Hundreds of young bees were making test flights in the crisp sunshine. They do this to orientate themselves to the hive before making their first solo foraging flight. Having worked out the coordinates (they use the sun) they can venture for miles and always find their way back home.
I collected 3 eggs from the run and returned to the kitchen with the lightest step. Sunshine just does the trick. Every time.
I nipped upstairs to say goodbye to Danny before I left for work and stepped into the gloom of our bedroom. The curtain is gossamer thin. It just diffuses the light so it is often left undrawn for days. This morning I wanted to let the sun burst in and warm every crevice. I drew the curtain back.
Although I knew that we had a cache pot with two chunky amaryllis bulbs in bud, I was amazed.
One immense, magnificent head had finally opened. As we have these and the promise of three more buds, we are at the start of an extended flowering period that should last at least six weeks.
By then the young bees that I saw testing out their wings this morning will have died. Life expectancy at this time of year is short. They emerge after two weeks working in the hive – cleaning out cells and nursing. After an average of four foraging weeks their wings wear out and they die, generally in the fields.
The life expectancy of a worker honey bee in a winter colony is far longer as the weather affects foraging opportunities. Bees don’t like flying in windy weather. They can’t fly in wet weather and freezing weather keeps them indoors. Some bees can survive for four or five months.
If you hear a low melodious buzzing from a hive on a frosty day they are inside and clustered together keeping warm. The hum is the beating of bee wings to circulate the warm air that they generate.
Amaryllis and honey bees. We’re so lucky to see them blooming.
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