I walked outside my house today and saw an unusual number of dead bees in the snow. So…
I went around the corner to look at my beehives and found this.
It was around 5pm and freezing when I took these photos.
I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to take a quick peek inside the hive. I don’t think I need to, but I’m going to because I’m curious and this is an educational blog, so why not?
I took whiff of the hive entrances and they didn’t stink of poop. I didn’t see any signs of mice or shrews getting into the hive, both of which can suddenly drive the bees out of their hive on a cold day like this.
I may have given this colony a pollen patty a couple weeks ago. If that’s the case and they were eating the patty, they may have filled their guts with too many solids to hold it in any longer (which means I probably shouldn’t have given them a pollen patty). Or it may have been the colony’s first big cleansing flight of the year. If you were holding in it for a few months, you’d probably burst from the relief and fall into the snow too.
In any case, I might take a look later tonight with my thermal imaging camera to see if that shows me anything unusual. If I don’t find anything funky tomorrow, this will be the end of this tale and we can chalk it up to one seriously massive cleansing flight. Though it’s not exactly what I would call clean.
Continue here: A Healthy Hive Smells Good.