Hive #1 - the one from which the Springtime swarm originated (And which I captured into Hive #3) - hasn't been the same since the original queen left.

Activity in and out of the hive has always appeared "lazy" and the sheer number of bees active at any time is well below that of my other two hives.

To make matters worse, for the past couple of weeks, I've noticed an increasing number of ants marching up the blocks the hive sits upon. They like that the weak hive is unable to remove them as they make their way into the honey stores. I've been squishing them by hand a couple of times per day, and laid down some Diatomaceous Earth to try to deter them, but to no avail.

So, up on stilts the hive went:

Inside the empty tuna cans is oil of one sort or another, and this combined with the 4" nail 'stilts' is effective in keeping ants from getting back into the place.

Note that only a couple bees are outside. Contrast this to the top bar hive:

Anyway, while I had hive #1 cracked open, I gave them another sprinkling of powdered sugar (this encourages them to clean each other - which has the effect of knocking disease-carrying parasitic mites off and out the screened bottom of the hive)

I also checked for but did not find the queen. Her egg laying pattern is terrible, and I've seen lots of pulled brood - the workers do this when they know that the pupae is diseased.

The hive has maybe 15 lb of honey stores, so I may need to feed these ladies over the Winter.

I will be surprised if they make it to Spring, to be honest.