Fifty degrees makes a nice day. Unless you have dead bees.

With our balmy Iowa weather, I thought today would be good for housekeeping. I took my bee brush and frame ‘grabber’ to the backyard to clean out the hives.

honeybees in winter
The large fields of white in the outer portion of the frame is capped honey. Since honey will not spoil, this honey can feed the new bees in spring.

I knew the hive had died when I checked them after our second sub-zero spell, the one with all the wind. They look alive, but in fact, they froze in their tracks. Up close:

honeybees on comb
You can see some bee butts in the cells. They headed inside to get warm.

Most of the honeybees were clustered around the food I had provided. This frame was just underneath the food. You can see some of the sugar grains fell on the cells. I spent some time sweeping the dead bees out and rearranging the frames for the package I plan to install in late April.

I was also able to bring this frame indoors.

frame of comb and waxmoths

The silk you see comes from the larvae of wax moths making their cocoons. I set the frame outdoors because freezing temps will kill any remaining eggs. I can now re-use this frame of comb. A closer look for the curious:

wax moths, wax worms, honeybees

And while I am sad about the loss of this hive, I am looking forward with much hope to installing the packages I ordered this April.

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