I have had help from you wonderful people several times before and here I am again - I feel somewhat like a leech, since I never contribute with any answers myself. I have watched this place to see if anything came up where I could pay back - but unfortunately, no one has asked a question in an area where I could claim any form of expertise... The moment anyone does, I will jump in with all the answers, promise!

This time I wonder about beehives.

My protagonist enters a garden with a few beehives. This happens in mid-October and I suppose it's somewhere in the UK (my story is a fantasy where the location is never made explicit.) Would the bees still be active and out flying? (I mention asters in bloom in the garden.) The weather is sunny and fairly warm, but it is October. Or would the bees have gone to sleep for the winter? Is there any particular winter preparations done to the beehives that a visitor not accustomed to bees would immediately spot?

I'm not going to have anyone do anything to or around the beehives in this scene, or even talk about them - I just wonder what the protagonist would see as he stands next to these hives. Any help will be much appreciated!!!