Went to check my apiary today as was rewarded be the sight of many of my bees taking the chance of a quick flight out to see what is what.... there are some snowdrops etc starting to appear in the woods and gardens in the village.
As I went from hive to hive clearing entrances and checking food reserves one was ominously quiet.
I opened the lid to find it cold and quiet. I lifted the top brood box off and found that the bees were all dead, apparently they managed to starve to death in spite of there being plentiful food just an inch or so above their heads. Classic separation starvation. They would not leave the queen and the little patch of brood they were keeping warm in the last weeks bitter cold.
There was the queen... in the centre of them. I picked her up and bought her home so I could show you .
The Queen is dead.... so now I will clean the hive and get it ready for the new occupants in a few weeks time.
I have to say that the bees in the 100% poly hives are doing better than the ones in wood. The poly nucs are doing well and I am more hopeful that the four of them will come through ok.
Top tip replace your winter losses by taking extra colonies into the winter as insurance.
I think that next year I will overwinter my all my bees in poly.
Happy bee keeping!