Thursday, February 20, 2014

Don't Eat Yellow Snow

Yesterday was the day we had been waiting for for over a week.  It was going to be warm enough that we could crack open the hives and take a peak.  We went out during lunch to begin to assess the situation.  To our excitement as we neared the hives, after trudging through knee deep snow, there was tons of activity.  Our two main hives seem to have maintained astonishingly large numbers through the winter.  Sadly our two smaller hives never became large enough to sustain themselves in the dramatic temperatures that we have had. 

They had two main activities yesterday as you can see from this photo, one was cleaning house.  They began to discard the dead bees from the hive.

The other, and arguably more important activity was getting out to poop!  Poor things.  It has been too consistently cold for them to get out and relieve themselves.  If you notice in the photos above, the snow is littered with little amber spots.  This my friends is bee poop.  You could sense their exuberance at the relief!

As we were checking each hive, they were all around us saying hi and it was as good a boost as the warm 42 degrees to our attitudes.

It appears that there is still some honey left for them to eat, but we also have ordered some fondant to supplement their feeding through the rest of the winter.  I ran to the store in the afternoon to pick up some pine shavings to replace what was in the quilt.  After B got home from work it was just twilight and we ran out to get that task done.  I wish that I had my camera with me, of course in my haste to get out before we lost the light, I forgot it in the house.  I can assure you it was a sight to see.  Aside from the little dots littering the snow for 50 feet around, a three foot circumference around the hive was completely saturated with amber.  I was going to try to catch it this morning, but the freezing rain started about 4 am and by the time it was light enough, snowball sized snowflakes were falling.  The sight around the hives gave completely new meaning to the old phrase 'don't eat yellow snow!'


  1. I've always thought beekeeping fascinating, but I had never really considered what they do in winter.
    That 40 degrees was really something. :)

  2. i would never have guessed that bees would come out of the hive in snowy times. don't they get cold ... or their poor wings are to icy to fly? i guess i need to read up on that. ( :

  3. oh my the poor little creatures, I wondered how they'd manage through the tough winter weather. I am presently reading a delightful mystery by Peggy Hesketh called 'Telling the Bees' she is also giving us lessons on raising bees and instilling an acute curiosity in their lives. I hope yours do well in the end.



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