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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a Master Beekeeper! Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.


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Sunday, December 10, 2006

In the Bleak MidWinter

Yesterday when I woke up it was 17 degrees in Atlanta. This morning it was 19 degrees. By afternoon it was up to the upper 50s.
When the bees die in the summer, their bodies are removed by the mortician bees. In the winter cluster, the bees have to wait for warmer temps to move the bodies out of the hives.

Also in the winter, some of the older bees may fly out on the warmer temp times and then be too weak to return to the hive. These bees will add to the dead bees in front of the hive. The bee in the upper left of the bottom picture is barely able to move and will die out on the deck without returning to the hive.

Bees in winter - sort of bleak, huh? Posted by Picasa

8 comments:

  1. About how many bees will you find over the course of winter? Do you ever help insulate the hives during winter (i.e. surround the area with hay bales, etc.)?

    I am still learning and planning to begin next spring. I enjoy stopping by here and reading your experiences.

    Thanks,
    Harriette

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Harriette,

    The numbers are drastically reduced in winter. The bees in winter, however, live much longer than the bees who are foraging in the spring and summer.

    I haven't worked on insulating the hives, but I am in Atlanta where we don't wear coats for much of the winter. If I lived in a snowy part of the country, I might work on providing hay bales or something. My hives are somewhat protected by being on my deck. The rails of the deck cut the wind and protect the hives from drafts.

    I am worried about feeding the hives and may start doing that soon.

    Thanks for your interest,

    Linda T

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Linda,
    Thank you for the info - yes, we know too well how the winter weather can roller coaster in Atlanta. We moved from Gwinnett just 3 years ago to east central Georgia (very rural) and we continue to have highs and lows w/winter temps. I want to locate our hives (no more than 2) in an open and wide pasture type area near our garden and wondered about winter winds and the need for hay bales perhaps - but I agree w/your location and Georgia winters you wouldn't need any added wind guard.

    Thanks again and have a great weekend,
    Harriette

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Linda,

    Like Hariette I am a novice, just waiting for spring to establish my first colony. I purchased one of the cypress hive kits from Rossman Apiaries, so I'm reading everything I can while waiting for the package bees to arrive. It's all still mysterious, and the terminology doesn't mean much without any hands-on experience.

    I'm interested in your simple filtering methods of extraction. I personally love comb honey, but probably shouldn't limit myself to that. Where did you find the pails with spouts?

    Thanks, and I'll be spending a lot of time at your blog!

    Jeff

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Jeff,

    Even if you plan only to make comb honey, you'll need a filter. When you do comb honey, you cut the comb out of the frame, but you also have to have honey to fill the jar around the comb. I found that I could take a super of honey and cut half of the comb for the jars and it took the rest of the frames of honey to fill around the comb in the jars. I got the filters and the buckets with spouts from Dadant. Hope that helps,

    Linda T

    ReplyDelete
  6. That is so sad...
    I love your blog, It makes me want to get Bees of my own. I work at park seed and wayside gardens, and one of my favorite things is when the bees, butterflies, and humming birds come in the spring.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous4:31 AM

    Hello Linda
    I have my bees at last ! Two hives here in the city and they are all working so hard at the moment. We have had a cooler summer so far but the last few days have been warm and humid. I have also started a blog, `Bees in the Antipodes` all very new but I hope to put some pics on when I sort out how to do it !
    Thank you for your interesting blog, I like to have a look acouple of times a week to see what you are up to in the Northern Hemisphere.
    Take care
    Marcia

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Marcia,

    You'll have a great time! Post a link to your blog in a comment so I can find it and I'll link it to this one. I searched but couldn't find it. Pictures are very easy to post if you download Google's program: Picasa - You can choose "blog this" and the pictures are uploaded quite easily now that they have worked out the kinks that occurred when they moved into this new version of Blogger. Great luck with your hives. I'm adding another hive in the spring.
    Linda T

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