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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 16th year of beekeeping in April 2021. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

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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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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Blue Heron Bees are ALIVE and FLYING!

My Blue Heron bees are flying in the 50 degree weather.  I am so relieved.  It's not time to assume they will be alive in March, however.  We have strange months in January, February and March.  Some of the coldest weather I can remember in my 30 years in Atlanta has happened in March.  So we're not out of the woods, but wow, it feels good to see them flying.

The winter bee at this time of year is an old lady.  Winter bees in our climate may live as long as 150 days.  So these bees have been alive much longer than the 6 week life of their summer sisters.  They do look happy to be outdoors again, don't they!

The winter bee has a very different life experience than her summer sisters.  She has never felt the joy of following a waggle dance and actually finding the nectar source;  she has never felt the pollen particles all over her hairy body parts;  she has never felt the satisfaction of sucking the nectar from the heart of a flower and delivering it home to the hive.

Instead she has spent her days clenching her thoracic muscles in an effort to keep the temperature constant in the hive.  According to Winston, the physiology of the winter bee is different from the summer bee.  The winter bee has well-developed hypopharyngeal glands and fat bodies from consuming pollen in the fall.  This feature helps them live through the winter.

Nonetheless, it's interesting to me that her life experience is so different from that of her sisters.

It's so relaxing to see all the bees coming and going in the relief of the warmer temperatures.  I'll take food to this hive over the weekend.
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  1. Anna in Atlanta10:45 PM

    You know, I never thought about it -- with a life span so short, a bee really only knows one season. Imagine it as a human . . . wow.

  2. That's really interesting, I had a similar reaction...which was, that's a lot of dead bees every year.

  3. We are sure having a beautiful weekend, aren't we? I know your Bees are loving it! I never thought or knew how different the winter bee is. But oh, so important, huh?

  4. 50 degs? My bees would be so happy. They are currently under about 2 feet of snow and in sub zero temperatures.


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