It's a new year and the bees have been doing their winter thing. They have spent the first part of this year tightly clustered inside the hives. In fact, they have spent the last month or so in tight clusters. There were a few days at the end of November when we had some temps warm enough for the bees to clean out some of their dead. Since then, however, I don't think a single bee has stuck its head outside the hives. We have had a few weeks of temps hovering around zero degrees F and only a few days at or above freezing. With the cold weather I have not seen any yellow spots in the snow- they have not been able to get out for any cleansing flights. They can sure hold it for a long time.
I walked over to the hives on New Year's Day and brushed the drifted snow out of the entrances. As I was bent down near the entrance I could hear the buzz from the cluster without knocking on the sides. I am not 100% sure but I think that is good news. I am pretty sure it means that since I could hear them so easily the bees must still be down in the bottom deep hive body. Bees usually start the winter in the bottom of the hive and move up as they consume the honey they have stored. Since they are still in the bottom, they still have the upper deep and the medium super to get them through the rest of the winter.
Here is what the hives are looking like on this cold January day.
I hope everyone had a good 2010 and that 2011 will be even better!