Wow, has it ever been cold here the past several days! Lows in the teens are rare for Texas, but we woke over the weekend to an (almost unheard of) 13*F outside. Brrrrrrr!
When the temperature drops below about 55*F, bees will form a cluster in the middle of the hive to stay warm. Temperatures inside the hive need to stay very warm for the bees to function and live, so bees won't "break cluster" until their certain they can live, fly, and the queen can stay warm on her own.
As part of our efforts to naturally control pests in the hive, our hives have screened bottoms -- not solid boards-- on the bottom of the hive. It makes it harder in the winter for bees to stay warm, but it also keeps them from being overrun with pests like the Small Hive Beetle. With this in mind, we're anxiously awaiting the highs in the 70s this week so we check to see if the bees have survived and, if so, how their honey stores are looking.
God save the bees!