All winter bee keepers have to just sit and wait and hope. When the temp gets above 50 degrees you will see a few bees out for a potty break. They will not potty in the hive. What we thought was our strongest hive, yellow, had not had any bees out on warm days in the last month. The green hive always had a few who would venture out.
The last two days have been very warm and we were so excited to see bees out of both hives. Friday it reached 78 and we decided to take a quick peek in the hives. It is never safe to open a hive when then temp is below 60, this will chill the hive and cause the already over worked worker bees to work harder to get it warm again.
We are only going to look at a frame or two. Things we are looking for include, deformed wings, a sign of a disease. Lots of dead bees, we know some are alive because we have seen them flying. If all are dead, we have a problem. And a food supply, honey stored in the top of frames.
We found they still had honey stored up in the top of the frames, a few cells had brood (the queen will lay a few eggs in the winter). Also the beekeeper in training spotted the queen on this frame.
Overall the colony looked good and they still have honey. All we need now is for things to start blooming and the weather to keep getting warm. The red maple is starting to bloom and this will get the bees busy in a few days.