A Sunny Fall Day
The bees are doing excellent, and have been active despite the dropping temperatures. It’s been getting down into the mid 30’s at night around here, but during the day it’s in the 60’s so the bees are able to travel. Almost every other bee that’s returning to the hive have full pollen baskets. I just hope they’re getting enough honey also. Here are a few shots of them today, because they were a little more active than they have been.
I know it’s difficult to see all the bees, but trust me when I say there’s a lot of pollen in the picture. It’s hard to get too close to the hive anymore, because they’re so aggressive now. Because it’s closer to winter they feel the need to protect their stores more, so they’re more likely to sting you to keep you away. Even crouching down in front of the hive, which use to be easy, is difficult because of the flight pattern of the bees. Standing in the middle of the yard can even be dangerous sometimes, because they tend to fly at or below head level through that part of the yard.
I actually went to check on them tonight, and could smell the hive from several feet away. It’s a smell that’s hard to describe. It’s a warm-woody-waxy-honey smell. Unless you’ve smelled it before, you can’t really understand it. But once you have, the only thing you can really say it smells like is bees. Lol. I got a little closer and could hear them humming. It was surprisingly loud. The entrance was guarded by almost a dozen bees, all of which were humming as well. The way bees keep warm in the winter is by clustering in the center of the hive. They form a sphere around the larvae and eggs, and slowly eat the honey and pollen stores. They move around the hive to get to the other stores. To generate heat they all vibrate their wing muscles. Thus the loud humming.
And of course, there are plenty of dead bees to be found around the yard. The ants usually clean up the bodies, and can often be seen crawling on the hive, but this little bee had yet to be picked up. It was sad yet pretty at the same time.
Alright, so that’s not really honeybee. But they have been all over these. If you look at the outer edge of the flower you can see that that’s all been pollinated.
And then there is the bee-neighbor interaction. Which is always fun to hear about. My neighbors have a plant that’s in bloom right now that the bees love. Over half of the plants purple flowers are occupied by my honey bees during the day. Today my neighbor was out reading her library book on her back porch, and a bee pooped in the middle of the page. Luckily she was just about to finish, and it’s a library book. lol.