Bright blue skies, sun shining and the little bit of snow we had was quickly melting. It was 40+ degrees out today. We had been waiting for this day to remove the extra box surrounding the - cans and to wrap this last hive (the Smart hive on the scale). I know, I know, we have been a bit lax in the winter preparations. Nonetheless, we remedied the situation.
The girls from the Glass (small) hive were out, lots of activity at the entrance, many were stretching their wings, probably cleansing themselves, it was a joy to see. As calm and gentle as ever, they took the opportunity to circle us with no sign of defensiveness. I had missed them! We quickly removed the cover, took the extra box and the 2 almost empty cans and placed the wedged inner cover and outer cover back. They seem to be doing very well.
Moving on to the Smart (big) hive, the mood was very different. To be more precise, there was no mood. No activity, no bees in sight. Removing the cover, we found some dead bees stuck to the sides of the upper boxes and frames. No one came to greet us. We removed the extra box and cans and quickly, closed up the top and wrap the remaining boxes with tar paper and a gloomy feeling. We removed the entrance reducer and peaked at the bottom, nothing. We removed some dead bees from the bottom board but the numbers were not unusual for this time of year. This is the hive that had so many bees, where did they all go? Were they queenless in the fall (which we had identified as a possibility then) and moved somewhere? We decided not to go any further, if there was a cluster, which we highly doubted was a possibility with the observations we had just made, we sure were not going to risk loosing it by taking all the boxes apart at 40 degrees. Nothing we could do at that moment would make a difference in the end. Let them BEE right?
All of our hopes now rest on our small and gentle Glass Hive, may the force be with you!