In my blog I plan to chat about nature, crafts, baking, gardening, beekeeping, family, and whatever else seems appropriate at the time. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Honeybees in the winter months...

I am hooking up with Verde Farm today for their Farm Fun Friday. I thought I'd chat a bit about honeybees, since I am the bee lady, afterall.

Honey bees do what they can to survive hot, humid weather, such as it was here in this picture. If it gets too hot and crowded in their hive, they'll hang outside.

In the winter months, when it's freezing out, such as it has been the last two months, they vibrate their bodies to warm the hive.

The problem arises when we don't get any warm weather for a long stretch at a time. The bees cluster around their brood to keep it warm. They will starve to death before letting their brood get cold. So, a warm day now and then in the winter months is critical to a beekeeper. And it's been two months, at least, since we've had a warm day. This Sunday it's supposed to start warming up. And it is supposed to stay warm at least for the week. In the 50's by mid-week. This will be a good time for me to find out if any of my hives have survived this winter so far. I cannot tell you how anxious, nervous, excited I am about this. I am jumping out of my skin right now just thinking about it. I have two bags of sugar waiting to make syrup, and if any hives survived they will be getting fed this mixture. One of the worst things that can happen to a beekeeper is to have his/her hives live through a winter such as the one we are having, only to have them starve to death now. Please say a little prayer for my bees. Last year was tough and I only lost three hives, but this year has been a lot worse than last. I will be doing the happy happy bee dance if any of my hives survived. What is the happy happy be dance? I don't know yet, I haven't made it up, but it might be similar to the chicken dance! s c a r y

And on a side note, I would like to encourage everyone to go buy something... anything... that animals eat. I'm not talking about your pet, I'm talking about nature....deer, birds, etc. Our ground is still frozen from the ice storm last week and the foragers are having a rough time. They're hungry. My husband has seen a lot of deer on our property in the country. So he bought some corn and put it on the ground where he saw the deer. They were eating it within a half an hour! Go to the bread store and buy some old bread or go to the farm store and get some suet, sunflower seeds, peanuts, corn, whatever.... Animals are desperate for food right now. Help them out. They need it, and it'll make you feel good!

Cindy Bee


  1. Such an important post. We do have to think about our animal friends. My brother is starting up his highbush blueberry operation very soon and I periodically go on mini courses regarding all of the farm business and bees are an important element. I really hope you can do a happy dance for everyone's sake.

  2. Thank you for that post! We were city people up until last year and it didn't even occur to me that all the stale bread I've been throwing out could go to all the animals out there!

  3. Fingers and toes crossed for your bees Cindy!

  4. Don't talk to me about BEE's.... I will try to find my old post and the swarm that entered my house for you....

  5. One more idea... go grab one of those silly V.B.s and have a little giveaway. It's a fun way to build your blog up. You know I would play.

  6. I love how you love bees and animal friends....

  7. I hadn't realised that bees vibrate to keep warm. Can a householder keep bees at all. A small dwelling in the UK? I don't know. It sounds so exciting and the honey must be devine.

    Thank you so much for your kind words on my blog (My creative home) My little girls room in now hite and I have been painting furniture. I'll take pictures tomorrow and blog but I'm no longer having a confidence wobble about my creations :)

    Thanks for propping me up. It was just what I needed to hear. Michelle

  8. I received an education about bees today. Thank you...I had no clue! I hope they all survived. All my fingers and toes are crossed for you. xoxo

  9. I hope your bees survive! It sounds like a lot of work. I keep thinking that it would be fun to have bees, but I'm afraid I'd kill them like I do fish, so I'll just have to enjoy your blog!

  10. So nice of you to think of all the wild animals. We've seen deer in our pasture lately. I hope they leave some stuff to grow for us to browse on later this summer.

  11. I hope your bees made it through this cold winter also. We would feed the deer that live around here but there is a ban in our neck of the woods. Its been in place for three years now but I think starting next fall we will be able to again. Some type of disease going on and if they eat together in one place it can spread. We do feed the birds though and the squirrels under the bird feeders.

  12. What a wonderful post. I will be saying a prayer for your hives. I so hope they made it. You are so right about our animals in nature-they need our help right now too. This winter has just been hard for everyone.
    Thanks for linking this great post with FF Friday :)

  13. Hi everyone,

    Thank you for keeping your fingers and toes crossed for my bees. If it gets in the 50's like the paper said it would, then I might know something this week. Especially if the sun shines on their hives.

    Clara, I wish your brother luck in his blueberry business. I find that kind of stuff VERY interesting, so do a post on it every now and then.

    GB - Please e-mail me that post on the swarm. I think next Friday I will re-visit a post on swarms. People confuse honeybees with yellow jackets a lot and they confuse swarms with bees invading a house. Most of the time, if it were a true swarm, you could call any beekeeper and they'd gladly come and get it. And hey, those purses haven't been put in the booth yet so if you want to do a trade for one of those skeins of yarn, I'd trade ya. That is if you like any of the VB's I have. They are older patterns.

    Michelle - you have a beautiful blog so I was just telling the truth. I'm not sure how it works in the UK with bees. We have local Extension Officers and they let us know the 'rules' for our county. It is legal for our county to keep honeybees in the back yard. Each county is different. I live in town and have three hives in my backyard. I would recommend two, but three just happened. We also have hives on our land in the country. And as for the honey is the BEST ever. The BEST.

    Teresa - Hi! welcome to my blog! By the end of summer, you'll probably want a hive or two of your own!

    I would recommend to anyone who is interested inkeeping bees to pursue it. If you decide you don't like it, there are usually enough people getting started in the hobby that they would buy your equipment.

    Thanks to everyone who is helping out nature. I don't think it's a good idea to feed wild animals all the time. I don't believe in turning wild into tame. However, I do believe there are times they need a little help. This is one of those times. The ground here has been frozen for two weeks now.

    Thanks for all of your get well wishes too. I'm feeling so much better! I go to the doc this week to see if the pneumonia is all gone.

    Cindy Bee

  14. Cindy,
    I'm so glad you chatted about your bees bc that's originally drew me to your site. HA! I had forgotten about them bc it's winter.
    That's for the info, I look forward to the "Bee Season"....

    We feed the birds and the outside cat sort of living in the hood!

    We plant plenty of flowers in the summer. Maybe you could make recommendations of plants bees like.....



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