Taking advantage of the momentary warm up I went out to check on the hive’s honey supply. If it gets too low we will have to install a candy board (big block of sugar) to supplement the food for the little buzzers. As I approached I saw that they were flying today, a good sign, I thought.
When it gets below a certain temperature bees become inactive and form a cluster. In that cluster the bees will ‘shiver’ their wing muscles and produce heat. The queen will often leave single cells empty when laying so that during the cold periods worker bees can back into those cells and heat the little block of larva. One ‘heater bee’ can heat 70 surrounding cells. She can reach up to 111º F for almost an hour, I think. After awhile she will have to feed. Pretty awesome.
When I got closer and I saw the usual smattering of bee bodies around the front of the hive and something I had not seen before. Little brownish yellow dots carpeting the snow.
I looked at the hive and they were around the top and sides as well. When I popped the cover a massive upwelling of bees bubbled up out of the frames and took flight. I started to feel little drops on my hand (I work without gloves) and wouldn’t you know it? More brown dots.
Suddenly it dawned on me.
They are pooping!
Bees do not poop in the hive when at all possible. Finding large amounts of bee waste inside the hive and frames is actually a sign of an intestinal infection that can weaken and kill a hive. They had been cooped up for so long it only seems right that thousands of them decide to take a ‘cleansing flight’ during the hour today when I want to get in there.
Well that was a first, pooped on by bees. It had to happen sometime I guess. On the bright side (if being covered in bee poop is not your idea of a good time.) I saw at least two frames still full of capped honey so I know that they are not in dire need of food. I suppose the massive amounts of shit could have relayed the message just as well. Its always good to be sure, right?
To be continued in Part II. Chicken blood and cornstarch; how you too can run a free clinic out of your bathroom and drive your dogs nuts at the same time.
Thank you for reading and be well!
P.S. I think I should get extra points for not using ‘bee’ for ‘be’ at anytime in this post.
*Shit* Does pointing that out take away the points?! I better go before I can get into more trouble, plus I could really use a shower.