After the other article about the fact that the bees are still rearing young in the winter, it wasn't as unexpected as it would have been before. But I was still pleasantly surprised to see the cloud of bees hovering in front of the hive. It made me put on my suit and veil and have John light up my smoker, because I was going to approach a living, active hive instead of the one that was very quiet and didn't have that many bees in December.
So it'll probably go into the freezer at that point, and there's plenty for at least another year, even if I split the hive into two hives and have two in the spring. We'll see how it works out.
It's interesting thinking about what a bee probiotic really is, *laughs* I do love the advertising, though.
So I figured that they were definitely using the things. The only problem was that I couldn't move the original remains, as they were too soft from the warmth of the day! So I had to cut a new patty into strips to try and fit it into the spaces between.
I am glad that they're using them, so it means that they really needed the extras. The bees do keep a little pollen in what they call beebread, and they stuff some cells with the stuff, but here there's no flowers through the winter, so pollen's hard to come by. Therefore, these patties are supplementing the food needed to raise larvae.
There were just a few bees using the front entrance at this point. The others had already oriented, and were gone back inside. The sun had gone to the west enough to leave the hive in shadow, so it was getting gradually chillier.
I had some problems putting the new patty on until I realized that the inner lid actually had a lip of about an inch and a half, not just the width of the rim of the boxes. I had to pull the new stuff back far enough so that the lid could go back on. It was pretty clear, though, that the bees were doing well, and that their numbers have already increased.
There were about a dozen bodies out the front entrance, and one lady was dead on the front edge of the landing board. That was interesting to see, she looked as if she were about to take off, but was so utterly still.
The girls were all pretty active, so I have good hopes for the coming year. It's definitely not looking like they're going to die out this winter, even if it gets cold again. After they survived two cold spells, they're now increasing their numbers, so it's looking good. The more of them there are, the more area they'll be able to incubate, and the more they'll increase. I just hope that I manage to figure out if I should split the hive in March before they decide to swarm.