Monday, January 6, 2014

Winter and Bees...

Okay, okay I love a good snow storm.  But this cold, I'm not really sure.  I spent most of the day yesterday preparing the animals around the farm for the upcoming Artic Blast. Fresh clean water, barns bedded down with straw and hay and just making sure everybody had what they needed.  The rain is pouring as I write this.  The big concern begins Monday evening when temperatures drop and the wind chill goes right with it. The low overnight Monday/Tuesday is projected to be -8 degrees, with the high on Tuesday being 5 degrees. Wind chills are forecasted at between -20 and -40. We will be back in the 40's again by Friday, just in time to have major sinus congestion for the weekend.
We get asked a lot.  Do bees hibernate?  The answer is no. The bees form a cluster, holding tightly together on the honey combs in the hive. The outer bees form an insulating shell that prevents excessive loss of heat. Within the cluster the warmth permits normal cluster activity such as rearing the young and consuming food.
Bees can survive the cold.  A full size colony, with an adequate supply of honey and a strong young queen can survive a hard winter.  A healthy, large hive will have no trouble turning up the heat because of there size. Winter survival is all about healthy hives during the summer months, large number of bees and plenty of pollen and stored honey for the upcoming winter months. 
Cluster of winter bees under the inner cover.
 Buzzing Bees.

Guinea's, Ducks and Peafowl are all ready with cozy coops.

Even the older horses had their blankets put on and were given plenty of hay and water.
Figaro the cat has made his way into the warm office too!

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