It's been in the 60s for several days this year. Unfortunately, they've either been rainy or I've had plans... so we couldn't get into the bees. Finally, today, the stars aligned and we finally got to have a peek for the first time since... well, I forget. November? At that time, we weren't sure they had enough honey stored for winter, so we've been feeding them off and on with heavy sugar syrup.
The hives are 1/4 mile down the road at my neighbors house, so I don't get to see them out and about on those nice days. So when I arrived this afternoon and saw them flying around and in and out of the hive, I was thrilled. They were all loaded up with pollen!
We were absolutely thrilled to see that we had eggs. Although we didn't see them, it confirms that both queens are alive and well. If you click on the picture above, you'll be able to see the tiny eggs in each of the cells.
This picture doesn't do it justice, but I just gasped when we pulled this frame out. It was absolutely gorgeous. What you're looking at is all different kinds of pollen, which will be used to feed the brood. I encourage you to click on this picture and get a better view.
I came home absolutely thrilled... like a mother who got to see her kids after a long separation, relieved to see that they were doing well.
Right about now, I am feeling incredibly grateful and blessed that we got into our hives and found them thriving. Tonight at our monthly Beekeeper's Guild Meeting, members were abuzz about the number of hives lost. Many beekeepers have lost multiply hives so far this winter. The bees just disappeared, leaving behind frames full of honey. One lost 4 out of 10 of his hives.
Someday it will be us. Beekeeping is like farming, and some years are better than others. There will be mites and beetles and Nosema Virus, and probably CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder). It is impossible to avoid. But I am grateful that so far, our girls are okay. They've got plenty of food-stores to get them through the rest of the winter, even if it gets colder (or, should I say, ESPECIALLY if it gets colder. They actually eat more in warmer weather because they are out flying and not huddling in the hive.) And we have eggs! That makes it a heck of a lot easier for them to raise a new queen if something were to happen. Fingers crossed for the rest of the winter... February can be brutal.