Three weeks ago I installed a new package, a couple of feet away from an existing overwintered hive. It was still too cold to give the older hive a thorough inspection, but it seemed healthy. When we had a few sunny days I saw lots of activity around the overwintered hive. But as time passed-- with the weather still chilly-- less and less activity. I was feeding, and noticed a sharp drop in the syrup consumed by the overwintered hive.
Finally this week it was warm enough. I pulled the old hive apart, and it was empty! No queen, no brood, no bees. A bunch of dead bees at the bottom of the hive, but not more than I'd expect after a cold winter. No signs of mites or disease. 2+ frames of honey left.
Then I opened the new hive, from a package less than a month old, and found it booming-- way more populated than I would have expected. I had added a 2nd deep last week, and it's already half full.
So did the bees from the overwintered hive join up with the new hive-- maybe after their queen died? I'm curious what happened here.