It's been a rough year for bees, and nearly every beekeeper we know lost a larger number of hives than usual.
Yes, losing hives isn't uncommon; some folks say anywhere from 30-50% are lost during a typical winter. The reasons are many...from hive beetles to swarming to pesticides to irregular weather patterns...and beekeepers are used to dealing with that. This year, however, it seems that 50% was the low end of losses, and no one as yet as been able to tell me why.
We started last year with three hives, lost one over the summer and another over the winter. Our remaining hive, however, is HUGE and doing great. Jason decided to purchase only one new package and is considering splitting the big, strong one. With luck, we'll have three again soon.
The new package came in on Sunday and today the bees are busy scouting the area and learning their new location. They are truly fascinating little creatures.