Bees don’t hibernate, they huddle together in a cluster and use movement to generate heat and keep warm in their hives.
If I open my hives they could get chilled so a simple check on them over the winter is to ‘heft’ the hive. This is lifting up one edge to judge how heavy it is which shows how much stored food – honey – they have left. I also put the yellow sheet in below the wire mesh floor a couple of days ago, and from the pattern of debris I can see where in the hive the cluster of bees is and from what the debris consists, I can check the bees don’t have diarrhoea.
The debris on this picture is mainly capping’s from the honeycomb, so I know the bees are eating. I have placed a stone on top, so if the wind blows, the waterproof roof shouldn’t blow off and I’ve put a strap around the whole hive in case it is blown over, so that the strap will keep everything together.
Further updates as the year progresses.