Our neighbor walked up to evaluate the Honey Bee Hives (Colonies) a day or two ago. We have very good neighbors!! What she observed, surprised us! We had three Honey Bee Hives overwintering in western New York State, which she observed all showed activity indicating that they have survived an unusually cold snowy winter. The previous two winters we had lost all our hives over the winter. We made some changes last spring and summer in the way we attended to our Honey Bees. First we changed our package bee supplier to a local beekeeper who has been successful in overwintering his colonies. We are now using a Carniolan Honey Bee which is native to the southern portion of the Austrian Alps in Europe. These bees overwinter as smaller clusters and increase colony size rapidly in the spring after the first pollen becomes available. They also have a tendency to be active gathering pollen and nectar in cooler temperatures, like those in western NY. We are hoping the Carniolan Honey Bees also have some resistance to infestations of mites which currently is the biggest enemy of the Honey Bee. The second thing we did was treat for mites in mid summer to reduce the population of mites in our hives. We believe this will help with the overall health of the colonies and help them overwinter successfully. We will check the Honey bees, in person, in May. Hopefully they will be buzzing happily!!