January is a stern month. The festivities of Christmas have passed and many of us are left feeling plumper and poorer. A time for austerity and cutting back, combined with chilling days that cut through to our fingers and whistle past our ears.
But the bees know that the days are getting longer. Becoming not darker but lighter. Whether bee or human, the winter solstice has passed and spring is coming, if we can just wait a little longer and keep nibbling away in the dark. It was warm for January yesterday, around 11°C (51.8°F), so the bees at the apiary were taking full advantage of this chance to clear their bowels.
Inside the poly nuc, the bees are very active across all five frames. Lots of condensation, so it must be warm in there. I am not sure whether a warm January is a good thing as it will cause them to go through their stores more quickly. They have fondant so I’ll keep an eye out to make sure it doesn’t run out.
In our full sized hive Emma has carried out John Chapple’s trick of putting two Ambrosia fondant bags on top of each other, with a hole punched between them so the bees can get in both. This much fondant should be enough to last the bees until the spring forage begins. Through this sugary double layer I was able to take a photo from above before the bees realised and started flying up.
And just poking out from the apiary ground I found these snowdrop shoots. Told you spring is coming.