March Fly


While a lot of the country has been dealing with violent weather, we escaped and have had typical, almost spring, type sun/snow/rain/wind ... usually all within an hour of each other.  Today was a bit of an anomaly, however, as the sun was out, the wind was moderate, and the temperature vaguely reminiscent of warm.  When such weather strikes, I always head out to check the hive for signs of life.  I had actually checked in on them yesterday when it was cold.  I could faintly hear a low buzz from within the hive, so I knew they were still kicking.  But today, they were out in force, flying about and taking care of business.

Several things are going on here.  First, I put some sugar out in a plastic lid, just in case they needed it.  Few bees took up the offer, however, which I take to mean that they don't need it yet.  The bees that were flying were typically stretching their wings and, ... well, taking care of business.  3-4 months is a long time to be cooped up in a hive, and while the bees are good at holding it, they obviously like the opportunity to take some relief.  These are called cleansing flights for that reason.  The other main activity was cleaning the hive, which is primarily morgue duty hauling off the dead.  Many bees will expire during the winter and bees like to tidy up when they can by removing their passed sisters.  That's what the pile of bees on the table is about in this picture.  They could also be seen flying away with the dead bodies, dropping them further from the hive.
The bottom bee here  is hauling off a dead sister (greyish bee above it).

All in all, the hive was singing loudly and seems to be surviving the winter OK so far.  We have a couple of months to go here before real spring comes along, but this is encouraging.

This bee was checking out the sugar I left, but most did not.

3/5/2012 03:39:03 am

HooRay for the Bees!

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