I've been listening to my bee hive these days, putting my ear up to the hive for the buzz. Last fall, I wrapped the hive with several layers of Tyvex to keep out the wind, and since the colony was strong, I opted not to harvest any honey, yet instead left four supers for their winter feeding. Sadly, the hive seems silent. Italian bees are not as hardy as other breeds, yet what they lack in endurance, they give back in mild manners and honey production. I shoveled snow from around the entrance to the hive, yet to hedge my bets, I have ordered another colony to arrive on May 1st.
Kitchen Garden Tip #6: Order honey bees early to reserve a colony. I order from Betterbee in Greenwich, NY and pick up a small caged box in the spring with 10,000 bees and a queen.