Waking Up The Hive

The snow is still deep.  It is not yet above freezing.  Night time temperatures drop to 0F.

I have not had very good luck overwintering my bees the last few years.  In fact it has been no luck.  Dead.  Every one of them.  Five or six hives in total.  So I changed my practise last fall.  And yesterday I waded out through thigh-deep snow and took down the solar electric fencing and donned my headset just in case and took off the lid.  And the bees just poured out of the top opening.  So it looks like they are in good shape heading into the end of April this far north where it dropped to 0F last night.  Still.  That strong they should be able to care for themselves, especially robed in black as they are, absorbing all the heat each day can put out, and especially as protected as they are in their field hut.  Perhaps there is a chance that in a week or two that I can add a feeder and give them a good start.  So I opened their bottom entrance and swept out a pile of dead bees…the ones alive today have lived their entire lives inside, born over winter as they were.  The queen is strong and starting to lay eggs for the next year.  She knows better what they are about than I do.  I can only observe behaviour and deduce, but she knows from within; as closely connected as we are we are still at root strangers.  They would have stung me yesterday if they could.  But I can try as best as I can to meet their needs on their terms in spite of them not reciprocating.  If they survive – which I suspect they will – this will be a strong hive.