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Don’t let your bees go hungry

Here is a quick reminder about the amount of food a winter colony can burn through. Contrary to logic, your colony will eat more during a warm, balmy winter than it will during a colder one. On warm days, honey bees will leave the hive and fly around looking for food, but flying is extremely […] Read more

What are winter bees and what do they do?

As beekeepers, we tend to underestimate the importance of winter bees. We are especially unconcerned late in August, just when the colony is on the brink of producing these winter wonders. On a sultry August afternoon when the cat is long and the air is too hot to move, the next brew may seem more […] Read more

Happiness is a mid-winter cleansing flight

Well, I don’t know if the bees are happy, but I certainly am. Whenever I see winter bees dart outside on a cold afternoon and drop a semi-solid parcel, I sigh with relief. I want to say, “See! You can do this! You can make it till spring, one day at a time.” I’ve never […] Read more

An instant-read hive thermometer for winter colonies

Do you want to know if your colony is alive without using an infrared camera or a stethoscope? Try an instant-read hive thermometer. This neat idea was sent to me by Ken Armes, a beekeeper in Ontario, Canada. Ken wanted to know if his colony was surviving, but he didn’t think he could get an […] Read more

Are winter bee stings worse than others?

Tuesday afternoon was clear and bright, so I went outside to enjoy the balmy sixty-degree sunshine. Bees were flying every which way, so I walked past my garden hives just to see how many bees were outside doing stuff. Lots, it turns out, and they were hauling in a rainbow of pollen. Once back in […] Read more

Revisiting the coolest Montana bee house

I love cool bee structures. This set-up was built by Michael Skeels of Frenchtown, Montana. I published photos of this bee house back in October of last year, just as construction was finishing. Now it’s up and running and full of bees. Michael sent this update in response to my post about protecting hives from […] Read more

Thermal images of winter bees

Not once this week but twice, beekeepers have sent me thermal images of their overwintering colonies. Of course both beekeepers were both men—not once has a woman ever sent me a thermal image. I’m not sure why, but I think it’s because men have more cents than sense! These folks remind me of soon-to-be new […] Read more

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