At some point in the past week, the last bees inside Hive #1 - the hive whose original queen swarmed from last spring - the hive which then raised a new, weak queen - finally dwindled to nothing and basically froze to death.

Here are the (dead) heroic last few surrounding their dead queen.

As awful that was to see, the half-emerged and un-attended-to and now-dead young bees were the worst to witness:

There were dozens of these poor goners half-out and now molding.

Lesson?

Always replace your queen with a known-good one. The queen that this hive created was either of poor stock, or insufficiently mated - and it cost the whole hive because of it.

Tomorrow I get to extract the 20 pounds of honey that the bees didn't even bother to try eating.