I think it is safe to say, if the hive is still alive today it has officially survived the winter of 2012.
Unfortunately, five of our hives did not make it through. Hives 1, 3, 4 (the infamous Betsy’s Bees), 9, and 13 (Bijou Crew) perished for varying reasons. I am certain Hive 13 was being harassed (eaten up) by a skunk. So, going through the Winter, they did not have enough numbers to stay warm in their cluster and eventually froze.
I was really bummed about the death of Hive 1, due to the fact that they were one of our first hives, and good hoarders of honey. However, Hive 7 is their direct descendants and they are alive and well. I plan on splitting Hive 7 to replace Hive 1.
This brings me to a new system of numbering hives. I have been thinking it would be easier to keep track of hives that are direct relatives of one another by adding alphabets. For example Hive 1, Hive 1a, Hive 1b, etc. I haven’t worked out all of the possible kinks yet, but will keep you posted on the final decision.
Hive 4 was one of the more interesting losses. They literally had nine frames of honey in the deep super underneath them (the cluster), but were not able to move the cluster down to it. Most likely, the loss occurred during a cold snap when they had exhausted the honey around them.
Hive 3 was the strangest death because there was not a dead bee in the hive, but all of the resources left behind. This is a classic sign of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).
We will be diagnosing Hive 9 this weekend, as it was the latest death and other hives have begun to rob its resources (this is something that should never be allowed). We will also begin making splits from the strongest surviving hives, so I will need to work out the numbering system soon.