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.


  1. Wow! That is a really nice warm up. We are still in the teens here. I've read on my bee suppliers blog that if we keep at these temps the bees won't make it in our area :( Mine are already showing signs of serious decline. It is great to see yours were out and about. I need to tip our hive and see how it feels.

  2. Michelle,
    I was wondering if you had gotten any benefit of the warm-up your way; unfortunately,that doesn't seem to be the case. But keep your fingers crossed--we had very few days from December well into March last year that rose above freezing and my bees survived just fine, and I did no supplementary winter feeding.


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