Unseasonably warm weather helps local beekeepers - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Unseasonably warm weather helps local beekeepers

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The unseasonable warm weather gives a rare opportunity for local bee keepers to check on their hives to see how their bees fared over the winter.

A longtime beekeeper in Russell told Western Mass News that with just eight days to go until the start of spring, everything so far looks good.

Nate Sperry with the Hampden County Beekeepers Association was busy keeping an eye on the hive Wednesday. 

"The first thing I'll do is, when we have a warm spell, is to go into the hives and see how the bees are doing in terms of the population," said Sperry. 

Honey bees survive over the winter by clustering together, and eating reserves of honey.

Sperry told Western Mass News  invasive species of mites over a long winter can wreak havoc on hives.
"Sometimes you'll see just a bunch of dead bees clustered together," he said. 
An unexpected warm day has many benefits for bees that made it through the winter. 

"It gives the bees a chance to fly out, go to the bathroom outside the hive, this gives them a chance to do that. It gives them a chance to reorient themselves onto a food source in the hive so they can find honey to cluster on and then get ready for the next round of cold," Sperry explained.  
With the next round of cold coming in a matter of hours, Sperry leaves a little snack to make it to spring. 
On Thursday the bees will come together and cluster for warmth
Studies show honey bees can't fly when the temperature is below 55 degrees which is one reason why beekeepers in New England are hoping for an early spring.

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