Well it looks like I have to work a bit harder at being a beekeeper my first hive of bees have perished.
I looked at placement of the hive this winter, preparation for the winter and other things I could have done different. Shari and I agreed to move the hive for next year to a more sheltered but sunnier spot in the field. I had it in a cluster of pines that did protect it from wind but not the cold I think. It didn't get any warming sun till much later in the morning and that was an issue. Add to the fact that we had a wet summer and their reserves were minimal these things and my inept handling contributed to their demise. This coming year I want to try top bar hives in addition to my regular hive and see how bees fare in the two different hives. The top bar hives are said to simulate the natural habits of bees but they don't yield as much honey. The top bar hives and their maintenance is supposed to also minimize pesticide buildup in the combs which some research says is part of the cause of CCD, Colony Collapse Disorder.