I walk past my hives each morning on these dark rainy days. It is the path I take for the morning routine to feed my chickens. Where the chickens are noisy in anticipation of their breakfast, all is silent at the hives. No movement, no rich smell of honey emanating from the many coloured boxes.
Are they sleeping? Many people ask me this, wondering what is happening with our little pollinator friends. There is much concern for the little honeybee and people want to know how they are faring.
No, is my response, not sleeping, I can’t see them, and will not dare open the hive on these cold days but I know, or at least hope that the bees are in their cluster. They are in the center of the hive, with their precious queen at the center. She takes a break from laying her 2500 eggs a day and rests in a comfortable 30 degrees Celsius, practically tropical despite the cooler outside temperature. So no, the bees don’t sleep, they fan their wings and generate heat, taking turns like the penguins in the frozen south, they maneuver from the inside to the outside of the cluster. I do admire their devotion to each other, what an organized and selfless group! They all work together as they do throughout the year.