Bee colony didn’t survive the winter.
I have two hives at the end of my garden but only one colony (well, I had one colony). I went to give them a spring feed, but discovered they're all gone. Four or five wandering around, looking weak. A large pile of dead bees in a heap on the floor of the hive. I have this horrible feeling they starved because the frames look to be all empty. I didn't take any honey last year, and left them to it. I'd been planning on giving them a spring feed but didn't want to do it too early. Any thoughts on what CSI hints/clues should I look for?
On a related note, I keep meaning to split the colony by taking a couple of brood frames from the hive and putting them in the other hive. I've done this before and they quickly promoted a new queen. But I was worried that I'd actually just kill off the main colony. If I'd known they wouldn't survive the winter, I'd have taken a chance with splitting them. What do people here do? Nucs, swarms and queens aren't exactly falling off the trees (see what I did there?) around here.