The Transition Wayland BEElieve group met yesterday in my apiary, aka the “bee yard”, that is, in the close vicinity of my one hive (soon to be three!), for the first hive opening of the year. This is a cross post with the one I posted on the Transition Wayland blog, called “Wayland Voices“.
“See how sweet they are?”
The balmy weather on Wednesday, March 8, allowed me to open my hive for six of the folks in the BEElieve group who are thinking of getting started with bees themselves. A close up sneak peek of a colony is always a good way to get the feel for what you’re looking at. (All photos by Margie Lee)
This was the first time I opened the hive since November last year, and usually the bees are a bit defensive at this point, because they’re also old bees. In Summer a worker’s lifespan is between 15 and 38 days. Because there is no brood-rearing in Winter (bees don’t hibernate, but they do cluster, which takes all their energy and makes them immobile), so because there is no quick turn-around of generations, the workers that go into Winter with their queen live to be around 140 days. Isn’t that amazing! These bees are stressed, to say the least, due to their age, the difficult time during which they’ve kept alive, because they may be low on honey stores, and because the life of the colony depends on them. Brood rearing has started (if all went well) around the Winter Solstice, and it will be up to these veterans to bring that first new generation into the world.