Sunday, March 1, 2015

cleansing flights

These days, a sunny day with temperatures above 20 degrees feels balmy.  We turn our faces, the only skin showing from beneath the parkas and snow pants and boots and hats and mittens, to the sun and sunbathe.

On one such tropical day this week, I noticed my bees were out.  I could see them flying around the beeyard.  I headed over, plowing my way through the snow which comes up above my waist, and took a look.  

Though at first it may seem troubling, the yellow staining in the snow indicates that the bees are getting out and taking cleansing flights.  Turning their faces toward the sun, too, perhaps.  But also, most importantly, having an opportunity to relieve themselves outside of the hive.  Which is good for the bees, and good for the health of the overall hive for that to happen outside and not in.  

I quickly ran to the shed to get my veil, and by quickly, I mean it took me a full half hour to plow my way to that outbuilding on the other side of our property, dig out the door, and trudge back, completely winded.  And feeling really old.  I plopped down in the snow and sat for a bit watching the bees flying about and caught my breath.  

I then stepped over the 6 inches of fencing that is visible above the snow line of a typically 4 foot fence, and into the beeyard.  I cleared the hive entrances and pulled the snow from around the hives a bit for better ventilation.

Took off their hats so they, too, could sunbathe.

And then, I took a very quick peek in the tops of each hive.  They are looking pretty fine in there, despite this harsh Maine winter.  They are eating the candy I placed in there for them, though by weight I can tell they still have a good deal of honey in there.  But the clusters are still sizable, and active, and heathy looking.

I closed them up.  Wished them well until next I check on their food supplies.  And maybe bring them some pollen patties.  And headed back inside to warm myself up.

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