Well, no excitement at all. The entrance hole to the hive was on the bottom of the log so I had to lay on my back to look into it. Not one bee. Not even any dead ones. The log is about 10 feet long and I have no way of telling how deep it's hollowed out. There is more than one hole in the log so maybe the bees are farther in than I can see. The guys are going to haul it up with the horses and work on it with chain saws, but I don't know when they'll be able to do it. It looked to me like an animal may have gotton part of the hive. There seems to be lots of honey left, but there's really nothing I can do with a log 10 feet long and 3 feet across so I guess I'll wait and see when they cut it open. It's was still a nice walk in the woods and the Amish girls were trying to teach me how to say "What a Bummer" in Amish Dutch......Maybe next time.....Thank you all for you help....Julie!~
When you mentioned the bees were bearding on the exterior of the tree in frigid temperatures my first thought was that some animal had entered and disrupted the colony, now it makes sense.
Julie, a ten foot section is pretty big, you would want to find the winter cluster if you could and cut that section of the tree out. Sounds like this would be a real challenge being the tree is so far from where you live.
You know when it warms sufficiently, if the bees survive, they will most likely swarm out and relocate. You could keep tabs on things with the owners and at the very least you could put out a swarm trap or two and perhaps catch a swarm from this colony.
Best of luck.