It was almost 50 degrees around 2:30 pm when Irene Day, Ken Hoekstra and I went down to check the hives. The gate was not accessible, so we decided perhaps the snow had melted enough to walk. That was a mis-calculation. Ken had to go back and wait in the truck for us. After wading through over foot deep snow all the way to the hives, we were rewarded with a wonderful sight! There were bees flying from all three hives. We are not sure the middle hive is truly alive, due to its small size in the fall, it could have been robbers from the other hives, but they were using the entrances and Carniolans are less inclined to rob, so I guess we will know when it is warm enough to open the hives. My personal rule to follow is this: never open the hives all the way up until the daffodils are in bloom. Now I mean daffodils in the same conditions as where your hives are located, not the ones in some sheltered location. This is the safest way. I learned the hard way by opening hives too soon early in my beekeeping experience. I personally killed THREE perfectly viable hives by opening them too soon one year.
I am sorry I forgot to take the camera to catch the bees flying and the snow completely spotted with lovely bee droppings! I would go back and get a shot, but it was too much work to get down there!