Monday, April 2, 2012

62F = Happy Bees

After a rainy weekend, week, month, season... the bees were eager to get to work today.  I could tell it was going to be a nice day when I left for work and the bees were already up and getting an early start on the day at a chilly 42F.  That's 5 degrees colder than they will usually fly, but with no wind and the sun out they apparently decided to live dangerously.  They are actually pretty good weather predictors even on patchy rainy/sunny days and you can tell what the weather is going to do in the next hour or two by watching them.  Too bad this "nice day" will be short lived and we will be back to rain tomorrow.   Oh, did I say March was the 3rd wettest month on record and we were several degrees below our average temperature.

Here's a shot form the weekend.  It's not much to look at but it's raining and they are flying.  Apparently rain drops don't photograph well on the camera phone.


The bees are all over the cherry trees and anything else they could find today.  Dandelions are also blooming in abundance right now as well.  The key is finding a lot of something, honey bees will only work one source at a time.  So while that plant with the pretty blue flowers is attractive to them, if it's the only one then they ignore it, or one bee will work it over and be done with it.

Here's a picture of a girl on a poppy flower yesterday during a sun break.


I also checked the syrup levels yesterday and it didn't appear that they have taken much, if any.  However with our highs at about 50F and lows around 38/39F the syrup may simply not be getting warm enough for them to consume it yet.  After the busy day the bee's will be back in the hive tonight, but don't actually sleep and could work on the syrup taking advantage it still being warm from the higher daytime temps.

There are a few still working on their mining operation in the flower pot.  After doing some checking around  I think it's most likely that they are collecting fungus spores instead of mineral salts.  While not common most of the year, they have been known to do this in some cases.  The fungus spores can have as much protein as a high quality pollen source and because it's usually concentrated it's supposedly easier for them to collect.

Whatever the reason the girls seem happy to be digging away.


If the weather stays on track with what they are saying, this weekend might be my first opportunity to do an inspection.  I'm not sure what to expect, since everything is behind about a month, but I expect I'll see at least a few frames of brood.

- Jeff