Late in January with the warm days I noticed the bees active in the heat of the day. I could monitor their activity as well by watching their debris on the bottom board of the hive. Then by mid February, after those heavy rains and winds, all activity stopped.
Last weekend I opened the hive and found no living bees. There was plenty of honey and a cluster of maybe 30 dead bees huddled together in the center. Saturday I spent the afternoon extracting the honey and wax and learning about bee life without fear of damaging their home or personal concern for stings.
Then I spent most of Sunday fascinated…watching the golden nectar drip on the mantle above the stove…for hours. Each drop represents so much work for those bees.
The hive was just not strong enough to make it through the winter and we are not exactly sure why. Like life, the sadness of loss also offers lots of learning and opportunities for reflection. We hope our learning this year will provide for a more successful hive next year. We will be picking up new bees from Zanni the first week of April.