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Just been out for first inspection - 2 colonies dead and the weakest one (which I thought would be dead) alive and saw queen and some brood.
In one dead colony tons of stores, bees all head first into cells or dead on hive floor. Other colony obviously dead a while - dry little bodies on the floor.
Hey ho.

Common sad story atm Sad

We have had one loss (marked queen, plenty stores) - lost critical mass and died of hypothermia. Heads in cells means little - all clusters do that, it's not starvation....unless they are far from stores. Lots of beekeepers think it's starvation automatically.

We've five colonies pulling away, the rest are all clinging on and clusters are ok to pathetic. One survivor dark colony in a tbh. Still not done any inspections - too cold even for early March eggs/stores quick look.

I conclude: early swarms of dark bees will be very well received (survivor genes etc). And that last year's matings were terrible after May.

May be a stupid question, but why aren't hives insulated in the winter?


In many cases causes condensation - this is worse than the cold.
The worst thing, I think is cool, wet winters because the bees are 'awake' and just eat the stores inside instead of slowing right down and conserving energy.

The colony that has survived was very small, but she is a lovely gentle queen and i never have to smoke them.
Hopefully pick up some swarms once the weather improves.

Would you be selling any Lorraine or would you use them to restock. I ask because my first foray into bee keeping has ended with an empty hive. The sound of a gentle queen makes me a little envious Laughing

Not selling - definately restocking.
Will be looking to collect swarms and also seeing if I can get this colony large enough to split.

I like my bees and aim to have a total of about 6 hives.

I don't blame you I'll have to go and see the local lot, I'm very much a beginner Laughing

Checked my 4 hives yesterday just by lifting the crown board and found one dead hive, which I put to the side.

Took the hive to the house during the afternoon without my suit on.

However went to disassemble the hive for cleaning and found 1 frame of bees that must have been hiding towards the bottom of the hive.

Probably going to be too weak to survive, but feel obliged to try nursing it through spring.
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