When bees freeze ... it's not a good outcome. I took some time off last week to meet up with my family for our annual camping get-together. I live in California and my family lives in Oregon. We always meet somewhere in-between, usually at a campground near Redding. This year, we met at Trinity Lake.
We arrived a little later than anticipated, largely due to the fact that my Mapquest map was about 26 miles off course and we got lost. Note to self, when it comes to remote areas, look at a real map. It was almost dark when we were done setting up our tent and soon after we went to sleep.
The morning after we were sitting around drinking coffee when we noticed something very strange and eerie. There were thousands of dead bees clinging to trees, ropes and buildings. Their backs were split, their bodies were hollow and most were missing their heads as well.
We spoke to the manager of the campground to find out what happened. We were told that there had been a particularly hot couple of days in the late Spring when all of the bees came out of their underground nests. One day, within a couple of hours, the temperature dropped 50 degrees and the bees didn't have enough time to get back to their nests. They froze. When their insides froze, their bodies expanded and their backs split open. We were told that all of Trinity County was affected by this freeze, could that mean hundreds of thousands of bees?
When we cooked over the campfire, the usual company of bees were not present. I only saw one bee the entire 4 days we were there. I'm not sure what the long term impact of this occurrence is, but I can only imagine that it can't be good.
© Copyright 2010, Cynthia Larsen, When Bees Freeze