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2013 January 13
After several days of warm weather without any evidence of bees emerging from Beatrix, we took advantage of yesterday’s near-Fahrenheit-sixty temperatures to inspect her. Moving in from the follower board we saw one bar full of pristine empty comb, two bars full of capped honey, and then bar after bar with capped honey in the top half and darker empty comb on the bottom. Finally at the front-most few bars we saw the cluster, smaller than a child’s fist, and quite dead.
There were no unpleasant smells nor any apparent signs of pests or illness. Seemingly just a colony far too small to keep itself warm. But how did she shrink so much? Compared to Annabelle she began as a slightly smaller colony and was always a little less active but she had saved a respectable amount of honey.
The two bars completely full of honey we transferred to Annabelle and collected the rest of the combs for ourselves, soon to be processed. The hive was cleared of dead bees and other detritus and now sits empty but ready for reoccupation. And so we mourn Beatrix and focus our fretting on Annabelle.