End of winter is a challenge for most beekeepers, including me. It is so tempting to want to open up the hives to see how the bee colonies in my garden are doing but it is not a good idea. Bees have carefully sealed up their homes in fall and, if opened late winter, they don't have the worker bee numbers, or energy, to reseal their homes.
To make sure my bees don't starve towards the end of winter, I add a two-inch wired shim to the top so I can easily feed them if I think they are running out of food. The shim also gives me an easy way to peek into the hive and see my bees, something I love to do.
On this particular February 2016 sunny day, the girls were festooning, or hanging together under the lid over a sugar patty I had given them earlier. By peeking under the lid I did not break their sealed home and I could easily check to see if they were making it through winter.
So nice to see them still alive and well!