ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Honeybees have been excited to get out and enjoy the unseasonably warm temperatures across St. Louis.
“When it hits to be about 50 degrees that’s when you’re going to see honeybees come out of the hive,” Paul Whitsitt, co-owner of Kitchen House Coffee said. “Sometimes I see it when it’s a little cooler. Yesterday was pretty perfect because we hit 50 and we had a nice sunny day.”
As for Wednesday, some bees have been leaving the hive, but not as many. Highs were in the 50s, but the slight change in the weather was to blame.
“Well I think our problem is we looked at the temperature and knew it was going to be over 50 this afternoon, but it also clouded up,” Whitsitt said.”So they are still coming and going, but not in the same numbers as yesterday when we had a lot of sun.”
Kitchen House Coffee co-owners Paul Whitsitt and David Rogers keep bees in their backyard, harvesting the honey for their neighborhood coffee shop and eatery.
The consecutive days of warmth providing relief for both the bees and the beekeepers.
“I thought maybe one of our hives was in trouble because it got close to 50 degrees, and one of the hives, I was seeing a lot of activity and the bees were coming out,” Whitsitt said. “And one of them I wasn’t seeing anything. So, when yesterday hit and both hives were busy, I was really pleased.”
Bees typically hunker down inside when the mercury drops below 45, but the break from the winter chill still essential for the health of the hive.
“The reasons they are coming out in january is they always look for an opportunity to bring a little extra water into the hive, some moisture,” Whitsitt said. “One other thing you’ll often notice when you get a sunny or warm day in the winter, they are going to take the opportunity to bring dead bees out of the hive because there are always bees that are going to be dying in the hive. And honeybees are very meticulous. They want their hive very clean.”
One good thing Kitchen House Coffee took out of 2020 is they harvested over 200 pounds of honey last year, smashing their previous record season of 50 pounds.