At the end of November we had a few nights of frost, then rain, and then more frost with one night the frost being so thick it was hard to scrap off of the car’s windshield in the morning.
December 2nd I inspected the Sunshine hive and the cluster was extremely tiny. It was so small maybe you can’t even call it a cluster. Then two weeks ago (Dec 12th) my dad just sat infront of the hives watching the activity and noticed there weren’t any bees leaving the Sunshine hive while the Wine Barrel Hive and Cowper Hive had foragers coming and going. I believe the last thick frost that we had pretty much ended the Sunshine colony as there weren’t enough bees to keep the colony warm during those frosty cold nights.
Today I cracked the top of the hive and found that there weren’t any bees moving inside. Then opened it up and saw three dead bees on different combs, one being the queen and she was alone. The bottom board had about a dozen dead bees only. That shows you how big, or should I say small this cluster was. There were honey on a few frames, so I do not believe they starved. I’m pretty sure it was due to the cold and a tiny size cluster.
It’s always sad to see a colony disappear or die. Remember the Sunshine colony was an external one that I rescued high high up in a tree. This year’s weather has been harsh and with much rain this early in the season. They probably wouldn’t have survived if they were left in place. Anyways, hopefully we will be getting some better weather soon!