The first below weather of the winter finally came to town here in Minnesota. The temperature dropped below zero last night for the first time this year. The temperature this morning in the “Lone Wolf” hive was 35 degrees Fahrenheit (1.6 degree Celsius) in their third box with the outside temperature at a minus 15 below zero Fahrenheit (-26 degree Celsius). These bees, like the majority of our hives are clustered tightly in their second box out of sight, hopefully with an ample supply of honey and pollen. I mention pollen because of our unusually mild winter, the chances are very good that the queens in many of our hives have been laying some early brood that will consume some of their spring pollen supplies.
And then there are our first year Russian bees. The high temperature never got above zero degrees Fahrenheit today. Toward sundown, I detoured to one of our apiary yards that only has our Russian hives in it. I have read some articles that speak of how resourceful and resilient Russians bees are. But I had a hard time believing my eyes when at -5 degree Fahrenheit (-20.5 C) with a strong wind blowing off the frozen tundra, these incredible little bees were hanging out around their top entrance soaking in some of the weak January sunlight. I noticed they would rotate in and out of the top entrance at a slow leisurely pace. Not a care in the world, still checking things out, looking for spring. This cold wave is supposed to last for a week or so before it breaks. We will then have to do an inventory to see how all our hives made out during this current cold snap. Not worried about the Russian bees. They are going to be alright. Russians don’t care about freezing in their tracks. They had winter figured out long before we did.