Monday, October 3, 2022

October bees, the start of winter.


Here's a video I took with a cheap endoscope of bees clustered inside the hive entrance on a cool day.  The left side of the hive is blocked off because the weather has turned colder and the bees don't need as much room to come and go.  This hive is strong but it's also peak robbing season and I have seen some fighting on the landing board so, just to keep things civil the entrance has been reduced by about half. 

I really hadn't expected to see this when I peered in there.  It's not like the weather is super cold, but it's cold enough to cause these bees to cluster or beard.  I can only guess that these bees are here to block drafts from entering the hive. 

I've spent a lot of time observing in both the conventional and unconventional ways with cameras, sensors and my own senses. This gives me some insight that maybe bees don't really require extreme temperatures to start thermoregulating in complex ways. 

It seems that right now the bees are well past producing summer bees and closing down on the production of winter bees.  These kinds of superbees will live many times as long as summer bees and be able to use fat as a fuel. This is required to raise the new bees in the darkest and coldest winter that will emerge into the spring to forage for nectar. 

In a week or two, by halloween for sure, the production of brood will stop completely. The bees will forage a bit but not for the most part they're closing down. They look good, largely pest free, and well set up to survive the winter.  The next big milestone is dandelions.  If this hive lives to see dandelions there spring experiment when they swarmed out of their hive will be successful.  This two year old queen who will have laid hundreds of thousands of eggs from a single mating flight will have won.

I love a swarm hive more than any other kind.  They're mutts, they're fighters, they're optimists. Who could not love that.  

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