Well John sang about this 40-something years ago, so we really should not have been surprised.
Much to our dismay, the Warre, which was weak when winter awwived, went … weaker. With consistently warm weather weeks away, we worried that some of our colonies might need some feed. Although we did not take honey from our bees last year (confession, I swiped two frames from our strongest hive when Steve wasn’t looking) due to the devastating drought, a couple of our colonies barely recovered from the 8-week dearth (3-month drought). So with temps hovering near 60 here in the waning days of January, we decided to give our girls something to nibble on (details of what and how we fed them in the next post). The photos below were snapped when we cracked the lid on our Warre.
This colony was from a small swarm captured in early May (seen here: 3 May 2012). Although we helped them along, they never really took off due to the dearth. Most of our Lang and TBH colonies pretty much shut down their queens during the second half of May and all of June after weeks and weeks of hot, dry cloudless skies and a hellacious dearth, and we suspect this colony did the same. As a result, they were unable to crank things back up to a productive level when the rains finally came in July and August.
It’s disappointing to lose one, but we’ll dump a swarm in here this spring and with fourteen or so bars of comb already drawn they should take right off.