miscellaneous musings

Winter thoughts

Darkness continues to creep in as our daylight hours are shorter and shorter, but not for long; the winter solstice is just around the corner. At noon today the temperature was pushing 54 degrees; dark, heavy cumulus clouds hurried across the sky being carried along by cool winds from the northwest. At times the rays of the sun would pause for a moment with their warming embrace.

Along the sheltered edge of the hay barn there is a little patch of dandelions making a very early appearance due to the above normal temperatures that we have enjoyed for the last few days. To my amazement I noticed bees, almost a quarter mile from their hives, busy gathering pollen from the yellow flowers. Notice the orange pollen on her pollen sacs. In a make-believe world I can just imagine the bees encouraging each other saying, “Hold on girls, we still have some rough weather in front of us, but we have a pretty day today, we can do this.”

I made a walk-by inspection of the hives during a particularly sunny period and found all were very active, even the small nucleus colony that I am trying to carry through the winter. After a most wonderful day, my wish is that the spirit of hope, of joy, of peace and of love embrace each of us as we travel along our different roads. . . .”

David Robertson
Tallapoosa, Georgia


  • I stood by my hives and watched my girls bring in pollen. I thought how industrious and clever to get out in mid-50s and find pollen. It also means I have queens who are busy as well. Amazing critters.

    Fortson, Ga

  • Thanks for a sign of hope, Rusty. Best wishes for the solstice, Christmas and the New Year!
    Shady Grove Farm

    “There are no un-sacred places, only sacred places and desecrated places.”
    Wendell Berry

  • I checked my hives Saturday with high 50’s weather and removed the Apistan strips that I had put in late fall. All 3 were flying and lots of honey stores. My sticky boards had no mites on them either. ( I cleaned them a couple weeks ago and replaced them.) Maybe the late placement of strips helped? Let’s hope our bees have a good Christmas along with the rest of us and fly again in the spring.

    Best wishes

  • Anyone heard of CERTAN for wax moth control? I finally found some and I’m trying it for the first time this year. I have never lost a hive to anything but wax moths. I’m hoping it all i’ve read it to be.

  • 54 degrees F would be wonderful! we’ve been to -30 degrees C already this year! Our girls are snuggled in for the winter and only come out when it warms up to freezing…

  • It’s hard to explain to those that aren’t involved with bees how it feels to see the girls out buzzing in all their glory. I always feel so excited and at the same time soothed. I love being a beekeeper!

    • Lyn,

      From Clemson University: “B401, a microorganism, is a product manufactured by Vita-Europe Ltd. for the biological control of wax moths, but it is not currently registered for use in the US. The product is a bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies aizawai that is manufactured specifically for wax moth control in stored comb. The material is formulated to kill young wax moth larvae as they attempt to feed on comb and must be used as a preventive before combs are infested. B401 leaves no residue on comb and it is harmless to bees and humans. Some other strains of Bacillus thuringiensis are toxic to bees and humans, so beekeepers must resist the temptation of using other BT products. B401was marketed in the US several years ago by the trade name Certan®. The product directions called for a mixture of one part Certan® to 19 parts water to be sprayed on both sides of every frame for effective wax moth control. Once mixed the solution must be used the same day. One application of the product gives wax moth protection in stored comb until the next season.”

      Note that it is only to be used on stored combs, not in an active beehive.

  • I am reading this 5 years after its original posting and could not help but comment, what a lovely, lovely post. It absolutely made my day. sk

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