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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We've had a really cold winter this winter and today was the first day that I checked on my 2 hives. The first hive had plenty of honey in it and plenty of bees (almost like it was summer time). The second one had plenty of honey but a lot less bees. In comparison, I would see the "big" hive with 30 bees flying around the front and only 2-5 on the "small" hive. They were both healthy before the winter. What could be my problems or do hive just kind of die off in numbers during the winter?
 

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They reduce numbers drastically during the winter. The bees are "big bees" and live longer. I would feed them a pollen patty to make sure they do well. My smaller ones have kicked back into gear the last few weeks but we have had 80 degree weather. How big are the hives? How many deeps? Was there any brood? Did you see the queen?
 

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I just have to reply and I know I'm silly for living here, but your cold winter is funny! Hasn't been above zero here for two days and the lows have been -15 to -20 now that's having a bad winter.
 

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Bee populations decline over the winter and should start to increase as the queen starts laying again. Bees born in the fall have the job of performing winter chores which are not as physically stressful on the bees and in consequence individual bees live longer. At this time of year the population should be starting to increase, taking advantage of the reoccurance of pollen and nectar.

As to why one hive is doing better than the other I can only speculate: it may be something simple like the queen delayed resuming egg laying until recently, or it could be the more complicated perhaps the hive was not as healthy/prepared for winter as you thought it was.

Be glad you have two alive hives!
 

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"I just have to reply and I know I'm silly for living here, but your cold winter is funny! Hasn't been above zero here for two days and the lows have been -15 to -20 now that's having a bad winter."

Everything's relative.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Sorry, I forgot to say cold for north carolina. I will keep an eye on them and see if it increases. the small hive had 4 full medium boxes on it and 2 of them are still full. The other is 3 medium boxes and 1 is still full. I did not see the queen. I am coming off of nights and just wanted to open them up and make sure they are still there and then get to bed. I didn't check for brood or the queen. What is the coldest temperature that you would open a hive to check on it?
 
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