The last couple of times that I looked in my hive, I noticed a smell coming from it. At first I thought sure it was fermented honey. But, it had kind of a lemony-sweet smell about it. And, we don't have citrus plants here in West TN.
I did a search for fermented honey and found Michael's comment about nasonov phermone having kind of a lemon pledge smell with something else in the background. Michael's description seems to "hit the nail on the head" in describing the smell.
I've done a little more investigaging in the hive and have found that most of the honey in the upper hive body is a beautiful, light, golden color. But, there is one frame located at the very end that has rather dark brown honey and rather dark brown comb. The comb almost looks as if it were made from wax that was mixed with propolis. There are no signs of mold or anything that way on it. But, the frame is rather strong with that same smell. I also noticed that the bees left an empty frame between the rest of the honey stores and the brown comb.
I have seen some gray colored beetles in the hive that remind me of a lady with a long pointed nose. And, they're about the same size as a lady bug. Fearing that they might be SHB, I did a google search for SHB. But, the pics of the SHB that I have seen don't look quite like the beetles in my hive.
This hive was started from a swarm last year. In the warm temps that we have been having, its population seems to have almost doubled overnight. And, they've been taking 1:1 sugar water like it was going out of style.... about 1 1/2 quarts per day.
Here are my questions.
First, anyone have any suggestions as to what might be going on with the smell and the brown comb of honey?
Second, based on what you now know about the hive and the beetles that I've found, do you think there is cause for concern about them?
Third, have you ever known of bees that are kept in zone 6 to swarm in March or early April?
Thanks in advance for your input.