Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Bee Yard Update

It looks like winter is here!  We have snow now and the bees have been "winterized".  Here is a picture from the Bee Yard this morning in Hinckley, MN:

My Bee Yard - December 4th 2013

We forgot to turn off the electric fence around the bee yard.  Hopefully the snow won't wreck the fence.  

Last weekend we were up north and we checked on the bees.  The hive on the right in the picture had a few bees coming in and out.  The hive on the left didn't have any activity but you could hear them inside.  When it gets cold out (less than 55 degrees F)  the bees cluster together inside the hive.  They also move their wing muscles to generate heat.  Somehow they are able to keep the temperature of the cluster between 65 and 75 degrees F and a constant 92 F in the center of the cluster (learned in my bee class).

Another interesting thing is that there are no male bees in the hive now (drones).  The female bees kick them out when it starts getting colder.  It isn't good to be a male bee in the winter.

I hope the bees will make it through the winter.  As long as it doesn't get really cold for a long time they should be ok.  They should have enough honey stored up for the winter.  If it stays really cold for a long time the bees could starve.  When it gets cold they form a cluster and they won't break the cluster to move inside the hive unless it warms up a little bit.  If we get a warmer day, the bees will move the cluster to other honey stores in the hive.