Warm pre-spring sunshine and the bees are buzzing

A little dead bee I found on a leaf outside the entrance of the hive
Earlier on in the week I stopped by the Beehaus to see how my bees were getting on. It was zero degrees and sleeting so I wasn't going to hang around for long. There was no activity whatsoever and when I hefted the hive it felt a lot lighter than what I remember. I quickly got back into my car and had a little panic. But really I knew this was normal because in February the queen starts laying eggs which means the bees are making inroads into their winter stores.

But as I didn't hear a buzz or see a single bee I did still feel a bit panicked however today I had a great Facebook message from my Beehaus landlady Sarah who said: “I would like to report that the bees are enjoying some spring sunshine :)” Yay that means they are out and about and if they are taking pollen into the hive that indicates increased brood-rearing activity. Great news!

So, when my husband came back from work this afternoon, I jumped in the car and went to say hi. It was lovely and spring-like in Sarah's garden but the temperature had dropped quite a lot from earlier in the day, so there were no bees coming in and out of the entrance. I lifted the roof and saw a really amusing sight – they had made huge inroads into the slab of fondant I'd left.

I stood for ages watching them through the cling film (the fondant is wrapped in cling film so it doesn't dry out) and I could see them quite clearly feeding off the fondant. There was also quite a bit of buzzing, which was great to hear.

I thought that as there was still quite a lot of fondant left, I wouldn't change it as it was rather chilly outside and didn't want to swap it for another letting cool air into the hive (I hope that was the right decision). One thing I did notice once I'd put the roof on was all the dead bees lying on the ground outside the entrance of the hive.

But before I started panicking too much about this, I remember reading that this is normal as bees naturally only live for a few months over the winter so some don't make it all the way through to the Spring. If they die inside the hive, the other bees will shoo them out. But being a newbie beekeeper, I would appreciate it if any experienced beekeepers out there could tell me if this is too many dead bees and a reason for concern?

Hopefully not though, as my bees and I have come so far together through a difficult year that I'd love to see them thriving in the Spring and I know that there is an oil seed rape farm nearby that they will enjoy.

Oh and by the way, I made my beehive cake again but this time I made little marzipan bees to go with it. Bee-utiful if I may so myself :)


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