New beekeepers (and a few of us outdated ones) fear once we see ‘heaps’ of bees within the snow throughout winter. The black dots (above) are frozen stiffs – bees that left their hive and didn’t make it again. To me, this can be a actually unhappy sight, however not a disturbing one.
If we assume that northern hemisphere honey bee colonies drop their populations from 30,000 bees in late October to fifteen,000 in late February, that’s over 100 useless bees daily. We’d a lot fairly see them exterior the hive than piled up on the underside board. One would possibly argue that the useless bees in entrance of the hive may need lived all winter. Maybe they had been in any other case wholesome bees in search of winter flowers. That’s potential. It’s additionally potential that these had been weakly bees taking cleaning flights (honey bees is not going to defecate inside their hive until all the colony is weak and dying). The poor bugs weren’t robust sufficient to make it dwelling after visiting the bushes.
Regardless the trigger, a couple of dozen bees within the snow doesn’t typically imply bother for the wintering colony. Extra worrisome is a protracted chilly spell (Calgary, the place these colonies reside in my yard, is firstly of two weeks of minus 20s). When it’s particularly chilly, the bees don’t even attempt to fly out to train their month-to-month structure. That’s once we ought to fear.