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Bees Stay Home as Canadian Snowbirds Flock to Florida

February 22, 2013

While the majority of U.S. bee colonies are hard at work pollinating almonds in California this month, colonies in Saskatchewan are chilling out under the snow. David Westervelt, assistant chief, Apiary Inspection, FDACS-DPI, forwarded these photos from a Canadian colleague, Geoff Wilson.

Unlike the thousands of Canadian snowbirds Florida welcomes every winter, Canadian bees are staying home.

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Find the bees. They’re not in the shed; they’re in the show under those bushes and tehy’ll sepnd the rest of the winter there. colonies will spend the rest of the winter under the show cover.

“The temperature today when I was taking the pictures was a balmy -4F, but we have been to -36F a couple of times this winter,” Wilson wrote. “There are a few dead bees on the snow – a good sign, but I am not really sure how they got out.”

The colonies are stacked two high and wrapped together in blankets of insulation underneath the heavy show cover. They will stay there until the spring thaw.

Westervelt said colonies usually make it through the Northern winter just fine. One danger is a build-up of moisture, which can make  it actually rain inside the hives, causing the bees to freeze.

Wilson sent the photos after Westervelt sent him photos of bees in warm and sunny Florida being loaded for transport to warm and sunny California for pollination duty.

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