Saturday, January 29, 2011

Whose Tracks are These?

Last week we had a warmer day in the uppers 40's, so I trudged through the snow to see how the bees were doing. The dead bees, that had been cleaned from the hives, were gone! I then noticed some tracks.

I followed them down to the creek and to an old tree, but

they went around the tree, over the creek and into the woods.

I walked back and noticed that the tracks were all around the hive and then they meandered around and finally up to the driveway.

The tracks belonged to an opossum. They are North American's only marsupial and can bare up to 14 babies with 9 only usually surviving. The babies stay in the pouch for about 10 weeks then climb to the mother's back. Opossums have a prehensile tail and play dead when they feel threatened. I wonder if he'll be back for another winter snack next time the bees clean house.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Great Day to Fly!

After a month of cold weather in December, finally on January 1st we had a warm day, with 51 degrees, overcast skies and the ground still covered with residual snow from a snow storm that left 7 inches the day after Christmas. There were yellow spots here and there on the snow and I was curious what they were - perhaps bee droppings? Sure enough, the closer we came to the hives, the more spots there were.

Bees defecate when they fly and this was the first day they had an opportunity to leave the hive. We opened up the hives, gave them some new sugar water, noted that they were very active and had been cleaning house, as there were many dead bees on the ground. Hopefully nothing to worry about. Also, the wind screen was still sturdy and in place.