Cold--but flying!

After being gone for 11 days, I had gotten pretty anxious about our bees, considering we're down to one hive now.  Checking right before we left, things looked good but there was a cold spell, as well as some warming into the fifties, while we were gone so I had some concern.  Today it's in the low 40's and, though too cool to open up if there is brood inside, it was good to see bees flying at a steady pace in and out of the hive.  It wasn't just cleansing or orienteering--they looked purposeful.  Temps are to warm into the upper 50's and maybe 60's by the weekend, so I do plan to open it up fully and, if brood is present and numbers and health appear good, I will do a split.  I'll try first having them raise a queen, and if that fails May would be a good time to get a new queen anyway.  I do think I might try to get to 3 hives this year.  Coming close to losing them all makes me want to have some good back-up.

It was nice to get outside a bit.  We were in upstate NY, where we had snow most days and it never got much above 40.  Pretty dark, cold and damp most of the time.  Not fun and a far cry from last year.  I looked around a bit at the yard.  I was excited to see our osprey have returned, likely while we were gone last week.  They occupy a nest in a cell phone tower just beyond our property.  We have a good view of it from the second floor of our house and I've taken a number of pictures in the past, including videos of feedings.

Here is a regrettably grainy image of her sitting on the nest this afternoon.  I'll have to set my better scope up for some good photos.  You can see a bit of the white on her head as she is sitting just behind the center upright post on the tower.  I saw at least two others when I was outside, so I suspect perhaps at least one offspring from last year has returned as well to the area.  A little bonus--while I was looking at her through the telescope, I saw a flock of American Pelicans flying in the background, so they are back as well.  Spring is in the air!

Getting back to bees, I have put a link up on my Links sidebar to the BeeInformed web site.  If you are a beekeeper and have not done so yet, please take about a half hour to complete their Winter Loss and Management Survey.  The more good data that can be collected and analyzed, the better off our bees will be.


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