I heard grave news from the Gardens... My surviving hive had no visible activity over the "warmer" days we had this past weekend. So it was with some trepidation that I went there yesterday lunchtime (January 14) to see if the reports were true; that this hive had succumbed to the cold.
My hives at home had been flying over the weekend, albeit one more than the other, so I knew it wasn't too cold for flying. But I had fed these hives a couple of weeks ago so perhaps this fuel could have kept them going. I had not managed to feed the hive at the Gardens.
So I went to the gardens armed with some mush (4lbs sugar to 1 cup water) thinking I could put emergency food above the cluster if I needed to. Anyway, I got the Gardens; it was windy and cold. Once at the hive I noticed a solitary bee circulating in front of the entrance. Was this a bee from the hive, or one from somewhere else? I couldn't tell. I lifted up the back of the hive. It seemed heavy enough. So I cracked the inner cover (which I can do directly as the outer cover is on top of some insulating board) and there I saw a quite large cluster of bees - clearly alive. Phew! A sigh of relief!
It was too cold and windy to do anything stupid like open the hive and disrupt the cluster so I am simply happy to know that there are live bees in the hive - quite a number - and there also seem to be resources available. I closed up the hive and will come back another (warmer) time, with my mush!
This Sunday looks like it will be the day.