After last week's below zero weather I decided to check my hives. The check is simply listening for the buzz of the bees with a stethoscope. Luckily in the past two weeks I have not lost any additional hives.
One reason to do these checks is to provide more data prior to making a decision on whether to order spring packages and if so, how many. The "how many" question is important since package prices have risen again. Here are the prices quoted by a few suppliers. Please note that ECWBA does not endorse any suppliers.
Dadant $118 for a 3 lb package with Carni queen only
Fleet Farm $120 for 3 lb package Queen type? Appleton and Fond du lac only
HoneybeeWare $125 for 3 lb package. Carni or Italian queen
Kelly's $140 for 3 lb package with Russian queen shipped to you & insured
For educational purposes I popped the cover on one hive and took a few photos of the bees in cluster.
NOTE: The Dadant's listed above is the Dadant compnay, not Lee Hiene. At this point no one I know has heard if Lee will be selling packages this year. If you know the answer please reply to this post.