Beekeepers in the snow

It takes a certain type of lunatic person to be a beekeeper. That type of person is prepared to turn up and talk bees, drink tea and eat cake in all weathers, and that includes snow!

Ealing beekeepers in the snow

From left to right: David, Don, Albert, Stan, John and Cliff.

A great selection of hats going on there.

A small amount of beekeeping was also done. This consisted of hefting hives, checking fondant levels were still ok, and looking at a woodpecker hole that had appeared in the bottom of John’s hive. Worrying, as once a woodpecker has learned the habit of drilling into beehives they are likely to try it again. To a hungry woodpecker, our apiary must be like a piñata waiting to happen. John covered over the hole with parcel tape.

Snowtracks III

Are these the claw prints of the culprit? Or perhaps they belong to a seagull or wood pigeon?

Snow tracks

And could these smaller paw prints be those of a squirrel?

Snowtracks II

Naturalist David Craven posted a great idea on his ‘Why watch wildlife‘ blog – taking photos of the prints we find in the snow, and then tweeting them with the #snowtracks hash tag. It’s not often we get to see what creatures have been visiting! Have you come across any snow tracks for David to identify?

Emma photographing the bees

Emma photographing the bees

We peeked inside our hive and the bees were still busy eating through their fondant. Emma took a close-up photo of them – you can see the result on her latest blog post, ‘Snowmageddon‘.

What’s the weather like in your area, are your bees under snow or enjoying sunshine?

About Emily Scott

I am a UK beekeeper who has recently moved from London to windswept, wet Cornwall. I first started keeping bees in the Ealing Beekeepers Association’s local apiary in 2008, when I created this blog as a record for myself of my various beekeeping related disasters and - hopefully! - future successes.
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22 Responses to Beekeepers in the snow

  1. I recognise one face in the line-up.


  2. I love the mystery of the footprints in the snow, I’m sure someone will recognise the culprit.


  3. Love the hats – I want one of each. Not that I’d get much chance to wear them in Sydney, but I want them anyway.

    I don’t understand the photo Emma took. Maybe because I don’t use fondant. So, you took the lid off your hive and there’s some plastic sheeting covering the fondant and you can see the bees through that? Is it normal to takt the lid off hives in cold weather. Here I don’t like to take the lid off if it’s under 20 outside (that’s Celsius which is 68 F for those using that quant old measuring system).

    The weather here is blissful today – should be 25C (77F) as a high and the bees are busy collecting nectar and pollen. 2 days ago it was 45.8 C (155 F) – a new record. I hate that we’re breaking heat records. And so did my bees. Lots of bearding even though we put a mister on them and a sprinkler on the grass in front of them. The plan is to check our hives today to make sure everything’s okay in there, especially after that heat wave.


    • Emily Heath says:

      Hi Laura, yes the fondant comes covered in plastic and we just make a hole in the bottom for the bees and put it over the crownboard. We only took the lid off for a minute to check how much fondant they have left, so it shouldn’t get them too cold. If we could only inspect them when temps were over 20 C that would limit us to a handful of days a year!

      I’ve been seeing your heat records in the news. I find it hard to comprehend what 45.8 C might feel like, the hottest I’ve ever been in is 30’s when visiting the US. Glad things have cooled down a bit for you!


  4. disperser says:

    No bees here, although the weather is unseasonably warm (50F).

    Snow, eh? In the words of a famous (mythical) Australian . . . you call that snow!?!?

    The tracks are nice . . . at first I thought you guys were wearing fancy shoes, but no . . .


  5. Alex Jones says:

    The foraging bees in Colchester I saw a few weeks ago probably unhappy about this snow.


  6. He he! I may tweet a link to that photo of me spying on bees! They did look nice and snug in the hive this weekend. I was proper jel! 😉


  7. milapostol says:

    No snow here, but we’ve had a lot of nights with freezing temps here. One of our hives is out right now foraging and bringing in pollen.


  8. I was just sent a petition which I signed and thought you might be interested – it’s trying to get the EU to ban bee-harmful pesticides. Take a look and see what you think:


  9. It’s mild today here in Devon (and dry) and I saw a bumble bee on mahonia flowers


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