Cold nights (and days) start the bees going into CLUSTER. Automatically, they tend to push the population DOWN to the bottom box - keeping their stored food above them. COLD NIGHTS = SUGAR SYRUP BUCKETS. They need to fill every nook and cranny of their boxes with food for winter.
My BIG HIVE - my BIG PRODUCER is GONE. After harvest, she dwindled to "nothing"...and I suspect she was the origin of the late swarm. The long and the short is - Big Hive was QUEENLESS and Swarm was QUEENLESS. WHY this happens - who knows! All of the populations were combined with other hives and equipment reduced by using the bee-escape board (maze). I HIGHLY recommend a BUNCH of these boards (bee-escapes) for not only clearing supers for harvest - but they really make it easy to clear equipment ANYTIME of the year and for ANY OTHER reason. I also use them to keep bees (and mice) OUT of equipment. I put one on the bottom and one on the top of my storage stacks - it also helps with ventilation.
The loss of my big producer has sent me on a QUEST to find out more about late season queenlessness and hive failure. It has me wondering - HOW MANY HIVES ARE WE ACTUALLY LOSING IN THE FALL? - only to overwinter them - and blame their failure "on winter" come spring?
This weekend is pretty much the last look for me. Their second thymol treatment comes out...and EACH OF THEM WILL BE CHECKED for QUEEN (or brood). If I find any queenlessness - it's going to be a scramble to get those combined with queened hives.