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The Storm Passes…the Sun Arrives

Dead Honey Bees on the Landing Board

Casualties from a Cold, Winter's Night

Late last night, perhaps around 11:30 PM, I took the dogs out to do their nightly nature calls and noticed that snow was still coming down, ever so lightly. The temperatures had dropped into the 20’s and were scheduled to get lower here in central Virginia. My thoughts to the bees were only of passing curiosity and a lot of amazement. How they can keep the cluster warm in times like these is nothing short of amazing.

This morning, the good ole Sun finally poked through and we quickly went to a full sun day. The temperatures have risen to about 35 degrees and are expected to go a bit higher. Regardless, they will not get high enough for a bee to come out. Still, this morning I went to look at the hives and found several dead honey bees out on the landing boards on both hives.

A dead bee in the snow

A dead bee, about a yard from the hive

I have to assume that this death is natural. I wonder if they actually dragged themselves out to die or not. It is said that part of a honey bee’s defense system against disease is its altruistic behavior of flying off to die away from the hive when it feels poorly. Perhaps these bees were sick. Or, maybe they were simply some of the older bees that could not take the weather of the past couple of days. Still, if they did not drag themselves out, I am wondering about those brave girls that took them out in this cold weather. I am guessing that they must have dragged themselves out. There were a couple, beneath each hive, in the snow around the hives. One was a few feet away, so flight took her to her destination. Who knows if it was her own flight (most likely) or that of a sister carrying her to her final resting place.

Hopefully, all is well. It will be at least a week before I can check them again, which is probably for the best. I would like to put some more feed on the weaker hive. We’ll see if that ever comes to pass.

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