Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Small Bee Blog

Today was warm -- warmer than it's been for weeks. I missed the hottest part of the day (I was taking my son Mike back to the airport) but got home while it was still daylight and slipped and slithered through the thick, half-melted snow, to inspect the hives. As I expected, there were lots of dead bees around, freshly dropped, and lots of small brown spots on the snow. The bees in the hive took advantage of the warm day to clean out the dead bees from the hive, and to, er, defecate.

The bees we can see here in the purple hive, in the square exit at the top of the hive are alive and wandering around. The bees hanging around further down are frozen and dead.

Three out of the four hives look healthy. The little red hive is, I suspect, dead. I won't check until it's warm enough that, if there is a cluster of bees hanging on inside there, I won't finish it off by opening the hive to inspect it.

Here's a slightly more close-up look at the green hive. Click on any of these for better, bigger photos. (All pictures taken on my Nexus 1. The one above, with the flash.)

Next May we hope to take shipment of three hives of Russian Bees, which are reputed to winter better than the Italian bees we already have (this is because they maintain lower populations into the winter months, so need less food, and keep Queens-in-Waiting ready to go at all times in case anything happens to their Queen. Not because they wear little fur hats and dance cossack dances to keep warm, as a number of people, many of whom were Russian, suggested last time I blogged about this).

Below is a photo of me, taken mostly because it's the first time in ages I've been outside while home and not wearing a hat and muffly face stuff, and I wanted to celebrate this.

Tomorrow, Alabama.

Then home.

Next week, Naperville, then to the UK for a couple of days, then off to LA for the Oscars, where I will be cheering on Henry Selick for Coraline.

(And in Manila, where I will be on the 17th and 18th of March, an art competition.)

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