...but it looks like both my hives are dead.
We've had some brutal temperatures this January in Minnesota. However, yesterday was in the 'thirties. I went out to Beelandia to check out both Metpropolis and Bee Glad..., hoping to see or hear some signs of life. Without daring to open either hive, I observed neither.
If both are dead like I suspect, the next step is to figure out the possible causes and go on with new packages this spring. I am quite sure that I left both hives with enough to eat, but with the cold we have been having, starvation is still very possible. If the cluster was positioned in such a way that food was not directly accessible and the cluster could not move for a few days because of the sub zero temperatures we were having, the cluster could've still starved even with plenty of stores left.
Also, I wonder what effect those high mite counts might've have had on the colonies at the end of August. I treated each with Thymol when I observed the counts but was this simply trying to close the door after the horse was gone?
I must also ask myself about the quality of foraging that exists in the area I keep the hives, especially with a golf course, and all its pesticides and herbicides, three blocks away. Am I exposing the bees to too many stresses in this small city environment?
Lastly, I need to honestly examine my own apicultural abilities. I have tried to learn as much I can but was it enough and applied correctly.