Two days ago the winter day was sunny and the temperature hit the high Fahrenheit forties. We excitedly ran out hoping to see evidence of cleansing flights, fresh bee poo in the snow. But the only spoor we found was on the hive roofs and most of that seemed left over from a warm day following a cold snap last autumn. There may have been some fresh drops but we could not be certain. On the other hand, as the picture shows, we did observe bee traffic from Annabelle. Huzzah! They are alive.
Peeking in her window showed remaining honey but they have definitely been at the pantry. Scraps of wax from uncapping cells littered the floor. There may be enough honey to last through the next few months but we ought to take advantage of the warm spell to give them some sugar, just in case.
There were dead bees in the snow around her. Some were likely long dead and just removed from the hive but some may have been unable to return to the hive after venturing forth. We found one crawler, which we picked up and and tried warming with our breath, hoping for a repeat of a previous recovery but no joy this time. We dropped her on the roof and left her to finish the return if she could.
As for Beatrix, she remains apparently inactive. The pessimist of us is nearly convinced that she has died. The optimist recalls earlier times when she has lain doggo and fooled us. Our old ears are not sensitive enough to have heard much hum through the thick walls even when she was in full swing. We shall have to obtain a stethoscope. Perhaps we will be able to open her for a definitive look tomorrow as temperatures are expected to reach the sixties.