Well, it has been quite a while since I have put anything up here, but I have not been doing much either. From the blog I posted back in October, I have pretty much left the bees alone - and it worked! I put a couple more jars of sugar water on in November but really left them alone til yesterday. I did not cover the hives or put in bottom boards or even clear away the snow. I was out of town for most of December and January so the bees fended for themselves.
I had gotten some good vibes a week ago by seeing bees flying from all three hives. Yesterday I went into all three hives to see what was going on. The three hives were virtually identical, this has never been the case before, but I am wondering if it is a result of my "management" or just a coincidence. Each of the hives had a pretty full box of honey still left on the top (this worried me at first). In the second box down (they are all on fours boxes), there was a mix. Generally it was mostly honey, but I also saw what appeared to be new nectar stored (it seems very early for such?). There were some empty spaces on several comb, I assume from winter feeding, but not near as much as I expected. On a couple of frames there was a small amount of brood on the bottoms of these frames. As I went down into the third box from the top (I just pulled a few frames) I could see more brood (somewhat spotty) and some larva (my eyes don't see eggs very well). I saw this as a really good sign, so closed the boxes back up. I took the feeder boxes off of each stack as they had plenty of honey around if the temperature drops again.
One other thing, the bees in boxes 3 and 4 (my hives are numbers 2,3 & 4 for historical reasons) were must feistier than the bees in hive 2. Not sure why, but the bees in those two boxes came out after me as I inspected the hives.
At some point I will want to go all the way to the bottom of these stacks and see if the bottom boxes are empty, and then do a little shuffling to hopefully slow down the swarming instincts, but I will wait a couple of weeks( he crosses his fingers).
So far so good!