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Still a lot of snow on the ground, but with daytime temps near 40 and sunny, with the weekend to be above freezing day AND night, it feels like the end is drawing near.
I went out yesterday with the temp near 40 degrees, lifted the lid, saw a nice mass of LIVE bees around the oblong hole of the inner cover. I poured about a cup of sugar on the inner cover. Several bees were out making cleansing flights. I see no brown staining around on the snow or on the front of the hive, so nosema does not seem a problem right now at least. Fingers crossed. If this group of bees makes it through this winter with noob beekeeps working them, this is a group I want to see continue.
I did remove the fencing from around the hive. I don't know if that was wise since I smelled a skunk just yesterday evening but I will monitor it closely.