The loss is so heartbreaking for two reasons; one is that I lost all my new genetics from last year in two really strong hives and secondly, they starved despite having plenty of honey reserves. We harvested very modestly last year to make sure that we left the bees with plenty of honey in case it was a hard winter. So how did they starve? When is gets cold, the bees cluster together in a ball to ensure the queen and any larva stays a balmy 90+ degrees and will not break cluster until it is warm enough in the hive for them to move around and not risk her getting cold. The picture you see below is a frame with little bee butts sticking out, where they starved trying to get food from the bottom of the empty cells. If they had only been able to move less than an inch either way, there was plenty of capped honey for them.
Luckily, I have ordered three new packages of bees that should be arriving in a week or two. I was just hoping to get to ten hives by the end of this season and now that is very unlikely. It may take me an extra year to reach the goal, but I will carry on.