When we did our first check of the hives in Spring, we were very worried about our poor bees. The winter had been very cold and we thought it likely that one or more of the hives would have died.
What we saw during that inspection was, we thought, worse than we feared. There were lots of dead bees – one hive had completely failed and the other 2 looked like they were on their last legs. Even in the tiny populations that remained we couldn’t see any queens and it looked like they were on their way out!
The problem was, it didn’t look like the cold had gotten to them. There were lots of pupae dead in their cells and so we thought that one of the Foul Brood diseases had struck.
We resolved, at the time, to burn all of the hives as this seemed to be the only way to prevent Foul Brood from spreading. But we couldn’t bring ourselves to do it while there were still bees coming and going.
How glad I am that we held off! Today’s inspection of the hives shows that the 2 which survived the winter are thriving. The populations are massive and they have plenty of stores laid down for the Winter.
There was even enough honey for us to take a frame or two!
What a great result – for the bees and us!