I post with mixed emotions today. Today it finally warmed up after the polar vortex left us with wind chills colder than -40. Today and tomorrow the highs are supposed to be upper 30s, so I decided to check on the hives to see if they survived the vortex.
To review, I had my nuc in the garage and the main hive outside through the cold. I first checked the nuc in the garage. Unfortunately I was greeted to this…
There was a pretty solid group of them in the upper back of my box, but they were all dead. It looks like they found that corner and ate all the honey before dying. What you may notice, however, is that both of these frames have capped honey just to the side. This shows that when it’s cold and the cluster of bees is small, the bees can’t move to the side and will literally starve mere inches away from honey.
This hive was started in August (I think), so it was weak. There was a solid chance of this happening. It’s disappointing, but not unexpected.
After a few hours of a birthday party, I was able to go check out the main hive. This is what I saw…
It’s alive! It survived the polar vortex and seems to still be going fairly strong. I took some of the honey from a nuc frame and tried to push it through the screen for the bees I could see. Hopefully that’ll be enough extra food to make it through to spring.
With the one nuc now resting peacefully empty, I took a scraper and cleaned off the honey (and wax) from the side of one frame to take for myself.
I’m going to try to heat it to melt the wax and separate the honey from the wax. I’ll update this with the results.
After seeing the first hive, I was considering buying another package. For now, with the strength of the second hive, I’m going to stick with the two packages I’ve ordered and hope this hive makes it through to try splits this spring. But we’ll see!