Indoor Bees

Sunday, when the snow had stopped, Non Birding Bill and I took a stroll (or trudge in snow boots would be a better description of what I do). It was in the teens and you could see the edges of the lake freezing up. This is a popular destination for gulls right before it freezes. Within twenty-four hours after this photo was taken, someone posted on the listservs that the lake had frozen and the gulls have moved on.

Okay, someone had questioned of the sanity of NBB and I taking a walk in the morning in the single digit temps, well this is what we walk in, the Minneapolis Skyway--we can walk for a few miles without taking a step outside, most of the buildings are connected in some way in downtown.

Just kind of think of it as one of those tunneling systems you can get for hamsters. In one two mile stretch, we pass six different Caribou Coffees--and that doesn't include the other coffee shops, I'm sure we pass between 12 - 15 coffee stops. Most of the snow from Saturday has been cleared around, and just in time, tomorrow we are supposed to get an Alberta Clipper and another 2-3 inches in my neighborhood. I hope it holds off, there's been a report of a great gray owl in Hastings, and I'd like to go look for it after my shift at The Raptor Center tomorrow.

I found some photos that I took last Friday that I took at Hyland--they have an indoor beehive. Mr. Neil and I have kicked around the idea of an indoor hive but have no clue as to how to maintain it without letting bees run amok in his house. I talked to the staff there about how they maintained the hive. They said that because it's such a small box, you have to feed the bees all winter--there's a top compartment, that's kind of an ante chamber so you can put the food there, there's a hole for the bees to access the food from inside, so very few if any get out. So, essentially, these indoor hives appear to be educational tools and conversation pieces, not a means to produce honey.

I opened the side to take a look at the bees on the inside, they were moving slow, but they were moving.

There's a little tube that goes from the hive to the outdoors. It was in the teens when I took this photo, so most of the bees were opting to stay in the hive.

A few would work their way down the tunnel and as soon as they got to the edge the hightailed it back to the hive.

They did have one hive by the bird feeders, and unlike our hives, this one wasn't insulted for the winter--another example of how every beekeeper does something different (and I asked, this is a hive the staff plans to overwinter). I suppose bees in the wilds don't have insulation, so I'm sure it's possible for them to survive without it.

Speaking of bees, I got the sweetest gift at the Paper Session on Saturday--blog reader Kathy gave me some of her own honey from Lake Isle of Innisfree Apiaries--Thanks, Kathy!