Oxford Bees

Bees flying in February (out apiary)

Submitted by will on Tue, 07/02/2017 - 14:52

It's a warm day today (10C-12C). The bees are flying from all 3 hives in my out apiary. Presumably they're going on purging flights. I didn't see enough activity to rule out pollen collection but it seems unlikely.

I keep the removable floor in, so I was able to see tidy mounds of chewed cappings. There were some flakes of fresh wax amongst it in hives C and D, suggesting that there has been some brood rearing. I didn't establish how much, nor whether it's going on now.

There were a few stranded bees outside hive C. They'd grabbed the bright yellow hive strap and then become too chilled to move. I moved the strap so that it was out of sight. There was no way to save the stranded bees. There were quite a few dead bees outside the front of hive D. It's a bit more worrying because the undertaker bees usually dump the bodies away from the hive. I removed the floors and looked up at the Varroa screens. There were no dead bees on the screens, showing that the undertaker service is still working within the hives.

It's a good sign that all the hives have flying bees, but it's not a guarantee that they'll survive the winter. Spring is a time of expansion. They need stores for brood. If there isn't forage, or they can't get it because of cold then they can starve. Foolishly I forgot to heft.