It is not so long ago that I mentioned adding some feed to one of our bee colonies. We had three go into the winter and all survived the worst of the weather. One, though, was rather weak and had not put away enough stores to last the winter so we have been keeping an eye on it and making sure the bees do not run out of food.
This week, though, we sadly found the colony had expired. It was a fairly small colony and it looks as though there were simply not enough bees to sustain it. Those that went into the winter were, of course, old and have been dying off, but with this small colony, even though there was some brood in the frames, they did not survive long enough to build back up in numbers. This just goes to show that a colony is not safe until the end of spring or early summer, when there will be plenty of young bees around. As always, the colony in the long deep hive is enormous and working away quite happily. The third colony is only of modest size, but so far looks to be coping.