Nothing much going on..... part 2!
Well I am back from a bitterly cold trip to the apiary, and found that it is still very snow bound with ice on top of the hives in places, I did my duty and went to every hive took out the entrance block / mouse guards and dragged out the dead...
The finding of dead bees is always a worrying event but at this time of year it is to be expected. The winter bees have been around a long time. Some of these bees probably hatched out in September, and when you consider that summer bees last about eight weeks these are doing well. Winter bees apparently have a different metabolic rate, and live longer as a result.
The bees are now starting to warm the hive up by consuming more stores and getting / maintaining the temperature at the centre of the colony in the low 30C's. This requires a lot of effort an fuel, hence the rapid decrease in hive weight.
If you have not read the https://www.theapiarist.org/midwinter-chores/ that I recommended last time please do it is far better than mine !
However I am using a graph that I have taken from it to explain the decrease in weight.
So as the bees are warming the hive they eat their heads off and the queen is starting to lay replacement workers at an increasing rate … watch out for starvation!
The end of February is the magic time in my mind, with luck the queens have built up the colony to a reasonable size ready for the first flow of nectar in April and it is full steam ahead for the summer.
Pictures from this morning... Bees, Rabbits and Pheasants!