LOL. Sundog, surely haven’t been in Florida THAT long have you. :-D You’re starting to sound like my relatives that moved from MI to Florida! Winter always seems to go by quicker and warmer when viewed from Florida. :) It’s Feb 25th up here, we won’t have any swarms until mid to late April. :(
PG, most of my bees poop within about 10 feet of the hive. The snow is yellow brown from the doodoo. Some bees will fly off to never never land and die. The winter bees don’t live forever.
Not sure what to say about the ‘tons of bees outside the tree but barely alive’. I don’t normally see that unless it is a little too warm inside the hive. However that is probably not the case inside your tree. This time of year, the living bees will toss out the dead bees that have accumulated over winter, but they shouldn’t be tossing out living bees. Maybe most of the bees you see are dead bees being walked on by undertaker bees? I don’t know.