Hunkerin’ Down

So…I know it has been a while, here’s a long overdue post.

As the Summer has faded into Autumn, and Autumn is quickly fading into Winter, the honey bees are growing less and less active. This past weekend it got up to 60 degrees, and they were happily out and about, but otherwise they have been mostly keeping inside their hive – I’d love to have a camera in there to see how they are clustering around the queen and keeping her warm, how their cluster is moving around the hive, and how they are feeding on their honey stores.

Here’s a photo I had intended on posting about a month ago of the workers pushing out the dead soldiers after the first cold week.

They like to keep their house in order. The number of dead bees has increased as the temperatures continue to drop.

Today, I found this little girl curled up at my side door.

When I poked her with my finger, she didn’t move much. It’s strange that she was just sitting there. This is the third time in the past couple months a single bee has been at my door. My friend shared an interesting Science Friday podcast with me. Listen to the story titled “SciFri 010612” although the release date is 1/9/2012. It’s about how parasitic flies are becoming a problem for honey bees…as if the honey bees needed another thing against them, right?…and causing honey bees to be attracted to porch lights and fly around at night – things outside their normal behavior. It recommends capturing and isolating those bees in case they are infected, and destroying them so the parasitic flies are also destroyed and don’t spread to the rest of the hive (if they haven’t already). I don’t know if this is why the bee was on my door, but my door is white and the porch light had been on. I guess we’ll have to wait and see….