A few weeks ago, I noticed that the bees in my observation hive had all died. This is not surprising, due to the fact that there are not that many of them and they are not able to huddle in a large enough mass to actually survive the winter.
That’s what my regular sized bee colonies are doing right now – huddling together in the middle of the hive to stay warm; and, most importantly, keep the queen warm. She’s the one who will kick off the growth of the colony in the spring with her egg-laying, so it is vitally important to the colony to keep her alive.
But back to the ob hive. I wanted to clean it all out so it’s ready to go in the spring, so I opened it up today.
There was a lot of propolis and some dead bees to scrape off the glass and wood. Unfortunately with this style of hive it’s pretty much unavoidable to squish a few bees when installing them in the hive. See in the top photo how the glass opens out? Well, when you dump some frames and a bunch of bees in, they don’t want to stay in the middle for you while you lower the glass. They want to get up and out of there because they are not interested in doing anything you want them to do. So, there are some casualties.
This ob hive served me well; I brought them to the Annual Seedling Sale at Little City Farm, and I ran a few honeybee workshops at my home for families who wanted to learn more about them.
I’m already looking forward to the next season of honeybee education. I love watching kids watch the bees, especially if it’s the first time they’ve been so close to a pile of honeybees.