Although everything looked fine just a few weeks before, I put my ear to one of my hives this morning and heard nothing. Not the tell-tale swish of the ocean, not a far away hum. Nothing.
I steeled myself for the inevitable, and muttering no-no-no in a hushed tone, I opened the hive. It was still and lifeless; thousands of bees still clinging to the frames.
After talking to a local beekeeper about the incident, we think they died of starvation. While there was lots of sugar an inch from the frames, their local stores of honey were almost entirely gone. There was even a frame of bees “butt out”, indicating starvation.
The realization that I let them starve is depressing, but like all setbacks in beekeeping, I have vowed to learn from the experience, and move forward.
Thankfully I have another colony that’s doing well, and now I’m focusing on nurturing it until spring.