A tale of 2 apiaries

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I have another guess. Different colonies can have different amounts of brood through the cooler winter months and that brood level can come and go apparently..... brood pheromones having a strong influence on the impetus to gather pollen. I suspect the pollen gathering hives may have more brood to feed than the others. Apparently they can also assess the quantity of pollen that they have in the hive (in some studies they took the pollen away and the bees worked to get it back to a suitable level), so perhaps they didn't have the initial pollen stores the other colonies did.
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Yep have never yet fiddled with gift wrapping my wooden hives.
I only wrapped them because there are reports some of this model of Abelo hive can sometimes take in water through the gaps between the boxes. I only moved these colonies from timber into poly 6 weeks ago. The wrap provides no thermal benefit. It's only intended as a windbreak/waterproof layer.
There shouldn't be any gaps , if there are they will be sealed with propolis . Only fiddlers break the seal.

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