Upon opening the hive on a warm February day, Dan discovered that sadly, the colony did not make it through winter. A bee colony autopsy was done and it appears they died due to a lack of honey stores. This was surprising since no honey was take from this hive, and there would typically be an excess of honey. There wasn't a drop left. It is possible they were robbed of their honey stores from another bee colony, or simply were not able to make enough. The autopsy revealed healthy looking bees, and no signs of disease or varroa mites.
So new bees were once again ordered from Gold Star Honey Bees. They arrived via USPS healthy and were installed in early April, nearly a month early than last year. When they first arrived is was cool and rainy so Dan feed them honey in the pictured dish to help them out a little. Our new bees have the big advantage of using the built out frames of wax cells to for eggs, and storage of honey and pollen which was completed by our last colony. They do not have to spend much time with wax cell building and they are quickly taking advantage of the abundant pollen.
Our new honey bees look terrific, and are hard at work between all of the rain storms!