Monday, June 14, 2010

The Cool Returns

The cool weather and the lack of warm days is killing honey bees in our area.

After a decent weekend, things are going downhill again.

First, as indicated by the chart below, we failed to reach 75F this weekend and thus we are completely smashing the 75F record...we are now the latest of all years in getting to 75F (old record was June 9). And it is going to be a while before we do so.
Today I was talking to a bee-keeping friend of mine who lives on Bainbridge Island. This weekend he went outside to check his hives and found a thousand bees dead on the ground in front of them. Why? He believes they starved to death because of the cool weather. Honey bees like the temperature to be 57F for them to fly around actively and this year such periods were rare. Now he is feeding them sugar water to keep them alive. That does not make quality honey.

Tomorrow a strong cold low will move over the region...so cold the National Weather Service put out a special statement about snow above 5000 ft. Here is the upper level (500 mb) map with shading indicating temperature. I would be thinking about snow in Seattle if it were December and I saw this pattern.


The bees are not going to be happy campers. Our temperatures will be 5-10F below normal and there is a good chance of light showers over the region tomorrow. And Wednesday won't be much better. But drying and warming is expected this weekend.

Finally, if any of you are interested, I will be one of the instructors this summer (August 5-8) at the North Cascade Institute's Northwest Naturalists Weekend: Weather, Wildfire and Biodiversity. I will provide a series of talks on NW weather and the other instructors will be talking about effects of wildfires and about lowland forests. Plus, hikes and canoe trips and good organic food in a beautiful location. For more information go to:

http://www.ncascades.org/programs/seminars/course.html?workshop_id=1018


15 comments:

Gary said...

Ugh. Apparently the weather gods require more than just a new coastal Doppler radar to be appeased.

JewelyaZ said...

(looking around)... still haven't planted my tomatoes... I swear I'm doing it next weekend, no matter what.

I wonder if I'll have to hoop-house them in October so that I can harvest for Thanksgiving? ;-)

Michael said...

Bee-pocalypse!

Raillynn said...

Saddest picture ever! While I do love this weather myself, I know that all the plants, bugs, and beasties are counting on the season to change.

smokejumper said...

Unofficial numbers for Sea-Tac. Cliff knows how to get the accurate numbers but I found so far Jan-Jun max temps.. 51,53,54,56,61,65. Spread 14 degrees.

Average 45,49,52,58,64,70. Spread 25 degrees. Something to think about.

Ailey said...

The bee news is very sad indeed, as is the picture. Poor critters.

Justine said...

It's true about the honey bees, I'm a beekeeper and it's been too cold for our honey bees to pollinate our raspberries just 30 feet away from the hive. Sigh...

The bumblee bees are however enjoying the feast and prooving to be good pollinators.

seawallrunner said...

poor little bee. I want to rub its belly to make it feel better.

Ani said...

A total bummer for our crucial little insects. But, the image does not look like a honey bee. Thanks for all of the insight.

Tom said...

Unless I get some Vitamin D, I'm going to lie down next to that bee belly up also.

Jay said...

Awesome website! I had to resort to Cliff as ALL the local weather guessers can never get it right!
Also I am a bee keeper, mine are struggling with this cold weather! The picture is NOT a honey bee. More like a bumble bee, they do not do honey. Just pollen and nectar.

TVN said...

And now that dry weather forecast for Saturday seems to be gone?? So much for the hiking plans.

scrubjay93 said...

It's not a honeybee. Honeybees are the classic golden color and are not native. Nonetheless, even the native bumblebees have been having a hard time in my yard. After the Tree, Violet-green, and Barn Swallows arrived, there were weeks of rain and cold temps, making it very difficult for them to forage. I think the ones that were at my house and my neighbor's barn may have given up--there have never been as few swallows as this "spring."

Andrew said...

I need a new post from you!!! 4 days is too long.

seawallrunner said...

oh, you changed the picture of the bee !!