As we’ve updated you earlier, we winterized our bees this winter by wrapping roofing paper around the hive and supplementing them with some hard candy. We’ve had some very frigid days but recently we’ve had some record high days in the 60’s. During one of those unusually warm days as I was sitting out soaking up the sunshine on the front porch, I heard a very familiar sound. Buzzzzz..buzzz… sure enough, it was a honeybee. I’m just going to assume it was one of ours even though it could have come from miles away. Although I was excited to see the little one flying around it got me worried. Even though it was 60 degrees outside, it surly wasn’t going to last and it would soon be back into freezing temperatures again. Someone that works with Joe has bees and said the last thaw in January did his hive in since they broke up their cluster and came out thinking it was warm enough to find food.
I went over to the hive to check and sure enough the front entry of the hive was buzzin away with honeybees coming and going. Well at least they survived until this point.
It did just as I expected and got cold again. I went to look at the hive and found many dead bees on the ground outside the hive.
I thought to myself, “well they came out and didn’t make it back to the hive in time”. I googled it and found out that bees take advantage of the “thaw out” and take a cleansing flight from the hive. During this flight, they poop outside the hive and spread their wings. Throughout the winter, as expected, several bees die in the hive. When the weather gets nice, the housekeeping bees do a spring cleaning of the hive and kick out all the dead bees. This is actually a very healthy sign for your hive.
You really aren’t supposed to open up your hive when it’s cold and you certainly don’t want to open it and pull frames out unless the temperatures are consistently over 60 degrees. With a quick peek this weekend they were moving around and eating some of the hard candy that I left for them in the top of the hive. I’m going to try and leave the hive alone for the next few months until Spring officially comes. I feel pretty good about the hive surviving through the winter. Only a few more months to go little bees, hang in there!