Checked in on the hive today. They seem to be doing well and the hive is very heavy. I was raising the back end so rain would run off, but could barely lift it. Rain was rolling off but dripping onto the landing board. So, I placed a small piece of plywood on top and put two 5lb weights on it to hold it down so it wouldn’t blow off and made a kind of overhanging porch roof.
The bees were trying to fly and forage even though it was too cold. Some were having trouble because their wing muscles do not work well when it is below about 50 degrees. I filled the entrance feeder with a 2:1 ratio of sugar syrup and placed it on the hive yesterday. There wasn’t much activity due to the rain, but as soon as the sun came out this evening, the bees made some short foraging journeys and cleansing flights.
A few hornets have been buzzing around but seem a little tentative about entering the hive to rob honey so the hive must be strong and defending itself well. I have also seen a few dead pupa outside the hive that the workers have removed. They may have just died of natural causes. I checked the pupa for any varroa destructor mites or signs pointing to why they did not hatch, but nothing unusual was detected. I will continue to monitor this.
All in all, I think the bees are strong and should make it through the winter unscathed. Their numbers naturally decrease in the winter when the queen stops laying and the drones are expelled from the hive. Honey stores are good and there are a lot of bees which should mean a strong hive.