I officially declare April 9th, 2011, as The First Day of Spring in our backyard. March 20th was technically the first day of spring, but that’s a joke, especially in St. John’s, Newfoundland, where it’s been cold or snowing pretty much every day since then (we got more snow last night). Although our backyard is still wet and slippery with the white stuff, the honey bees in Hive #1 are back in business and flying all around like it’s the middle of summer again. So that’s good enough for me. I’m going with that as the first sign of spring instead of waiting around for the first dandelion blossoms (who knows how long that would be). (Update: It was May 17th.)
The following was originally posted on November 23rd, 2010, and updated regularly to document our wonderful winter so we’d have a guide for next year’s winter weather conditions. I may add one or two more photos once all the snow is completely melted. But this is the end of it. Winter is DONE.
On the left: November 21st, 2010. On the right: November 23rd, 2010. Welcome to Hoth, a beekeepers paradise. Admittedly winter hasn’t really begun yet, but the snow is on the way.
I’ll add photos to this post throughout the winter.
Another guard bee from Hive #1 flew right at my face when I cleared some snow from that entrance.
The bees are docile in the summer. Not so much once it gets cold.
Let the good times roll…
Hive #1 on Nov. 30, 2010 and then Jan. 13, 2011 when about 40cm (16 inches) of snow got dumped on us in about 12 hours (between these dates, we had nothing but rain and soggy dampness almost every day):
Hive #2 on January 17th and 26th, 2011:
The upper entrance of Hive #2 on Feb. 1, 2011, with a -22°C wind chill and condensation collecting on the edge of the top cover:
Hive #2 and #1 on Feb. 1, 2011, and #1 again:
Also on February 1st, I noticed two dead bees outside Hive #1 and a dead drone in snow outside Hive #2. Judging from what’s coming out his butt and the excrement on the outside of the hive, I wonder if the bees have managed to get in many cleansing flights (a.k.a. washroom breaks) any time this winter? If not, Nosema (video) could be a concern. What am I talking about? Everything is a concern for us at this point.
Hive #2 on Feb. 1. Hive #1 on Feb. 3, 2011:
Hive #1 on Feb. 17th, 2011:
Hive #1 on March 14th, no longer half buried in snow. Then Hives #2 and #1 the same and on their way to being half buried in snow again:
Hives #1 and #2 on March 24th:
On the same day, not as buried in snow as they were two weeks ago (then we got another 40cm the next day):
Temperatures rose slightly in April. Some snow melted and some snow fell. The first feeding with syrup was scheduled for April 10th, though we were informed we could have begun feeding with top hive feeders a few weeks earlier. Here are the hives on April 8th:
Heavy winds and a rain storm finally washed away the last of the snow. Here are Hives #1 and #2 on April 19th, 2011 (the top two medium supers are sheltering inverted jar feeders):
I should have known better. This is what we woke up to this morning (April 21st, 2011):