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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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Monday, December 15, 2008

The Mortician Bees are Working Themselves to Death

Below you can see several views of the deck in front of the hives. The area is littered with dead bees. I swept the area clean about three days ago and since then the mortician bees have been busily carrying out the dead. During the winter, bees continue to live and die all winter. While the bees that over winter tend to live longer than the approximate 6 week life span of the summer bees, still bees die and their bodies need to be removed from the hive. The bees don't fly when it's too cold (usually below 50) so when there are warm days, the bees leave the hive to remove the bodies and to relieve themselves.

Interestingly tonight the deck is completely clean, but I didn't sweep it. Instead I saw two wrens making a feast out of the bodies lying on the deck, and cleaning it up for me at the same time. The cycle of life is amazing that way!



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3 comments:

  1. Hi Linda
    I'm a new beekeeper living in Asheville, NC. My bees are in Franklin. The last warm day when I visited my hives (about 2 weeks ago) I watched undertaker bees carrying dead bees out of the hive. It was mesmerizing and unexpected. (Being new most everything is a surprise to me!)

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  2. Here in upstate ny we were hoping that the warm 50 degree weather would have our bees out and flying today. we joked that we hoped they would so that they dont end up having to go to the bathroom all over our honey!!

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