We do our best to get our bees through the winter months by making sure they have sufficient stores to get them through to spring and some better weather. But sadly, we're not always successful and especially when the circumstances are against us. This colony, Chive, isn't going to make it and you can see from the picture just how few bees there are left.
Checking our records, we last saw the queen in July but failed to find her in late August thinking she was just being elusive. We now suspect that something had happened to her and that the bees went into winter without a queen. That is doom for any colony.
The domed cells you can see in the frames are the result of non-fertile worker bees laying eggs that are destined to be boys (drones). Workers will do this in the absence of a queen and confirms that the colony is indeed without a viable queen. So with no new workers to replace their numbers, the colony is now on it's last legs and will succumb in the next week or so.