Apparently Mother Nature is having some issues. The Washington D.C. region has gone from frigid nights to almost-spring back to frigid nights. Today it’s predicted to be in the 80s.
The flip-flopping of weather patterns is murder on people’s nerves and immune systems.
Unfortunately, our honeybees suffer the same maddening frustrations with the weather as we do. By this point, most clusters in the area have broken and foraging is happening in earnest. The sudden appearance of a cold snap causes not only confusion, but can be deadly to a hive. The bees, which had months to prepare for this past winter, are caught off guard and may not re-cluster in time to stave off the freezing temperatures.
Many keepers lose a hive during these periods and there is little we can do to prevent it. No amount of feeding or nurturing can prepare the bees for a cold snap and the best we can hope for is that they can figure things out in time.
But bees are hardy little insects and have survived worse catastrophes. They live in rough climates from the chilly woods of the arctic to hot and humid latitudes near the equator. There are no keepers in the wild, so they have to find for themselves when it comes to pollen, nectar, and dealing with funky weather patterns.
Ultimately, all we can do is our best to help the bees, but recognize that sometimes elements are outside our control. Maybe it’s a wild cold snap or maybe it’s a disease that we cannot prevent. No matter what, as long as we work hard to ensure the bees are healthy and happy, everything else is up to chance.