A Few Dead Bees Already

I don't think I will ever get used to seeing the first dead bees of winter.

After a summer full of blooming flowers, ladybugs and bees, we barely had a fall 2014 before record low temperatures hit. Usually bees, and the garden, have a chance to ease into winter. This year, we went straight from sunny 70F to overcast in the teens the next few days. Not all bees made the transition.

They are usually piled up against the sealed entrance, workers bees that for whatever reason don't make it to the next day. In summer, worker bees live for 6 weeks. In winter, they may live up to 6 months or as long as it takes to pull the colony through winter.

If a bee hive has only a one-bee width entrance, dead bodies can keep live bees from leaving the hive to relieve themselves. 

To make sure they can move around, all of the hive "entrance reducers" have to be removed and dead bees moved out of the way.

If I don't get all of them, not a problem, the "girls" will methodically clean up. First, though, they have to have a way to move in and out of the bee hive.