Midwinter and bees

Warm weather lets the girls fly.

The temperature is going to get near 60 degrees on Saturday which is fantastic for the bees. I'll be out in the bee yards checking to see which colonies have survived so far and which ones haven't. There have been only two brutally cold days so far this winter -- and in the parlance of the times they 'sucked' -- but unless the temperatures go below zero and stay there, I'm optimistic that more colonies have made it than haven't.

That being said, winter has a long, long, way to go before the dandelions come up.

To be safe, I've ordered another ten packages of bees to cover my losses. It might not be enough.

Honey bees are very hygenic!

Honey bees won't defecate in the brood nest where the queen lays the eggs and the workers raise them up into bees. Instead, they need weather above 45 degrees or so.

When weather is under 45 degrees, the bees clump together to stay warm. They vibrate to create friction which creates warmth. Makes sense, doesn't it? But when you have to go, you have to go, you know? So when that warm spell that lasts a day or two in January hits, we humans start getting spring fever. The honey bees, on the other hand, get to go to the bathroom.

The weather warms up, the bees break cluster in the hive, and head for the door. They fly out for about ten feet and fly in a big circle, pooping as they go. We beekeepers call them 'cleansing flights'. A good way to tell how strong a hive might be is by how much bee poop is on the snow in front of the hive. Or on your car. Or on your house, like mine. 

But the coolest thing is to see the bugs fly!