Yesterday, I finally got around to checking the bees after returning from our three month sojourn in Europe and got a bit of a surprise. Hive 1, which was the weaker one when we left in October, was doing fine. The total size of the hive is pretty small, they were all clustered in the back center of the top box, but I’m pretty sure that’s normal for this time of year. That’s them on the left there.
What was surprising was Hive 2, which did great last year and was chock full when we left.
They were gone. All of them.
No dead bees to speak of, just nobody home. That’s them (or not them) up on the right there.
Bees don’t just pick up and move to a new home in wintertime. Now, I don’t want to be one of those guys who starts thinking Avian Flu when he’s got a cough because it’s been in the newspaper alot, but a whole hive just disappearing does kind of sound like You Know What, doesn’t it? Or am I just being alarmist?
On the plus side, the measures I took at Mike’s advice to control the humidity in the hive seemed to have worked. Compare last year’s January bottom (left) to this year’s (right):