Lately, I have been worrying about my bees. This is still my first year as a bee keeper, and the summer was rainy and awful - hard for the bees who won't forage in the rain. All the journals and books say that Feb. and March are the danger months when hives will starve. But, we do not want to check the hives in the winter and risk freezing the girls out...what is a new beekeeper to do?? Well, it was 43 degrees and sunny today, so I grabbed my nerve and opened the hive - just a quick peek. I saw a living cluster of bees at the top - as well as some flying. I hope there is enough honey. One blog I referenced (written by a Minnesota bee keeper) said I could tell just by lifting the upper hive body and feeling the weight of the honey inside. Unfortunately, I took the advise of a different bee keeper this past Fall and wrapped the hive in tar paper - essentially making the top and bottom hive bodies one until Spring. Hmm. I popped the top, and there were the girls. I shall still be ready to feed them - ordered some pollen substitute yesterday and will be making some bee candy tonight, but so far, so good.
Here is a shot of what the cluster looked like today. If this looks abnormal or there is something you see that I do not, please comment and let me know! Thanks!
Is is weird to be in love with a bunch of little insects who, from month to month, may not be the same group of bees?
The next yearly project is to tap the maples and make some syrup. We are a bit late, but for the three years we have previously done this I have also missed the first sap rising, and it has never bothered us. I did have a person try to feel superior by telling us we were not tapping sugar maples, but Norway maples - but you know - it doesn't matter. Our Norway maples still produce a lovely sweet syrup, as would our red maple if we chose to tap it. So disparaging lady - I hope you feel bigger - but we don't care!