Winter Honeybee Update
With the snow and cold temperatures, we did a quick Honey Bee check-in with one of our Bee Experts, Hollie Wall Dalenberg. Hollie has her BS in molecular biology and her MS in entomology, studying the honey bee mouthpart microbiome. We are so blessed to have her!
Hollie checked all of the colonies on the warmest day before the storm, so Monday in the afternoon when it was about 65F out. The colonies were alive with bees coming in and out of the entrances. Each colony has a wooden shim at the very top that has a sugar patty and a pollen patty, and so she was able to sneak a peek to see if there was activity at the top and if they needed any more patties. All of the colonies had some form of activity and doing well.
Even at 65F, it’s still too cold to do a full inspection. Hollie said, “Their internal temp is about 90F and so doing a full inspection in these temps would be like taking someone’s clothes off and may even kill a colony. I will do a full inspection around the first day of April but will check their food stores around March 1st and 15th, depending on the weather. Right now the bees are all cozy inside and will come out when the temps are above 50F, mainly to use the bathroom since they don’t poop in their hive.”
So for now, our honey bees are in the central part of the hive in the “winter cluster”, much like a huddle around their Queen. The worker bees are fluttering their wings and shiver. The constant motion and continuous use of energy keep the inside temperature of the hive warm. They will continue this activity until the temps are above 50F.
Thank you Hollie for your update, can’t wait for your next one!