It’s January 1st and we had a hard frost last night. The tree branches are all bare and it’s cold, barely 40 degrees if that. Yet it’s sunny out and the bees who live in the north wall of our house are busy flying in and out.
Our other bees that live in hives up in the field are quiet, conserving food and energy through the winter.
Normally in winter on a sunny warmish day the bees will make a “poop run” every few weeks. They make a quick short flight outside to defecate and then hurry right back inside. But these bees are out most every day. The heat from our wood-fired stove keeps the hive warm enough which allows them the energy to have a look around outside whenever the sun’s out.
Winter is when the bees will look for and bring home sap from trees which they use to make propolis which is used as “bee glue” to seal up cracks in the hive and to keep it sanitary and healthy inside.
Have a look at this little honeybee doing her waggle dance for everyone. We took this when we were moving a swarm of bees into a new hive. About 15 minutes into the move, she was so pleased she had to share with everyone that something nearby was making her very happy.
Waggle dances are the way honeybees tell each other when something really good is happening, like flowers in full bloom or pollen galore. The angle and direction she does the dance tell the rest of the bees where to fly to join in. Kind of like giving an address. She’s saying, “When you look at the sun, fly this angle away from it for this long, then look for the flowers.”