Sunday. Winter is back! I can't believe it! Freezing temperatures and snow, and freezing wind! What happened? Must be because I took that bee cozy off! I pilled on all my winter gear and went out with the idea of putting the bee cozy back on. However, I had left it by the house to air dry, and was full of snow and ice. After leaving it indoors for an hour or so to warm up and dry off, I tried again.
When I arrived at the hives, the sun was out, but it was cold and windy. No bees to be seen. Since it was so cold, I didn't want to open the outer lid to put the bee cozy on (which is what you are supposed to do). I imagined I would end up with a lot of bees taking off, and then getting cold and croaking. I had put it on over the lid with Chris' help (brother-in-law) last November, so I decided to try it again. Hmmm... not so easy!! Had to tug at each corner of the lid where it was getting stuck, then tug on the next corner, round and round and round the hive, over and over, until after about 30 mins of this (and a muddy path worn around the hive) I finally got it on! At one point,at the beginning, I took it off and gently lifted the lid to see if that might be the best way after all. I saw a mass of bees flowing up to the inner lid, looking rather irritated, so I closed it quickly and continued trying it the other way. Unfortunately, a few bees did come flying out the bottom entrance, all full of purpose. But within 20 seconds, started to slow down, and by 30 seconds, curled up and looked dead. I pried them up and stuffed them back into the entrance, but they probably didn't make it. I was glad when I got the bee cozy back on and I could leave them alone.
I had a look at the other hive that still had it's bee cozy on. I noticed there was a little cluster of bees around the little hole under the outer lid. They were protected from the outside air by the sides of the bee cozy that sticks up and out at that point, and the overhang on their hive roof that I had put there. Looks like some of them had emerged from there during the day, then realized how cold it was, and formed a little winter cluster there. I knew the temperature was going to drop into the teens that night, and I had a feeling those bees were going to have a hard time surviving. I wondered if they were able to move enough to get back into the hive.