I have only three hives left. The last hive from last year died a couple of weeks ago. The hive boxes are out there empty and abandoned. I plan to split a hive or two if they are strong enough so I just leave them.
I noticed lots of bees in one of the abandoned hives. The colony died last fall. I guessed at the time that there must be some honey left in it and the other colonies were robbing it.
I went back over the weekend and this hive is full of bees. I popped the top and there were solid bees inside. They are cleaning out the hive and bringing back pollen. I might have captured an early hive, or there was a queen supersedure in the next hive. This happens when the bees make a new queen. I think that a hive might have made several queens and one went next door and took up housekeeping. This seems very unlikely, but is possible. Somehow I got a free hive without having to work for it.
I now have swarm traps up in the trees in the front of the house. My brother made one 4 frame nuke for me and I had a 5 frame nuke. I filled these with nice old honeycomb and poured a little lemon oil on them. This is supposed to attract a swarm. With luck I can have a couple of more hives by the end of June and perhaps I’ll be able to get honey from them in the fall.