Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Bees are Out and About!

Today was a glorious warm sunny day - one of the best we've had so far this year. The sun was out, the temperature was warm and the wind was fairly calm. The sun shown on the fronts of the bee hives, warming them up and letting light into the tiny little front doors. The bees, who have been clustered inside keeping warm most of the time this winter, came out for some flying time and to relieve themselves. There are now lots of little brown spots all over the area near the hives. There was also the chore of carrying out the dead. Bess don't live very long and some die in the hive during the winter and these corpses need to be carried out of the hive and dumped. Normally the dead bee is carried off a distance from the hive, but when it's quite chilly out, the body will get dumped just off the hive landing.
The bees were also flying about looking for anything tasty, so I put out some broken up honey comb I had stored. After finding the sticky sweet wax, some bees went back to the hive to report their find by doing the happy waggle bee dance on the front of the hive. The excited bee would dance around in a figure eight while waggling its butt. Through out the day, the bees worked hard to clean the honey off the wax. Once they've gotten all the honey out of this wax that they can, I'll use it for making beeswax candles.

Today I also saw my very first flower of the year - iris reticulata.

I'm surprised a bee wasn't on it. It's the only flower I saw anywhere today. Yet some bees found enough pollen from somewhere to fill their little pollen baskets and bring it back to the hive. Look at the bulges on the hind leg of one of the bees entering the hive in this picture.