I lost my bees this winter. My first hive. From the looks of things, it seems to me they might have starved. There was maybe a cup of honey left at the very top. There also weren't many bees there. It's a mystery. This was in the top bar hive that I built last year. Perhaps they didn't store enough honey, perhaps the queen died and they lost their purpose? Who knows. All I know is I'll wait at least until next year to try again. I have to get my nerve back up. I'm still and probably always will be a recovering be-phobe. But a bee-phobe who is looking for all the pollination help she can get and who wants to eat her own honey. So give me a year and we'll have another go at it.
The idea is to allow the bees to build their own comb, hoping that they don't attach it to the sides, so the bars with comb attached can be lifted out. This is supposedly healthier for the bees. BUT - when I checked on the hive and found everybody dead, I took all the comb out and the girls had attached it everywhere. Had I wanted to harvest any honey while the hive was active, it would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible. So in addition to getting my nerve back up, I also have to re-think the hive situation and come up with a plan.