I have seen a worrying number of Varroa bodies on the floors of my hives. This is particularly concerning at the start of the season because it suggests much higher numbers of the mites later in the season. If I was a conventional bee keeper I would treat the hives now. I'm not going to. We'll see what happens.
Today I've seen several drones around Colony 1. This shouldn't be a surprise. April is swarming season so colonies which are preparing to swarm will be rearing Queens.
The drones have fully formed wings but appear to be unable to fly. I've found a few just walking around. I threw them into the air but they didn't fly. They might be suffering from a paralysing virus.
Early drones may be more likely to be affected by Varroa infestation because there are fewer of drone larvae early in the season, and the Varroa viral load can be more concentrated.
All four hives which went into winter have survived. All four are now busy and apparently thriving.
There is dropped pollen on the base boards. There are dropped brood cappings. There is evidence that they're cleaning out old cells (the fine brown dust on the base board). There are also wax moth droppings -- showing that wax moth move in while the bees are in their winter cluster. I didn't see any ejected wax moth larvae. I did seem some dead Varroa.
There is lots of blossom around. The season is underway.