It seems as if one of my honey bee colonies starved to death sometime over the past two months. At a glance it may look like a normal colony. But trust me, those bees are dead.
I didn’t have time for a close inspection, so I can’t confirm that starvation is the cause of death, but I’d say it’s a pretty good guess. I didn’t top up any of our hives with sugar syrup before winter. I let the bees take honey from their own honey supers instead. Unfortunately, these bees didn’t get enough. And so it goes.
I’m okay with this loss because it’s part of the learning process. I’m working without a net here, without any mentors, and I finally decided to try what made the most sense for me: give the bees their own honey, not sugar syrup. Internet chatter, bee books and know-it-all advice (which I was a part of) can only go so far. I had to find out for myself what really works. Six out of seven colonies that were given their own honey survived. One died. That’s not too bad. I don’t know for sure yet if the colony died from starvation. I’ll know more in a couple weeks when I can take the dead colony home and give it a close inspection. Stay tuned…
P.S. (March 24/13): See the post mortem photos for more details.