It’s still too chilly out to do a full hive inspection, but experienced beekeepers are easing our fears of calamitous collapse in our Carniolan hive. Last week when I wrote to Christine, our neighbourhood beek captain, she immediately assuaged my fears with the following:
The mold in itself is not unusual, since during winter the bees often are in a tight cluster staying warm and can not attend to housekeeping chores in other parts of the hive. As soon as things warm up and numbers increase they will start spring cleaning. The same is true for the dead bees.
The moisture in the bottom of the hive is also not unusual. It might be from a leaky roof, but it might also just be condensation from the bees keeping it warm inside.
The key is if you have a cluster of bees, and esp. if you have a queen. It sounds like you had a queen until recently, based on your observation of larva (dead). It is not unusual for a batch of larva to perish due to a cold snap.
The last few sunny days, as the Italian hive was buzzing both inside and out, we saw a very small but steady stream of Carni bees emerging from the Carni hive. Today, Christine came by for a quick peek. Towards the front of the hive we found ample honey stores and many more bees than we expected. We also saw Carnis returning to their hive with loads of bright yellow pollen. The next time it’s 60+ F and we can get in there, we will do a full hive inspection and see whether we still have a laying queen. Until then, we rest easier knowing there is nothing terribly unusual or disastrous transpiring. Whew!
Anybody else suffer a loss this winter?