• Dan Blincoe

Dreaming of Spring.

I'm sitting here looking out the window and dreaming of spring. Right now it is snowing and really windy. It is -25 degrees with the wind chill. I'm trying my best to keep warm, and positive, knowing that the bees are doing the same. Hopefully they are in a tight cluster, keeping the inside of their hive 95 degrees, while outside is 4 degrees! Hopefully, they have enough resources. This time of year begins to get crucial. The longer winter hangs on the more chance of them expending the remaining resources they stored.

Bees do not hibernate in the winter. They are very much active inside. They eat, work, and do mostly in hive chores. They feed and tend to young (although less young are reared in the winter). They also tend to the needs of the queen. To keep warm, the bees will form a tight cluster of bees. A big ball of bees in the center of the hive, towards the top of the boxes, as close to food resources as they can get. The queen will stay at the center of the cluster, where it is warmest. It is imperative to the hive that she survives. The bees disconnect the muscles that typically flap their wings. This way they can flex the muscles without flapping their wings. They will flex these muscles quickly repeatedly. This increases the body temperature of the bee. When the whole mass of bees in the cluster do this, they can keep the inside temperature of the hive around 95 degrees. As long as the hive remains dry inside (humidity is the biggest threat to winter bees) and they have enough pollen and honey resources (plus the candy board I added in fall) to eat, they should make it through this winter.

With any luck in a few weeks we will begin pulling out of winter. The bees will begin venturing away from the hives to forage on pollen. It cannot get here soon enough!!!