For me, it has felt really strange not visiting them once a week to check their progress. Its a feeling of seperation that I had not anticipated with insects.
But there are still a few bee activities to keep us engaged; a few weeks ago, on rare sunny mild day we noticed that only one of our two hives had any signs of life. We opened both hives up very briefly to check food supplies and were pleased to find that the quiet hive did have bees but dramatically reduced in numbers compared to the other hive. We are not sure what the problem is, or even if there is a problem. We read all the obvious sources to no avail so decided the only thing to do was to give them some extra winter weather protection to help keep them snug; insulated hive coats.
We fitted thier coats yesterday. Layers of fine insulation with a shining silver waterproof outer layer. Very smart (and hopefully effective). We have been careful not to cover the ventilation as we read that damp is as much a danger as cold.
Overnight the temperature in our garden dropped to a record -14 degrees so it looks like our labours were timely.