I’m not really sure if Winter is here or not. So far this year we’ve had 0 degree weather followed by temperatures in the high 60s. Then snow, temperatures in the teens and sustained 40-50 mile winds. Followed by 50’s, thunderstorms and significant flooding. And it looks like it will be snowing and in the single digits again this weekend. Feels like we are on a roller coaster.
So how are the bees fairing in all this? I still find it amazing they are able to cope with all this with no more protection than a drafty wooden box. I was able to do a quick check when the temperatures hit 67 degrees in January and all 61 hives at the house were flying. Only one showed signs of trouble, the tell tale marks of dysentery on the front of the hive. It wasn’t unexpected, that particular hive wasn’t really thriving in the fall. It’s cluster was far too small when I inspected it and it looks like it froze in the last cold spell since then. You will always loose a few hives over the winter and I expect that one won’t be the only one. Still, the hives looks far better than they did last year and I expect losses to be well within the normal range. But we still have a month and a half until maples will bloom and nearly 2 months until April, so there is still plenty of time to worry.