s) and interior to the hive dead bees on the bottom board in large numbers.

I
 

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Well, it wasn't exactly robbing, but I lifted a nuc box today, and was greeted by a couple thousand bees fleeing the scene. What look like by all indications a normal active entrance, turned out to be a whole bunch of bees helping themselves to the stores of a dead colony.

I wonder how many beekeepers would look at such an entrance and then come to the conclusion that the hive is alive. :roll:
 

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Were they bringing in pollen?

I wonder how many beekeepers would look at such an entrance and then come to the conclusion that the hive is alive. :roll:

Quite possibly me on a walkby.
 
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