As a beekeeper you normally try your best to make sure the hives are well prepared for winter. You make sure the bees are healthy, hives have good populations, equipment is in good shape and that there is plenty of honey stored for the winter.
In spite of our best efforts, hives will still die over the winter for various reasons. Sometimes though, a hive will survive in spite of the beekeeper.
Imagine my surprise when I did a quick check of the hives early this March when I noticed 2 hives among the weeds. Not the brown and blue hive in the foreground of the first picture…. the 2 hives in the background, the second can barely be seen behind the first.
These two poor hives were swarms that landed on small trees or bushes sometime last summer. They were hived in a single medium and then were promptly forgotten as the weeds grew up around them hiding them from view. (This could be an argument for better record keeping).
Surprisingly these two hives (again, in a single medium, with no winter preparation) where quite alive and well. I have added a supper of honey to each on one of the few days in March warm enough for bees to fly. As of a few days ago they still looked good and will likely survive in spite of my forgetfulness. It’s a reminder that bees are still wild creatures and quite capable of living without our help, at least some of the time.
(The second two pictures are the two hives forgotten among the weeds)