February in the Bee Yard

Spring in the Apiary

Springtime in the apiary is always an anxious time for beekeepers. Once the cold weather hits, the bees collect themselves into a tight ball in the middle of the hive and generate enough heat to keep them alive through the cold months of Winter. Many times, we don’t see any activity for weeks at a time, and we always wonder if we did enough to prepare them. Did we leave them enough food? Did we get the Varroa Mite levels down? Did we miss some viruses or other diseases? We beekeepers have a long Winter to cogitate on such thoughts.
It’s only natural, then, that we look forward to the odd day like yesterday in late Winter when the temperature gets up to the 10C range. The bees can break their clusters, and get out for a cleansing flight (poop), and just get some exercise. These are the bees that will do the foraging once the flowers bloom, and the odd day when they can get out helps them build endurance for the job ahead.
In this day and age when Winter losses can range from 20 to 30 percent, it was very encouraging to see every single colony alive and healthy. Winter isn’t over by a long shot, but with some reasonable weather, we should see a decent honey crop this year.