Last year, one of my hives didn’t survive the winter.
The long, cold days took their toll on the inhabitants of that hive so, over the summer, I made a split from the remaining hive.
Everything was going along fine, but now, we find ourselves enduring another brutally cold and exceptionally windy winter.
Windchill temperatures have plummeted well below zero for days at a time, week after week, with only brief breaks in between.
Oddly, these in-between breaks have been unusually warm.
During the cold spells, the sun would be more of an ineffectual bright light in the sky than anything else. During the warm-weather breaks, temperatures could skyrocket into the high 20s or even (gasp!) the low 30s.
I realize this doesn’t sound particularly toasty.
But, when you’re talking about an increase of 40-50 degrees, it feels like nothing short of a heat wave.
Add to this the warming effects of a shining sun on a cloudless day, and you’ll find yourself with beehives whose occupants are being fooled into thinking spring has sprung.
And so they venture out.
And then they freeze and die.
I have found dozens of frozen bees scattered in the snow around the hives.
I realize that the hives are still buzzing and that there are many thousands still alive and well, but I find these inadvertent suicides troubling.
Perhaps, soon, it will be warm for real and we can let bees be bees once again.