february 7th :well we finally had a brief lull in the weather two weeks ago so my brother came over to help me check my hives. i suspected the white hive had died out and it had! very sad, but i wasn't terribly surprized. the weather that had been to -45 degrees F windchill of earlier weeks was bound to be too much for any small hive cluster. luckily, the pink and yellow hive seemed quite strong. i took one of the hive bodies from the white dead out hive and just put it up for when my new bees i ordered arrived. i will give them some of the frames of honey to get them off to a strong start. this particular box was not where the dead bee cluster was, and also, was not the box the bees had been eating on, so i had 10 full frames of honey in it! my hubby thought we should harvest that honey for ourselves, i still might do a couple of frames for us, but the others will be for the new bees i ordered. the other hive body, the one the cluster was on, and the frames they had been feeding from, i just set them out for the other two hives to rob the honey from and clean off. in order to keep other critters out of them i put them into my husbands little pigeon coop he has for isolating any sickly ones, as it was empty at the time. also got rid of the top feeders. i just don't like them. when the weather warms any it causes the syrup to drip more and is messy and i still am scared the bees might get drowned by them. i made the bee candy that i posted about in january, and gave each hive some (in the same place the top feeder bucket was). actually, i probably shouldn't even have bothered as both hives have plenty of honey frames left. i was just so curious about making that candy i had to give it a try! the directions have to be followed closely for it to set up properly and so not to have the same problem you would have with just using the top feeding and syrup. probably going to just remove the candy the next warm day, if after a quick check there still seems to be plenty of honey for their use and save the candy for an emergency kind of thing, if their stores seem low. while we had the hives apart checking, i replace the wooden bottom boards with screened bottom boards with a piece of laminated poster board on top of the screen. it can easily be pulled out to keep clean, while still blocking any direct drafts into the hive. i had bought these screened boards late last fall and just hadn't had a chance to put them on yet. they are suppose to be very good for the hygiene of the hive and for mite control also. seems when the bees groom the mites off if you have a regular wood bottom board, the mites just crawl back up to get on a bee, whereas with a screened one, they can fall on through to the ground where they die. was worried about drafts though, as still freezing at nite and lots of stiff winds, so improvised with the laminated poster board, cut to size of screen. just hoping that when i next check them that the bees are doing well and that they weren't too cold with the new screens! sigh! i am such a worry wort but i feel such a responsibility for these poor creatures at my mercy of my inexperience! will keep you posted next time warm day we have!