The wintertime is rough and I knew that getting into beekeeping. Keeping them strong and alive through the winter was the most important part of the process. However, we didn’t really expect a sharp -10º average drop in temperature for a week… or two? Idk how long it was. It felt like years of living in the negatives.
All the beekeeping people told me it was fine. The only reason I joined the beekeeping club in the first place was to make sure I knew what the hell I was doing for wintertime. Of course that was the one meeting I missed, but thankfully Pete from work was there and he told me what happened. The head of our beekeeping club also emailed me with important information.
However, I checked the hive one day to wipe off some snow from the entrances and maybe get a feel for how they were doing. The bottom entrance looked fine. It was swept clean with dead bees chillin’ at the bottom, which is normal. The top entrance had a bit of snow in it, so I poked my finger inside and pulled the snow out only to feel my finger hit something hard.
I took out my phone and turned on the flashlight (this was after work) and peeked inside the hole only to find that my finger had hit solid ice.
But it wasn’t just ice. Bees were frozen inside of it, with what I imagined to be horrified expressions. Oh, no. Fuck.
My heart started racing. Are all my bees dead? What did I do wrong? Ice isn’t supposed to form inside, especially not that much. Should I whittle it away as much as I can? I can’t open the hive. It’s way too cold.
I emailed my beekeeper club person with the subject: “Are All My Bees Dead?”
I couldn’t hear them buzzing (I usually can, even though it’s faint). It was silent. It sounded like death. BEE DEATH OH MY GOD OH NO HOLY SHIT
I was so sad. I was so freaked out. I didn’t know what to do. What should I do? What can I do?
My beekeeping friend emailed me back with a sad message. She said that the cold snap probably didn’t do the bees any good, that it’s a hard winter. IT WAS ONLY JANUARY. She said I would need to wait until it got into the 50s before I could check.
So it’s not in the 50s yet and I’m waiting and I’m trying not to get my hopes up. They could still be alive. They could still be okay. I hope they’re okay 😦
I hope they didn’t freeze because of the sugar I gave them on top of the newspaper. Probably not, right? I don’t know. I really don’t know.
To be continued…
Photo of me enjoying the winter in Vermont before I found out all my bees might be dead.