Monday, March 4, 2013
The drifts and pushed snow is still way too deep to get out to the North and West apiaries unless I really want to put some effort into it and the mud underneath all this melting snow is treacherous and sticky to say the least. Since we still have rain in the forecast tonight and maybe some snow tomorrow I am not going to refill the feeders and check the other hives until Wednesday but the garden hive was certainly taking advantage of the warmer day by getting out and doing some necessary house cleaning.
The snow for about 10 foot around the garden hive is littered with dead bees and stained with, well, bee waste to put it politely. The girls have been cooped up in their box for weeks now and they needed a cleansing flight badly. There are at least a few hundred dead bodies laying on the snow as some of the girls are not making it back into the hive to warm up but it shouldn't reduce their numbers enough to worry about. I am sure a number of those bodies are also dead bees that needed to be taken out anyway. The sun warms up their little corpses and melts them into the deep snow so all you see at first are hundreds of little bee sized holes in the snow.
So I know my original hive has at least survived this latest Winter attack. There is hope that this Winter won't be a total loss although I do not have high hopes for the last three remaining new colonies. I maybe back to where I started from last Spring at this point and with the losses I have sustained my bet is any swarms will come later than they did last year as well.
With the warmer temps I was also able to let the wood furnace burn out for a good cleaning this afternoon. One that doesn't require smoldering gloves while I do it, I can also take a good stock of my remaining wood supplies and hopefully be able to dig out the remaining large logs that need splitting with a little less work now. At the very least the snow that remains is soft once again and not hardened into sheets of ice granules like it was yesterday.
It's amazing how one marginally nice day with warmer temps can change the entire scenario around isn't it?
This particular series of storms were pretty hard on moral to say the least. An important factor to consider. After the drought last Summer that all but killed hay production and any Fall honey flow we really needed a warm, wet Winter. What we got was a semi-not-really-warm marginally wet Winter but it really looked as if it was going to end early and we could breath a sigh of relief. Just about when even the old timers were about to proclaim 100% certainty we were getting an early Spring. BAM. We got hit with two heavy snow storms back to back and temps in the teens once again.
It was very disheartening and frustrating and aggravated the already growing cabin fever along with stretching out the worry over Winter losses. We were even beginning to see growth buds and early small flowers blooming out before this all hit. Made ya want to tear your hair out.
Tomorrow it looks like they are predicting 30's once again and more snow and rain but no accumulation so we are not out of the woods yet. At least we got a bit of a breather for today though.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!