Last year I had two colonies. One fell silent before winter even began, while it's neighbour buzzed and hummed happily within it's dwelling throughout the frigid months. Both hives had large populations and low mite counts. Both hives were heavy with honey stores. Yesterday's autopsy on the failed hive provided no clue. I could see no sign of disease or robbing. I saw no evidence of mold or excess moisture but simply large clusters of dead bees inside and a pile of dead bees on the ground in front. Were they poisoned? Did something happen to their queen? I may never know.
Meanwhile, I'm very glad to see that it's sister hive is flourishing. Busy little workers are already hauling in water and light yellow pollen and perhaps sap from broken tree branches. From this robust hive I plan to make at least two additional colonies next month.
|Worker honey bees begin an early morning foray.|
|As the morning advances, a traffic jam forms at the entrance.|
|After I widened the entrance, traffic flowed much better.|
|The girls really hustled and bustled on this warm April day.|
|Oh little lady, where did you find that butter coloured pollen?|