Last Thursday I worked from home due to parent teacher conferences, and the weather happened to be warm enough for a hive check. Over lunch, I gave my backyard hives a quick peek. I also had some more sugar patties to feed in case they needed it.
It was warm enough for the bees to be flying:
However, I have three hives, but I only saw bees flying from 2 of them. Uh oh! The pink hive had no flyers:
So I popped the top on the Pink Hive, and this is what I saw:
This looks like a cluster of bees, although a bit on the small side, so I was confused why they aren't flying. I pulled a frame in the middle, and saw plenty of live bees on the frame:
But this is what I found when I pulled the next frame:
The bees on the left half are all dead, stuck head first in the cells. This is classic starvation. The bees in the upper right were also dead, just stuck in place. This is classic freezing. The next frame had more starvation bees:
So I am confused. I did see a lot of bees coming in the upper entrance; it could be that they were bees from the other two hives coming in and taking whatever food they could. Or the cluster could have become split during a warm spell, then half of the bees died.
I lifted up the top brood chamber and saw this on the bottom brood chamber:
It's a pile of dead bees, quite a few (the white thing is the left over from some mite treatments late last year).
So it looks like this hive is either dead or on its way. But I have two others, so I can repopulate. I'll wait for decent weather to take apart the hive and check it out.
Lifting the Green Hive's cover showed the typical winter cluster of a decent size:
And the Brown Hive was similar, if not a little larger clump:
They hadn't consumed all of the sugar patties, so I just scooted them a little closer to the cluster and left them be.
It's not warm enough to start feeding liquid feed - the weather has to stay above freezing for pretty consistent times. So I'll give it another week or so.