The first question anyone asks me about our bees is "what do they do in the winter?"
And the answer to that is - pretty much the same as us. They stay indoors, hunker down and wait patiently for spring. In the meantime, their food source is sadly depleted as there is no pollen or nectar around so we help them along by feeding them. At the moment we are checking the hives every few weeks, quickly lifting off the lid and putting a slab of fondant on the crown board. As it gets warmer we will start feeding with sugar syrup but in cold weather the fondant is better as it won't freeze.
It's too cold to take the frames out, so we can only assess how the hives are doing by the bees who pop up to see us as the lid comes off. We have good numbers of bees in all the hives, and they've been doing a good job of eating the fondant. (It's the same stuff you cover cakes with.) In a couple of hives there wasn't even any sign of the plastic bags, which was most confusing until we realised the girls had obviously tidied them away and out of the front door to be blown away on the wind.
The bees do fly out on sunny days even when it's not very warm. Just like us, they like to make the most of the sunshine and get some fresh air. We've seen them bringing in pollen in and they are enjoying all the flowers that are starting to blossom. It won't be long before spring is here in full force and they can start gathering nectar as well.