It has been quiet concerning the bees since the last Bee incident. Remember that one? We sure do! The obstacles a newbie beekeeper can come up against....
After merging the hives into one it has been a bit of a nerve racking winter of wondering if the hive would survive. Dan worked really hard through out the summer feeding them in preparation for the bees to make enough honey to get them through the winter. Not to mention this winter has been cold! Brutally cold at times.
|That's A LOT of snow!|
Then this past weekend the temperatures warmed up, and it was safe to open the hive to check on them. And we were happy with our findings! The hive is alive and well! Of course some bees die off during the winter but the majority are still huddling together in their hive that is a warm, on average, 55 degrees even during the coldest of days and nights. *As it gets colder, the worker bees actively generate heat within the hive. First, they feed on honey for energy. Then, the honey bees shiver. They vibrate their flight muscles but keep their wings still, raising their body temperatures. With thousands of bees shivering constantly, the temperature at the center of the cluster will warm up considerably, to about 93° F! When the workers on the outer edge of the cluster get cold, they push to the center of the group, and other bees take a turn shielding the group from the winter weather.
There are two bees at the top of the hive.
I tried to get a shot of the grouping of bees deep near their cache of honey in the hive but the photo doesn't show this.
These bees simply amaze me! Honey bees remain active all winter long, despite the freezing temperatures and lack of flowers on which to forage. The honey bee colony's ability to survive the winter depends on their food stores. Keeping warm takes energy in the form of honey. If the colony runs short of honey, it will freeze to death before spring. Dan's estimation of honey stored was approximately 40 lbs.
Soon Dan will start feeding the bees fondant, a sugar paste, until the spring flowers and other means of forage bloom.
We are very happy with how things are going right now. We are looking forward to an active bee season starting this spring!
*All Bee info was taken from my husband, Dan and from Bee info sources such as About.com