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One is better than none. I went into the winter with three hives. I knew two were dead. Thought that all three were dead. Today was near 60 degrees and I decided to clean the bee area of my yard. Two hives dead. One starved to death on a huge patch of brood with a full deep worth of honey above them. One with layers of dead bees (in various stages of decomp) at the bottom. Sigh.

The last, however, proved to be a suprise. This was a swarm I started two years ago with a jet black queen (her daughters are brown and yellow). They did absolutely nothing. Wintered in a single deep, never made a drop of honey in the super above them. I stacked a second super on them in the fall (a full one from a hive that was five deeps high). They are still in the bottom deep - about three frames worth of bees.

In the late afternoon when the sun had been full on the hive for a few hours, they finally came out, taking orientation flights, cleansing on my nice clean white fence (very few undigested pollen exines!) and generally doing bee-ish things.

No idea why they weren't out sooner (all of my hives last year would fly even in the cold) but I suspect they are raising brood and were staying in to keep the home fires burning.

It's sad to lose 2/3 of your colonies. It's nice to still have one, even if it's just for now.
 

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I don't think your bees starved it sound like they might have been sick and may have had a over load of Mites. what do you use for IMP? did you treat for nosema? these might be why. I am sorry for your loss.
 

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sorry to hear of your losses. that is tough. some of my beekeeping friends have seen 50-75% losses this year. after I combine I will see around 15% loss but I think its more due to the fact that last year we had a not so good queen year then the cold. I did lose one to starvation which was my fault..did not get to it soon enough and found myself feeding in December which I usually don't have to do. Most of my losses will be more to weak queens then climate/food stores. Almost all the commercial queens I bought last year were poor and now gone. The queens I raised were better but still not as good as they usually are. Last year's queen performance was enough to convince me to raise all my own queens this year.

There is a push here in NC to encourage backyard beekeepers to raise their own queens and I believe that has many good merits. Generally I can get enough queens from swarm cells but will be using the Hopkins/Case method for extra queens this year and banking them in queen castles.
 
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