January Deep Freeze
Ok, at least it's definitely been a long, cold one so far with much more yet to come. I did get out and check on the bees a couple days ago when the temps were in the upper 30's, a rarity this winter. Bees are alive in all 3 hives. The two bigger hives still felt pretty heavy, so I left them alone for now but the 8 framer seemed on the light side and the bees were clustered right at the top. I loaded up another medium box with honey frames from the fall and put it on top. Hopefully that won't be too much space for them to have to deal with. I also made 3 inch spacers to put on the other two hives so I can do a sugar feed once the temperatures rise again to where I can take the lids off briefly. Today with a high in the single digits is just too cold.
With nothing much more to do about the bees, reading blogs, message boards and other information about bees and beekeeping keeps me entertained. One very entertaining and informative bit of information I came across as I was getting prepared to give a talk about bees to a local rotary club. We forget in today's world of processed carbohydrates how important honey was in earlier times. It was so important to early settlers in the midwest that a war was almost fought between the folks living in the Iowa territory and the state of Missouri in the late 1830's. Called the Honey War, what began as a border dispute between the two entities resulted in hundreds of militia lining up on both sides of the disputed territory, armed with rifles, pitchforks and knives, when some folks from Missouri cut down 3 honey trees in the disputed area claimed by Iowa. It took a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1851 to settle the issue in Iowa's favor. For some enjoyable reading about this event, check out Honey War.