Winter is well and truly here: our first snow came last night, leaving a couple of inches and some ice. I went up to peer at the bees, not wanting to disturb them enough to cause a guard bee to detach from the inside cluster. Giving me a piece of her mind could cost her the rest of her life when the temperature is low!
Each colony's entrance now features a handful of frozen bees and frost. The population will dwindle with the temperature, but I don't know what a normal amount of ex-bees would be. The girls brought to ground numbered less than a hundred, maybe not even dozens. But so sad and cold.
To me, the bees are the incarnation of sunlight: lively, golden, queens of the air. Many people I know suffer the darkness of winter, and their spirits tilt downward. I miss the lightness of the bees, I truly do, especially when the only brightness seems to be caught in the crunchy melted-and-refrozen snow.
Turning to the plus side, there were no mouse tracks or signs of rodent incursion. Mice and (ahem) others sometimes get into bee colonies in the cold months to enjoy the comparative shelter and the free food. This seems like a pretty likely threat in the city, but we have beat it so far.