Even though there’s still three feet of snow in the backyard, the temperature went up to 10°C today, which I have discovered is the magic temperature that triggers to bees to get outside —
— and poo. They’ve been holding it in all winter, so who can blame them? ‘Tis the season for cleansing flights.
I noticed bees crawling in the snow all around the backyard. Some I could see were freezing to death in the snow. So I picked them up and brought them back to life from the warmth of my hands.
It’s difficult to get in close and focus properly with these micro shots when I can’t see what I’m doing from the glare off the snow, but if the photo was in focus, you’d be able to see all the fuzzy baby hairs on this bee. Small fuzzy bees = young bees = the queen has been laying? I hope so.
The bees in both hives were rushing out of the top and bottom entrances to get outside. The bees landed on me whenever I got close. They were crawling all over the camera half the time. More than a few landed on my head and pooped all over my hair. (Note to self: Where a hat next time.) Beekeepers in late winter must be like heated Porta Potties to honey bees. Nobody likes to go on a cold toilet seat, and it seems honey bees are no exception. Let’s roll the video, shall we?
December 2018 Postscript: I don’t worry about bees dying in the snow anymore. Bees die all the time and that’s the way it goes. Many bees leave the hive and die in the snow or die sitting on a rock or a flower — and I don’t do anything about it because bees that are dying are usually dying for a reason. For instance, they could be sick. Sick bees are thrown out of the hive or will leave on their own so as not the spread disease to the rest of the colony. It’s all the rage these day to “save the bees” by doing things like feeding individual bees droplets of sugar syrup so they have enough strength to fly back to the hive. But that bee could have picked up poison from some plant sprayed with a pesticide, and once it returns to the hive after it’s been “saved,” it will pass on that poison to other bees in the hive. I fear that many actions taken by new beekeepers who want to “save the bees” are doing more harm than good.