Honey Bee In Winter

Never Been So Happy To See Dead Bees

We have over a foot of snow on the ground and it is threatening to drop another 8 to 10 inches this weekend.  The snow itself is not bad for the honey bees but the frigid cold that follows may wipe out our hives.  We have seen a few days and nights of single digit temperatures this winter and today is barely above ten degrees fahrenheit.

As tightly as I have wrapped all hives with insulation, this winter is unusually colder than normal so I am keeping my fingers crossed.  It was a little bit warmer two days ago, above 30ºF, and not windy.  Yesterday I decided to wade through snow up to my knees to check on the hives.  I know that if it’s warm enough outside, no matter how high the snow gets, the bees will come out.  So I was looking for that sign of death outside the hive that would indicate life inside the hive.

Two out of five hives had some dead bees on the snow in front of the hives.  The other three had no sign of activity.  I’m so glad to see these dead bees on the snow.   It’s an indication that the hive is alive.  There have to be a live bees in the hive to carry the dead bees out. But I haven’t give up on the other three hives yet.  They may be trying to conserve energy, staying tightly together to pull through the winter.  I won’t know until the end of March or mid-April or when it is warm enough to open the hives for inspection and feeding.  At this point they are necessarily on their own.

Each hive is wrapped up with insulation and industrial grade black plastic on the outside for heat absorbtion
Each hive is wrapped up with insulation and industrial grade black plastic on the outside for heat absorbtion
With snow piled up on top and on the ground.  The black spots on the snow in front of the hive are dead bees
With snow piled up on top and on the ground. The black spots on the snow in front of the hive are dead bees
Frozen bee
Frozen bee

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