Kathy, (aka "Bessie"), and I began our beekeeping experience in the fall of 2008, when we began a year-long course in beekeeping through the Indian Creek Nature Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. We got our first package of bees in April of 2009. At the suggestion of our daughter, Jessica, we are logging our beekeeping experience. Hope you find it interesting. It has been interesting, rewarding and entertaining for us as well.
39 degrees in January
Nice thaw we're having right now. It won't prove to be enough to clear more than my driveway of snow but still much appreciated. I went out two days ago to look at the bees when it was about 34 degrees and did not see anybody out flying, just dead bees, bee parts (legs, wings, etc.) and wax cappings. Today there were a number in the air.
The hives, looking south
Some were flying quite nicely. We saw several return from some distance out. A few, of course, had difficulty and were lying on their backs. We helped a couple get back up onto the landing pad (hopefully the correct hive). There were quite a few more dead in front of the hives, along with some brown spots from their cleansing flights.
A few of the dead. Note the brown stains.
I saw one come buzzing noisily out of the hive and tumbled to the ground with the body of a dead bee firmly in its grasp. She said a few words over the body then returned promptly to the hive with no problems.
A couple of the bees buzzed me, checking me out. I think my large, dark coat perhaps was not the best attire to be wearing but, well, it is winter after all. We peeked under the hood and saw a number of bees through the inner cover slot in hive #1 but Kathy saw none in hive #2, though she heard a fairly loud, solid hum coming from the hive. The cluster must be lower in that hive.
Click for a larger view.
I did tip each hive from the back and found that both are still quite heavy, which was reassuring.
Hopefully we'll start getting a few more days like this (or even better??) in the weeks to come.