We had an ice storm last week.
Well, after the ice hit, I was terrified that all the bees were dead. The next morning, I went out back and the entire front entrance was iced over, so I cleared it, and saw what looked like a sea of dead bees just inside the entrance & extending back. We were really scared that they'd all died of starvation (the most common cause of colony decimation this time of year) or lack of ventilation when the entrance was covered, because they cannot have moisture. Moisture is a much bigger bee-killer than the cold.
Happy surprise! Yesterday when it got to 42F, although it was really overcast & even drizzling, we went into the hive to check on them. Eric was smart & wore his veil. I was a doofus and thought I wouldn't need veil or gloves. Plus, I was in my big black winter coat, and they hate dark colors - they think you're a bear attacking. My mistake.
We brought out what we have left of fondant and pollen patty for them, in case they needed it.
Took off the outer & inner cover, and there were a ton of them! And they were ANNOYED. They don't like being chilly and they don't like when it's not sunny, and they wanted us OUT.
We managed to get the inner cover back on & Eric snapped a photo through the hole before we closed it back up entirely (turns out they still had a bunch of fondant, meaning they'd had enough honey stores, so we didn't need to feed them yet), but unfortunately, they wouldn't let us photograph them with the inner cover off.
Still... so happy to see they're still there & OK! In fact, Eric is working from home today (it's 52F & sunny) and says that the girls are going crazy in the warmth and sun. Hundreds of the bees are flying, maybe more. Did I mention how happy I am? I'm just jealous I'm not home to see it!
Gonna buy more fondant and see if we can't feed them later this week. Better to give them more than they need than let them starve. It'd suck if they made it through winter ok & then died this late in the game.