Saturday, January 17, 2015
Winter is a period of worry and uncertainty when it comes to the bees. Yesterday was in the 40’s, so I took the opportunity to peek in on them and add candy. The only hive that showed any sign of life was Mint Hive. That doesn’t mean they aren’t clustered down in the bellies of the hives keeping warm, but it certainly stirs up anxiety about what I did, should and shouldn’t have done, and whether I’ll have any hives left by time spring gets here.
Yellow hive, my strongest going into winter, was found at the top clustered and dead. They had plenty of stores, the hive looked dry inside. Maybe the cold got to them, maybe they starved regardless of stores, maybe they separated and froze. I don’t know. When things warm up a bit I’ll get in and take a closer look.
Last year when this happened I was crushed. This year, its disappointing and frustrating, but not the end of the world. If I lose all 5 hives, then I’ll most certainly be on the verge of hanging up my bee suit. But I’ve got too much invested, and I love my bees. Worst case, I’ll learn from my mistakes, start with two new packages in the spring, and get a better plan in place for next winter.
All the best to everyone else’s hives this winter. Stay warm, read up, and get that equipment prepped. Doesn’t seem like it now, but spring will be here soon!