Saturday, December 21, 2013
My Christmas present came a few days early this year. A sunny 60 degree day revealed 3 active hives. I couldn’t be more excited and more grateful after a month and a half of cold and snow and wet, which for a beekeeper equates to waiting and not knowing.
Yesterday morning, Green Hive 1 and Yellow Hive 2 were busy with bees flying in and out, taking their much needed cleansing flights. Yes, bees have to relieve themselves too or disentery could set in – one of many potential problems faced by the bees during the winter, along with excessive moisture, mites and pests, starvation and disease. The bees can actually take quite a bit of cold, so freezing is not usually a problem. Heck, bees are commonly kept all the way up through Canada. If they can take those temps, then 30 degrees is nothing.
Later that afternoon, Blue Hive 3 had joined the activity. Everyone was out and about, cleaning house and enjoying the sunshine. I opened the tops to add more food. Who knows when I’ll get a chance to peek in again. The girls were buzzing around me a little, but they were surprisingly docile, and many were up top enjoying the candy. I piled up their food stores and put them away til our next 60 degree day.
We still have a long way to go. January and February could be brutal, and their numbers have dwindled – typical for winter when they’re focusing on staying warm rather than reproducing. Remember, the life of a worker bee is only about 21 days. The closer we get to spring, the more the bees will begin eating like crazy. This is often when the starvation sets in. The trick is to always stay 5 steps ahead. Now I know they’ll survive our cold, that their stores are good. I didn’t realize how much I had missed them. A wonderful gift indeed – a day of validation that my bees are still alive and that I must be doing something right. Now I sit back and wait some more, and continue to hope.
Best wishes to everyone! May your holidays bee merry and bright! And may you and your bees bee healthy and happy in 2014!