My friend Nichol sent this picture of her backyard hive. It’s beautiful, isn’t it? A quintessential image of winter in Canada. Besides being a great photographer, Nichol is a woodworking artisan. She handcrafted the hive equipment in her workshop.
It’s winter here in the north. Today is the day we get the least sunlight – less than eight hours. Even while the sun shines on the bright side of the horizon, it hugs the edge, casting long shadows, even at noon.
Tomorrow will be different. Helios will hand us four seconds more sunlight. But I won’t notice the gift. I wonder if the bees will. They are much more attuned to nature’s whims. In a week, each day will be almost four minutes longer; in a month, nearly an hour. Surely, you, I, and the bees will appreciate that.
Many forces affect our bees – wind keeps them home; flowers draw them out. In cold, they cluster; in heat, they stretch. What about the increasing daylight as winter’s solstice passes? That affects them, too. I kept bees in Florida for a dozen winters and saw egg-laying escalate in early January – even in chilly dearth years when pollen from red maple, willow, and live oak was scarce. Even without a good pollen flow and without warm weather, the days lengthened and the bees responded. We witnessed this in January, in Florida. However, only a sadist breaches a Calgary hive in January to investigate a colony’s welfare. (Which was fine until the irresponsible lout intruded.)
My thanks, again, to Nichol for sharing her wintery photo. I hope that the next few months of cold and snow (for you northern readers) passes pleasantly. Spring is just 91 days away.