It's just warm enough for the bees to fly today. They have been cooped up for several weeks, due to the extremely low temperatures (from about 10C to -5C). Today is about 13C (at the time of observation), overcast, with light winds.
There were quite a few dead bees in the snow around the hive a week ago. I presume they came out in response to a sunny warmish day - and found that it was colder than they thought [sic].
Did they take off and then crash and die? Or did they come in for landing and not make it onto the landing board? But for sure, when they hit the snow, they were doomed.
All the books say is "They will come out to defecate and then return to the hive". They don't say "Some bees will have suicidal tendencies".
So I continue to observe, learn and puzzle. The more I see, the less I know. However, I am relieved that they are still in the hive in good numbers. They have plenty of food (see previous blog on giving them some Apifonda - like bakers' fondant icing). So all bodes well today.
I must get a good thermometer to record the temperature at which various behaviours occur.