Steve is very kind to share his video with me and now with you, so with gratitude to Steve, here is a video of bees flying in the red maple bloom!
I can see that one of my three backyard hives that went into winter is dead. The two that are left is a large strong hive and a tiny hive made as a split. The split hive is in two medium boxes. It's the one that I had to give resources to twice to make a queen. Their final queen came from eggs from the strong hive right beside it. I did not expect them to make it through the winter.
The strong hive that is still going well originally came from Jerry Wallace (I think he gets his bees from Bob Binnie), but by accident I think they requeened with eggs from a Jennifer Berry queen when I moved a frame of eggs from the MABA club observation hive to give the observation hive some growing space. So that probably means that the small survivor hive also has Jennifer Berry stock - boy, she makes great queens.
I said that because of the four of my hives at my old house, three are Jennifer Berry queens or their daughters. The fourth came from Don Kuchenmeister (Fat Beeman).
We are having a warm weekend so I'll see if I can determine what went wrong with the hive that died (a Fat Beeman hive) and share it with you. Also I think one of my two hives at the Morningside community garden is also dead, so I'll check both of them today, if I can.
I've tried going into this winter only to feed honey to hives (I used no sugar syrup and no bee tea this year) and I'm thinking I'll follow the principles of the WNC honeybee research center headed by Carl Chesick. They determine that hives which live through the winter untreated and on their own are survivor hives with resistance to whatever the varroa mite may have given to their bees and they split those hives to perpetuate the strong bees.
That's my plan. Any hive that makes it through to March, I will split at the end of March and then be supporting strong hives.
Progress Notes on New Year's Resolutions: I've moved the Links above the Certifications on the side bar and have been through everything on the "links" list. I've eliminated several links that were not existing sites any more; added George Imrie's Pink Pages (thanks to Penny for the suggestion); and made more specific some of the links. If anyone else has suggestions, send them to me.
Next I plan to go through the list of blogs and favorite web sites to see how active they are and if they need to stay or go.