Winter quietness

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New Bee
Oct 4, 2021
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Just been up to do do the weekly check on 3 colonies.

All 3 are quiet and I can’t see any activity Amongst the frames through the clear crown boards.

They’ve stopped taking fondant and one has a few dead bees near the top of some frames?
I have not opened them up, 2 are still in double brood boxes the same as last year.

Only 1 had evidence of cappings been opened?

Should I be worried or just keep checking until spring next year?
It's freezing and wet here. Last week it was freezing and dry. Next week it will be warmer and wet.

Bees don't do very much when cold.. so I don;t go near them then.
When it warms up, I will investigate by checking fondant. But if they have all died - unlikely - I can do nothing.
So I do not worry.
Should I be worried or just keep checking until spring next year?
You’ll worry but no point.
If you’re desperate to know they are alive put your ear to the side of the hive and give it one tap
Just check the weight in January
Relax into your winter hibernation. If your bees were well fed and varroa free going into the autumn there is little to gain from disturbing them. I would usually give fondant in Jan ( better for the bees “looking at it than looking for it”). Inspect in April and be surprised at how they have all survived.
I have one seriously underpopulated nuc, which I'll be surprised if it makes it to spring. Aside from that, all the other colonies are big and strong with low varroa and have stores up to the gills. So, if they still cop it, there's nothing else I could have done, or can do.
C'est la vie, as the Germans say.
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Im in East Sussex and theres been quite a lot of Activity near the hives (mainly chucking out dead bodies) today with the sun shining.
Well, had a little mooch up at the apiary today. 2 colonies are showing no activity, tried removing the hive entrance guard and gave the hive a little tilt, no activity visible through the queen Board or in the fondant tub. Presuming the worst now.

Third colony has some flying bees and are taking down fondant today, so I’ll pop a fresh block on tomorrow.

Just seems strange that I’ve lost the two strong colonies. Thinking it could be disease as hefting I can barely tilt the WBC hives.
Thinking it could be disease as hefting I can barely tilt the WBC hives.
having loads of stores left doesn't mean it was necessarily disease - seen colonies fail due to queen failure, sometimes a failed late supersedure, sometimes, even though we think the colony is going into winter strong, it's a lot weaker than we think, once the summer bees all die off there's not enough bees left to sustain it.