Bubble Wrap Those Bees Bubba!

Today on NPR, I learned that the phrase “polar vortex” was not  a cool word.   Apparently, we misused it all last winter.   So, how do I give a dramatic explanation of how cold it is…how about “it is as cold as a titches wit!”    Forgive me, memories of my mother and her wicked personality seem to pop up more regularly as I get older.

I’ve been sitting working at my desk today fretting about my bees.  I had meant to go out at lunch and buy duct tape so that I could wrap them tonight.  Instead, I slugged through payroll and ate at my desk.    So….at about 4:30 pm today, I stuck my head in my bosses’ office — his name is Ken — and asked “do you mind if I leave 10 or 15 minutes early, I need to work with my bees.”    He looked at me like I was crazy…who works with bees when it’s freezing out outside?     I’m sure he thought I said “do you mind if I leave 10 or 15 minutes early, I need to learn my ABC’s” or something. At any rate, he turned me loose.

I got home just in time to start working with the bees before it got dark, but a miracle occurred and Mike had already done it.   Obviously, he found the duct tape that we lost.   And look…he wrapped my beehives.    Mike must want something, because he is not a beekeeper or bee lover.   He reminds me of a word that NPR says word people want returned to our English dialect…he’s a rapscallion.    

Hive 2

I inspected his work.  I checked to make sure he left an air hole at the top…it’s important to maintain ventillation.   Check!  A+!    If air gets trapped in the hive with no exit point, condensation can occur which turns into icey drips on the bees.

Hive Upper Vent

And they must have a small opening to do their housekeeping duties..like remove waste, dead bees, etc. A+ again!

Hive Exit Vent

Compared to my set up last year…this looks quite neat!!  I’ll go out tomorrow and make sure that plastic has not slid down.   Here’s last year’s set up.  Shanty town — but remember, it was -8 degrees and my bees lived.

Wintering Bees 1

This plastic bubblewrap should really help.   I have not always lived in this pretty yellow house on the hill.  I’ve lived in mobile homes at different times in my life, and I remember the difference in the inside after I put plastic on the windows.  It was pretty dramatic.  I’m hoping this extra bit of insulation during the nights when we’re in the single digits with windchills that are even colder will help the bee team inside keep their queen comfortable at about 90 degrees.   They cluster around her to keep her warm.

Likewise, Mike knows how much I value living in a warm house.   The Central Boiler woodboiler heats both our house and the guest house.   He keeps it at about 180 degrees at all times.   This queen–that would be me–likes a toasty 70-71 degrees, and I have no guilt washing with hot water.    It also is so much quieter than the heat pump which truly sounds like a train.

Central Boiler

Are you staying warm during this Polar Vortex cold spot?

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