@ Mike Taylor
This is not the case for honey bees. They overwinter as a colony. A poor winter and spring can kill a colony. Equally whilst it is possible to split colony this affects honey production and colony strength. As a bee keeper I lost 3 of 5 hives 2 winters ago and struggled keep my 2 going through the following summer. Last summer was very good however. Most sensible beekeepers would tell you that no single cause is to bame but rather a raft of causes. Insecticides, monoculture diet (all the same food), poor winters/springs (wet and windy), varroa mite, diseases and in the US the routine long distance wholesale relocation of colonies to support the furit industry. All add up to weaken the bees and kill them off.