I didn’t think we’d have anything to report until March, but I was wrong. The bees in both hives finally got to use the washroom today after holding it in for the past three months. The following photos and video were taken around 11am today, not a breath of wind, a mild 3°C / 37°F, blinding sun bouncing off the snow. First I saw this little guy outside the door:
(Yes, I know it’s a female worker and not a little guy, but saying “little girl” doesn’t work for me.)
I saw bees in the snow all throughout the backyard, some dead, many crawling around on the snow. (It doesn’t show up in the photo, but the snow was scattered with yellowish pooey spots everywhere. You know what they say about yellow snow.) Then I noticed them flying around the front of the hives. It was the largest number of bees I’ve seen outside the hive since November. One or two looked as if they were about to head butt me (and I ran), but then I realized they were just trying to land on me. It was mild enough that I didn’t need a coat. I had bees landing on my arms where the shirt sleeves were rolled up, landing on my legs and boots, on my camera. I had to flick a few off my face. They weren’t trying to sting me or I would have been stung immediately. Even so, I wasn’t going to give them a chance. Overall, though, I gotta say it was really cool. The bees were flying around doing their thing and they weren’t out to get me, crawling all over me instead. It was a quietly captivating experience. Just hanging with the bees.
At one point, I picked up what looked like a dead bee in the snow and it came back to life from the warmth of my hand and flew away (and probably died). I thought the camera was recording then but it wasn’t. That would have been the highlight. All I got was this:
The bees went back in the hive as soon as the sun disappeared behind some clouds. I was glad to see them get in some cleansing flights. Imagine not being able to use the washroom for three months.
PHOTOS NOTE (OCTOBER 2015): The photos in this post may not display properly because they were uploaded through Google’s Picasa online photo album service, a service I no longer use because certain updates create more work for me instead of streamlining the process. I will eventually replace the photos with ones hosted on the Mud Songs server. This note will disappear when (or if) that happens.