While we had our snowshoes on yesterday we trekked over to the part of the field where the beehive sits. Even in these -22 degree temperatures, the bees generate enough heat inside the hive to stay warm and alive. The snow had accumulated in front of the "door" at the bottom of the hive and that needed to be cleaned away. You see if it happens to get warm enough, they will want to leave the hive for a bit to go to the bathroom, but they can hold it the whole winter if they have to. Unfortunately, a little bit of banging on the hive caused two of the "guard" bees to come out and have a look at what was going on. These little protectors probably ended up sacrificing themselves at our expense, unless there were paramedic bees that came down to provide medical attention to them?
Strange how working in cooperation with these bees actually makes you sad to see two of them die. I am going to suggest to the grandfather who knows everything that he should put some R-19 insulation around the hive. Or maybe there is a reason why he didn't already.
Of course, there is a bit of selfishness in hoping these guys stay happy and healthy all winter; a double batch of their glorious golden honey.