Just over a week ago we had record-breaking cold temps here in the KC area, 6 below zero (F) at the start of March. Today it was nearly 80. Of course, the temp is supposed to drop about 40 degrees tonight and we have a chance of freezing rain and snow, but hey, it's the Midwest and that is just how our weather works. I decided to take the opportunity to do a quick hive inspection. We've had a few warm days lately and I've seen bees flying about. They were bringing back some pale pollen from something, elm trees maybe. So I knew they were alive, but I didn't know how things were going over all. So I popped both the hives open today and did a quick inventory. Both of them seemed to be doing okay. The first hive had a fair amount of honey, and a tiny little patch of brood. The second hive was full of honey, but I found no sign of brood. Both hives seemed to be in good shape, not a lot of dead bees and things looked generally healthy.
The population in both hives looked a little lower than I'm happy with, and I couldn't find the queen in either one. A low population is to be expected after a long hard winter, so nothing out of the ordinary. I just hope the cold weather ends soon and we have a good spring bloom. I also didn't look that hard for the queen. I wanted to keep the inspection quick. The bees were pretty docile and the hives seemed calm, so my guess is the queens are there. I generally look for signs of that the queens are there and laying, like eggs and brood comb, but there wasn't much to see this early in the year.
So far so good. With a bit of luck both hives will emerge hale and sound with the spring and I can go into my 4th year of beekeeping with my two original hives still going. In April I'm picking up another package to have another go of getting a colony started at my friend's farm as well. The one I removed from the wall of his shed absconded and wax moths destroyed the comb remaining.