Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Stormy Night

The tornado siren went off four times last night.

The wind roared.

The hail skittered on our metal roof.

I worried about the bees being blown over, or their lids blown off.

Mark checked them today while I was at work and says they're okay.

The temperatures never got above the low 50s today, so they couldn't fly.

I hope they're doing what they do, a pulsating cluster of heat, cozy and warm inside the hives.

What exactly is it that they do? The gather in a ball around the queen and pulsate their muscles to generate heat. As the bees on the exterior get cold, they move inward, and warmer bees move to the outer edges. The challenge is making sure they have enough food close by enough to sustain them through the winter. If it's too cold, they'll stay over the brood to keep it alive rather than move upward to get the honey that's available.

I'm eager to go ahead and try Linda's recipe for bee tea and supply it to the bees in Hive 4 to see if it will help them survive the winter. What I really wish for is a warm enough temperatures to do an inspection and see how much honey they really have, now that I've learned a strong colony needs 40-50 pounds of honey to see them through the winter.

On the upside, it's unlikely our hives will ever look like this photo, from the photo gallery at www.tassotapiaries.com. Good luck to our beekeeping friends in much colder places!

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