Saturday, January 18, 2014

Better than We Thought

Earlier in this cold season, we left a whole layer of sugary bee fondant for our girls to eat on during the winter. We knew they were probably hunkered down over the last months, taking it easy and munching on honey and sugar inside the hive...

...then we had the "polar vortex".  You know - that time a couple weeks ago when the weather here was 50 below with windchill for a couple of days?  That time when the temperature outside was a HUNDRED degrees from our temperature inside?  I have to admit, I didn't think the bees made it.

I'm so glad I was wrong!!!

We ventured out to the hives once the week of ultra-freezing temps was over, and Mr. Bee cleaned up the entrances and area around the front of the hives. Little Miss Bee clomped out bravely through the deep snow, learning how to try and reach Mr. Bee's footprints to make her trek a little easier.  Since the bees are hibernating, she could finally get close to the hives and see what her Daddy was doing.

Baby Bee, who is now a toddler, stayed in the van for a little while with me while they cleaned up around the hives.  As you can imagine, he doesn't like being belted in a non-moving vehicle for very long, so once the crackers were gone we also ventured outside.

I got to look under the lids of both our hives along with Mr. Bee and that familiar hum was such a beautiful sound! The bees were clustered near the tops of the hives and had eaten nearly all of the fondant.  It was a good thing we went out so that we knew it was time to supply them with some more food.

There is still a lot of winter left and the risk of starvation is definitely still a factor for our hives, but after seeing the girls survive such a cold spell, we have a renewed hope that they might make it.  It was fun for the kids, too.  Little Miss Bee is insisting on a beekeeping suit and veil for her upcoming fourth birthday.

This time of year, many beekeepers are making plans for the next season and putting in orders for bees. We're talking about adding another hive this year and trying some new hive box sizing and methods, which is all exciting.

Hope you're staying warm, wherever you are, and that you can have a moment of renewed hope for something out of the ordinary.

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