Even though Punxsutawney Phil has declared there are six more weeks of Winter to go, you'd never know it by looking inside one of my beehives. As far as the hive is concerned it is Spring! The queen has been busy for the past few weeks laying eggs. Somehow she has known, despite the long stretches of below-freezing temperatures, that the days are growing longer. This signal has told her it is time to lay eggs, hundreds of them.
Now that there are eggs in the brood nest the worker bees must work hard to keep the bee nursery at 96F to ensure the eggs are warm enough. The bees cluster around the eggs and flex their wing muscles to generate heat. This effort takes a lot of energy. They begin to consume their honey stores at a faster rate. This is a dangerous time for the colony. If they consume their Winter honey stores before the Spring bloom begins then they die. But if they don't keep the hive warm enough, the next generation of bees will freeze. As a beekeeper I try to keep a close eye on things and top up their food stores if needed.
Fingers crossed all is well in the hives!