December Bees

Reader Contribution by Betty Taylor

With Winter Solstice and the shortest day of the year just around the corner, the bees have already spent a lot of time in cluster. As I go about my morning chores of chopping up water and haying the goats, I pass by some of the bee boxes and I’ve wondered how they are faring in there. Do they have enough honey to eat? Just like the goats, having enough feed is what will keep them warm and alive through the winter. Are they able to break cluster and take cleansing flights often enough to avoid dysentery and nosema?

It’s tempting to peak inside, but I know I must stay out of the hives in the winter. The bees have worked hard to glue up all the cracks with propolis as winter protection from the elements. They don’t need my interference right now.

Yesterday, we all got a reprieve. A spring-like day after days of freezing weather. Everyone wanted to get out and kick up their heels. The young goats frolicked and play-fought each other. The chickens scratched through the leaf litter in the woods for bugs. The dogs got out and tussled in the yard. Even the once-feral cat followed me on my rounds and let me scratch his ears.

And were those bees flying! Coming and going from every hive! I found bees collecting water at the chicken waterers, at the goat troughs, and along the creek. They were even resourceful enough to find a bit of food. I spied them foraging on the smashed open persimmons that had fallen from the many persimmon trees on the farm! So, for today, the bees are alive and all is well on Persimmon Ridge Honey Farm. Ahhhhhh.

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