A lament - from a poem The Bee by C. B. Langston:
"No idle, vain, voluptuous life,
Nor one of useless toil and strife,
The busy creature led;
Active, loyal, clever, brave,
A patriot free, not crouching slave,
She earned her daily bread."
We still have six inches of ice and snow so I've put off checking on the hives until Feb 16th. I've lost at least one: The 8 frame Canadians, Fuchsia hive on Ferncroft. They were in a nest up at the top on several frames with honey stored here and there on at least five frames. No wing deformities. All bees very furry and complete specimens of healthy bees...just all dead to the last one.
No brood or evidence of a laying queen. She may have normally started laying in late January. These are cold weather bees so I have to think that the queen died and they muddled through this far into winter alone.
The other Canadian hive in my backyard seems fine. Also 8 frames, also at the top and feeding on a new batch of fondant.
The Italians are no where to be seen on top but I believe I heard them down in there.
No evidence of mice except a little path made to clean up the bees at the entrance of the mouse guard. Not bad as with the ice build up on the front of the hives this has opened up some circulating air for them. Considering we are in an area heavily populated by field vermin of every kind, and the hives themselves are packed around with hay bails...I'd say that hardware cloth mouse guard is doing its job.
I didn't take a picture of the mouse path....this is after I chipped the snow away.
All hives were dry on top...the pine needles stapled into burlap on the homasote board did their job.