Snow is covering the ground here, and the bees are all clustered around their respective queens keeping them warm for the winter. Just before the really cold weather hit, Doug installed quilt boxes and inserted winter patties into each hive. Quilt boxes contain burlap and wood shavings that can absorb condensation. Moisture is a killer of bees in the winter. The bee cluster stays about 80 degrees F, and moisture can condense on the inner cover of the hive. The quilt box catches the condensation instead of letting it drip back onto the bees. Most of our bees have lots of stored honey, but the winter patties are an extra source of nutrition just in case they need it. Since the bees are all snuggled in for the winter, I decided to write about what I have been doing to transform my flower garden into a monarch waystation.
Honey bees have the perfect self-governing system. All the bees gladly subjugate themselves to an omnipotent queen. When a queen falters, the members of the colony rally together to produce a new queen. Every action a honey bee takes from the moment of birth until the moment of death is done for the good of the colony. Honey bees are sophisticated, selfless creatures. Humans occupy a higher rung on the taxonomy chart, but in my opinion, it is the honey bee that is more virtuous. For this reason, I become annoyed when honey bees are used for political purposes and that is what happened this month. Continue reading