Hungry for spring

    The Delaware Indians called this lunar cycle the Hunger Moon. Stores of food saved up to last through the winter often weren’t enough, and although the sun is brighter now, the land is weeks, if not months, away from providing again. The phrase keeps coming into my head because I’m worried about my honeybees.

    Since it’s still too cold to crack open the hive, it’s impossible to know whether the bees have enough honey stored to keep them going until the earth wakes up again. Experienced beekeepers make a habit of rocking the hive a little every time they check their bees, to discern its weight. A heavy hive means it’s full of honey. A light hive means that bees have nothing to eat, especially a concern this time of year.

    It won’t be until the dandelions bloom next month that there will be a continuous source of pollen and nectar. Until then the bees will have to find what they can, like this forager, who was trying to get food from some rotten daffodils that had been thrown in the compost.

    There are a few plants blooming now; witch hazels, winter jasmine, and some of the early bulbs. I’m hoping that the bees will find them, and the meager amounts of pollen they collect will keep the colony going for the rest of the month. If I could give my bees a pep talk, I would tell them that the next lunar cycle was called the Pink Moon, in honor of all the spring flowers.

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