Saturday, December 19, 2009

December snow! And yes, you can tick off guard bees...even in the snow!

Greetings everyone! As promised, I made pictures of the snow storm we had here in the Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina. Not just here mind you...I see Lynn at Walter Bee (who is in the mountains of North the west of me) had a doozy of a snow fall there too. Parts of our state definitely became a winter wonderland overnight -- and weather forecasters are saying that we might, just might, have another system moving in on Christmas Eve!

I decided to make pictures of all sorts of things, including my bee hive, and of course, each picture has a story. You can click on the picture and it will open up in a new browser in a larger size. So here we go...

This one really doesn't need a description. He's everywhere...

Thank goodness that the hummingbirds are farther south for the winter. If they were here now to see this, they would be totally irritated with me. I just have a feeling that I'll need to buy a new feeder before the spring comes.

Fritz, my 13-year-old Dachshund. He is almost totally blind now. He was extremely reluctant to "do his business" in the yard with all the snow, but after a little coaxing, he finally did it. When he was a pup, he loved the snow and would run like a rabbit through it. But today, after being outside for a new minutes and completing the task at hand, he let me know he was ready to go back inside and get under the blanket with Klaus, my 5-year-old Dachshund. By the way, Fritz was a shelter dog and just a baby when I got him. Animal control officers picked him up wandering and he was scheduled to be put down when I rescued him. He's the best dog I've ever had and there will never be another like him.

My snow covered bee hive! When I got to the hive, a bee, who was dying, crawled out and fell on the ground. I figured that others had to be dead inside, probably from the cold, so I decided to take a closer look while I cleaned the snow away from the entrance hole. It was a sad sight to watch her dying, but I suppose it is a part of nature.

As you can see, I was right. There were casualties of the cold lying inside the entrance reducer..all dead. Not wanting the dead bodies to pile up and trap the living bees inside, I cleaned it out as best I could. But here is where it gets interesting. Pay attention to the upper part of the entrance. See it? That's the cluster of bees. While I was raking out the bodies of the dead bees, I heard them tune up a little -- the buzzing started -- and out comes a frisky guard bee. Oh yeah, I had to dodge that one..and she flew within inches of my head. I have no clue where she went, but I hope she got back okay. She still had plenty of light to guide her back to the colony.

This is a sad picture. This is what I raked away from the entrance -- all dead. I know it only seems like a few bees...less that fifty, but it still bothers me. And yes, I know its all living creatures, bees are going to die. But something gnaws at me and I always wonder if I did something wrong. The hive is still bustling with bees on warmer days, so I think they'll do okay for the rest of this winter. But whenever I see dead ones, I tend to think the worst. Maybe its because I struggled with this colony when they first arrived in June. I just don't know. Paging Dr. Freud!

Not wanting to let it get cold inside the hive, I hurried myself and put the entrance reducer back in place, then I cleaned off the snow from the top. Now when the temperature warms up and the girls decide to make their cleansing flights, there won't have anything to stand in their way. Plus the mortician bees can clean the rest of the dead bees out of the hive.

I just had to snap this picture of the creek below the house. This is the same creek that sits just feet from my hive and where my girls get their water supply. The picture would be a lot better if it didn't have that pipe that runs across the creek, but I can't help is part of the city's water system. I understand that several years ago, before I moved here, a tree fell across it and when it cracked the pipe, around 400 people lost water until it was repaired. For the sake of the beauty of the creek, you'll just have to pretend it isn't there.

So there you have it. Some of the pictures I made of the great December snowfall of 2009. I hope you enjoyed seeing them as much as I enjoyed making them!

And now, its off to make some hot chocolate!


  1. I couldn't get to the hives until this afternoon because the gate was blocked by frozen snow. When I cleaned the snow away from the entrance reducers I found several dead bees in each hive. Even after Walter survived a very cold winter last year, I'm still not confident my colonies will survive this cold weather. I think we'll not be much above 30 (if that) for the next week.

    BTW, the parties we're cancelled. I'm so glad we didn't get on the roads. There were hundreds stranded for up to 9 hours on the Interstates thru the Asheville area. Take care and stay warm!

  2. Απο την Ελλαδα απο την περιοχη του Ορους Ολυμπος την Κατερινη,καλα Χριστουγεννα,ευτυχισμενο το νεο ετος,σε ολους τους αγαπητους Αμερικανους,θελω να σε πληροφορησω οτι οταν χιονισει δεν καθαριζουμε τις εισοδους απο το χιονι,δεν εχουν αναγκη,ενω οταν εμεις ανοιξουμε τις εισοδους οι μελισσες ξεγελιουντε και βγαινουν εξω και πεθαινουν απο την παγωνια.

  3. Mark, what I neglected to tell you previously, was that I loved the pix in your post. The one of the cluster of bees is awesome. And little Fritz is adorable. My neighbors in Pine Knolls used to have Dachshounds and they were so much fun to play with. I've had many animals over the years and they've all been strays or pound puppies. They are the best!

    I always look forward to your posts as they are a link to the place I called home for 22 years. Thanks.

  4. HEY EVERYONE! I had to find an online translator to let me know what Evangelos Naxios said above in Greek -- and here it is. I am sure that there are some things missed in the online translation service, but you get the idea..

    " From Greece from his region Terms Olympus Katerini, good Christmas, happy the new year, in the all dear Americans, I want you to inform that when [chionisei] we do not clean the entries from the snow, they do not have need, while when we we open the entries the bees [xegelioynte] and come out outside and die from [pagonia]."

    From me to Evangelos: Σας ευχαριστούμε, Ευάγγελος! Μάιος εσείς και η οικογένειά σας έχει Καλά Χριστούγεννα και μια καλή χρονιά! Ευχαριστίες για την παύση από το blog μου!

  5. At least once you get the driveway shoveled and the streets cleaned, then the snow is kind of pretty. I don't think I'll try cleaning the entrance. I'll leave that to the bees, especially since the guards seem to be 'at attention'.

  6. I'm so jealous of your snow. How exciting to have a white Christmas after so many years without! Have a wonderful holiday! Jess



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