Sometimes on a Winter Fly Day very few bees come out of the hive. Then only briefly to drop off dead bees or to take a cleansing flight. Today, however they are spilling out in droves. At 55f in the shade it looks like a mid Autumn day out there with the bees flying out of the yard looking for any remaining pollen. Tomorrow is forecast to being even warmer. Which will be a great way to start 2011.
This year i started tracking the fly days. They're listed on the calendar at the bottom of the blog page. I don't know if it will lead to anything but it's worth watching for now.
This is the first fly day this month. The poor girls have been stuck in their hives since before Thanksgiving. Today's temp was in the high 40's. Not to warm but enough for the bees to break cluster & preform hive maintenance. Cleansing flights and dead bee removal is all i could see. I'm sure they were all getting into honey cells they couldn't reach before.
"Bring Out your Dead"
Under the entrance of each hive was good sized pile of bees; Winter attrition. Mary was flying first with a good number of bees. Myrina came out later with as many bees though. I used a stick to pull out the dead bees stuck in the entrances. Myrina seemed to have more piled behind the reducer. Can't tell if that is a sign of a problem or not.
The Sun coming out helped them the most. We have a few more sunny days in the forecast so maybe they can fly again tomorrow.
As expected there was good sign of cleansing flights. I say good because it didn't look like Nosema. No great large stain in front of the hives. Just tiny individual spots all around the yard. If it were warmer they could get a little farther from the hives. Which would be nice. But its still cool so they're staying close. Good thing the paint doesn't stain!
I had to open the entrance a little more for Myrina's bees to get all the dead out. I hope she's not going under. We will see...
Here is a great detailed shot of a younger bee taking a stroll outside.