Monday, January 14, 2013

70 Degrees in January!

The temperature rose to 70 degrees both Saturday and Sunday here in southwest Virginia, breaking records in many localities.    Although I was still recuperating from a bout of flu, I enjoyed the fresh air in the backyard.

I put my dwarf lemon tree outside because it was covered with blooms. 

The fragrance of the many flowers attracted honey bees from my two hives within minutes.

 After a while, the bees were fighting to get to the nectar.  The honey bees use warm days in the winter to clean out the hive of dead bees.  I also observed them collecting water.

 Bees were seen on the heather shrub which has been blooming for about a month.  Heather is about the only bloom in the winter time (except witch hazel, see below). It is not native but an import from Scotland.  It is not invasive thankfully.  In fact, I wish it would grow better because the 9" shrub has only grown to about 30 inches in diameter in 10 years.   Still, it has never failed to bloom in the winter, even with snow.

The bees seemed to be collecting a white pollen (see the pollen sack on the bee's leg here)

I missed when the witch hazel trees bloomed in the woods---probably in December as I saw the whithered yellow blossoms on the trees.

With rain today and cooler temperatures (49 degrees), the bees are back inside their hives.  


  1. Wow! Never thought that i would have an interest in bees, but as a gardener it really means something important to my garden. And, i love to tell people that i have a blogfriend who's a beekeeper. Did not realize that they came out of the hive on warm days. Will watch for them now.

  2. What a lovely post! I love your photos and appreciate your narrative to teach me a little about bees today!

  3. Here in chilly Iowa, very jealous, especially having lost one hive already this winter, which hasn't been exceptionally bad as winters in Iowa can be. Great photos.

  4. It was warm here also. Our dafs and phlox are coming up or ready to bloom. Strange weather! Thank you for your kind comment about my cat.

  5. was warm here in NC as well. Your lemons tree flowers are lovely..wish I Could smell them! :)

  6. I love watching the honeybees. I lost my hive to wax moths..will try again this year.