Although it’s only mid-February and we still have another month of the official winter, there are signs of Spring emerging here in Colorado. We still have more cold weather and snow in store, but I’ll take any signs I can get.
Last week on one warm day, I got a text from Sarah that she was seeing bees going in and out of her hive and that there were bees all over her bird feeder. We thought her hive had frozen back in January, but were not sure because it was too cold to look inside to make sure. I wasn’t as hopeful as she was and I texted her back to ask if they were her bees or robber bees. I told her to see the bees were pretty frantic at the entrance and to look in the window to see what she could from there. She texted back dejectedly and said she couldn’t see much from the window, but that it looked like things were pretty chaotic at the entrance. The next morning, she took a peek inside and saw that her colony was dead and that the bees she saw the day before were robbers. Combs were shredded in places from the robbers. This time of year, some bees are getting desperate for ample food supplies and an empty hive with lots of honey like Sarah’s is ripe for the taking. For now, Sarah plugged the remaining entrance hole and when we get some time, we’ll take a closer inspection and perhaps harvest some of the honey.
My BnB2 hive has been pretty active on the warm days and when I look through the window, there seem to be plenty of bees inside. However, since the bees will congregate on the warm side where I found brood (and where the window is), what I see through the window might overestimate the number of bees inside. It’s too windy and just a bit chilly to look inside, so I’ll have to wait for a calmer, warmer day. It’s supposed to hit 70ºF on Thursday, so maybe I can duck out of work a little early to check more closely.
Someone on the local beekeepers’ list reported that the silver maples have started blooming. I also looked in my gardens today and my spinach and parsley are starting to green up. When I looked in the window of BnB2 the other day, I saw one of the bees with pollen on her legs – another sign that spring is on it’s way. Here’s a video I took of them today with several girls bringing in pollen.
For now, they seem to be doing well but it’s still a long way until Spring is in full swing.