Bees at 56 degrees

December 26, 2008 | By | Comments (0)

We’ve been shivering in the San Francisco Bay Area with an arctic express barreling through. I know it doesn’t mean much to folks living in the east, but believe me, it’s different out here. The thermometer dives much below 50 degrees Fahrenheit and we turn blue and stay shivering inside.

Our girls are no different. They’re hunkered down in their hives, in a shifting cluster that they keep between 64-90°F. When the weather’s cold and wet, we don’t see them.

The other day I was out checking on the girls in a little window between storms. The sun was out, and the thermometer read about 56°F. The bees were going crazy, flying all around! I could hear them buzzing from five feet away.

There was a fist-sized clump of bees on Betty. At first I thought. oh, great, all her other troubles, and now she’s getting robbed by other bees. But then I saw that many of the girls had something bright yellow-white (Propolis? Pollen? What’s blooming right now?) on their hind legs. They were all jockeying to get into the hive.

Veronica was also active, although fewer of her bees carried pollen.

Also, for the first time since this cold weather rolled in, I could smell that sweet eucalyptus scent of our bees. I couldn’t smell the formic acid in Veronica, though. That’s probably not good, since it needs higher temperatures to work. Darn.

Sadly, everyday there are lots of dead bees on the patio, some with the yellow stuff on their legs. We sweep nearly everyday, so these are new dead bees.

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