Early in the year, when the weather permits, it is time to assess which hives survived winter. For those that did not make it through the long winter, a hive autopsy should be performed to see what you can learn from what remains.
Last fall, I had ten colonies being prepared for winter, 7 in my Carniolan apiary (picture on left) and 3 in my Italian apiary (picture on the right).
Before we even reached December only eight remained. My Italians struggled all summer long, re-queening and one succumbing to laying workers. It was a struggle keeping them alive. My Carniolan apiary was the opposite, I captured 2 swarms near them and was able to make 3 hives from one that was attempting to swarm.
However, by mid February, 3 more had perished, leaving us with 5. We are now sitting at the end of March with only 3 hives remaining. During each of the last 2 cold spells I have lost one additional hive.
Now is the time to perform autopsies on these hives, to see what I can learn from them, and determine what I could have done differently for next year.
Follow me on this journey and learn about hive autopsies and what signs to look for.
~ May all your wandering take you to may wonderful places!
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