The winter was harsh for the bees. I lost the 3 hives in Snohomish, and possibly another in Gold Bar. The 3 hives in Snohomish starved. One of them had an ant nest conveniently installed right under the hive. They must have had a few parties this winter, high on honey!
Here is the list of colonies:
L1: Alive, very active. Fed on 04-17 (1 jar 66% sugar water).
L2: Alive, low activity. Fed on 4-17 (1 jar 66% sugar water).
W1: Dead (starvation). Terminated (hive dismantled and cleaned).
W2: Dead (starvation + ants). Terminated.
W3: Dead (absconded, goat disturbance, then beetle infestation). Terminated.
W4: Alive, low activity. Not fed yet. Low probability of survival.
W5: Dead after hiving (2010), sick swarm.
Lx stands for Langstroth number x.
Wx stands for Warre number x. Warre is a style of home made hive.
The loss of hives was quite disheartening, so I decided to get only one package of bees this Spring, and take a better care of it than I did last year. The ants will be dealt with by using an electric barrier (two copper strips with a voltage differential, spaced by 1mm, at the base of the hive, inside and out), plus a chalk line (ants don't walk over chalk). The feeder is upgraded to hold 1 1/4 gallon. The top bars are now nailed, and set at 9 per box. The hive is set in a different spot, better protected from wind, but still receiving morning sun.
We will be getting our bees today, and I'll add pictures during the hiving. This will be hive W10.
For the new visitors of this blog, here is a fun way you can record your hive status, while sharing informations with other beekeepers and friends.