I picked up a package of bees today. Both of my hives died early last winter – it was a very hard fall/winter for bees here. I have heard that the overwintering rate in our area for experienced bee keepers was about 20%. One out of 5 hives survived. I almost decided it wasn’t worth keeping bees and if I have to buy new ones every year, but I went ahead and got one hive anyway.
They are not off to a good start. Tonight will be very cold and I was told to keep them inside at 60F overnight and install them tomorrow. I was also told to spray sugar water on the frame near the queen to make sure they stay in a cluster and keep each other warm. I hear our weather will warm up at the end of this week, but we have another cold spell coming in soon after that. Our trees are all blooming, but the bees can’t fly to gather any nectar until temperatures are above 50F or so.