Saturday, January 26, 2008

bees, winter

The number one question people ask me about bees in the winter is, what do the bees do in the winter?
bees in winter
In the winter, the bees huddle together in a cluster with the queen in the middle. They shiver their wing muscles in order to generate heat, so it stays warm in the center of the cluster. The outer layer of bees gets so cold they cannot move, but somehow they get shuffled into the center to warm up again. They cannot leave the cluster when it is cold, but when there are breaks in the temperature the bees leave the cluster and eat honey. They need about 50 pounds of honey to get through the winter. My hives are wrapped in some classy black plastic and duct tape for the winter. One has an expensive insulation that I bought from an official bee store. The other one has pipe insulation from home depot with a black plastic garbage bag over it. I'm worried about the pipe insulation hive. That is the one I started last summer and it was kind of pathetic.

There is still some mess from that October storm. Last summer I sort of tried to clear up some of the brush but that ended abruptly when I found a giant, dead, limp, rotten-looking snake that turned out to be a live snake posing as a dead rotten snake.

Oscar is pretty.


trina said...

Oh he is. Have I ever told you that I really enjoy your blog? I probably have, but I'm not in my most alert state at the moment, unlike the dog.

Vegyogini said...

How interesting about the bees. It sounds similar to what penguins do. :)

Liz² said...

I think you've just made beekeeping elegant. :o
(and yes, oscar is beautiful!)