Cleansing Flights

I didn’t think I’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.

5 thoughts on “Cleansing Flights

  1. My “Girls” were out and about here in Cape Breton on Sunday when the temperature inched up to about 3°C.

  2. I’m originally from Nova Scoita and used to live close to Cape Breton. (I love the land of Nova Scotia and miss it everyday.) I think the weather in Cape Breton is similar to what we get on the Avalon Peninula in Newfoundland.

    It’s snowing again today. If we hadn’t cleared away the snow from our hives earlier this winter, they’d be completely buried now. They won’t be flying out today, I don’t think.

  3. Nice post: well-written and your fondness for the “little guys” clearly comes through. By the way, I thought of you today–we got our first snow of the season! Yeah, I was so exited. It will all disappear in a day or two so it doesn’t much affect the bees.

    • Your first snow of the season? No comment. And now for something completely different:

      I’ve been reading through “The Backyard Beekeeper,” by Kim Flottum. I’ll probably post a review of it this weekend. I don’t go along with everything he says, but the illustrative photos are excellent.

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