Winter Solstice 2014

Did you notice that the sun lingered in the sky an extra minute today before the sun sank into the horizon?

You may not have, but odds are the queens in each of my hives did.

The winter solstice marks the day with the shortest amount of sunlight all year. For the next couple of weeks, every few days we'll gain an extra minute of sunlight at dusk.

Then after January 1st, we'll gain about 1 extra minute of sunlight each day! Don't believe me? Check out the website of the US Naval Observatory and plug in your state/town.

While some perform annual rituals like making a trip to Stone Henge to watch the sun rise in perfect alignment over the stones and to touch the sacred rock, the honey bees are performing a very different ritual.

The queen, able to detect that the daylight is getting longer each day, begins to lay eggs again after several weeks of no brood.

The hive will start with a small patch of brood to raise new bees to replace the ones that have died during the winter. As the weeks progress the queen will raise larger and larger size brood patterns so that when early spring arrives, the hive has plenty of new bees to forage for food and pollen.

I'm not much of a winter person myself. I love being outdoors when the weather is for me, I'l be greeting each morning for the next couple of winter months knowing that the amount of daylight is slowly growing and will eventually yield to another great year of beekeeping.

Happy Winter Solstice!

Comments For This Post: (1) | Post Your Comments! Hide The Comment Form
Tim says...
Date:   January 5, 2015, 4:25 pm

Unfortunately for me, if your days are getting longer, mine are getting shorter and I can bet my queens will know this too.

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