Oh no! Opened TBHs-lots of mold-one hive nearly all dead!
Yesterday we ventured to check on our two TBHs to see how they made it through the winter. This is our second winter. Last year we had three hives make it through the winter with placing insulation on the top underneath the cover and stuffed in next to each follower board. They are (if I remember correctly) built like the Barefoot Beekeeper's. Anyway, we moved the hives last spring to down below our house in a more secluded spot on our property as they became quite angry where we originally had them in the middle of our property and would follow my husband around with many stings while he was taking care of our beautifully lanscaped yard. So that is the main difference from last winter to this one. When we checked the hives yesterday, the first one we opened had a pile of dead bees on the bottom, lots of mold on the comb, some bees left with honey remaining. We took the dead bees out of the hive and put the remaining bees with a few bars of comb and honey in our other hive. I should say that by the fall last year, we had one very strong hive (#1) and this one (#2) with about 6 strong combs with honey and left them in that hive hoping they would do alright. Our other hive also has mold, not as bad. As they started getting very upset with us messing with this hive, we decided to close it up and let them be for a while. Inside the top covers, we have a screen filled with wood shavings and sawdust for moisture, but I wonder if we are putting insulation on top of the bars, which are sealed with propolis anyway, what good does the sawdust do for absorbing moisture? Lots of questions I know. Can anyone help us? Our humidity is relatively high for Montana as we are in close distance to a large lake that always keeps moisture here in the Flathead Valley. Also, we did not take any honey last year, wanting them to have what they needed through the winter and there was honey left in the smaller hive-lots of mold though and a large pile of dead bees inside.