Spring cleaning isn’t just a thing we do; it’s a practice of the natural world.
In Colorado, the spring winds clear the landscape and uproot the final tumbleweeds that clung to the earth through the winter.
Our honey bees also spring clean. An average bee lifespan is 3-4 weeks. This means that through the winter, multiple generations have come and gone. Whenever the weather gets above 57 degrees, the bees are able to go outside the hive, forage for food and clean up! Bees keep an immaculate, purposeful and beautiful home.
They work to keep the hive free of humidity and bacteria thus preventing mold. One way they do this is by removing all dead bees when the weather is warm enough to ensure proper airflow within the hive. Additionally, if the dead bees stay in the comb too long, they will decompose and spoil the food for everyone else!
During the winter, the bees have their storage of honey and pollen within the hive. In the early spring, there is some food to be found from early blooming flowers, but still the colony relies heavily on the food storage within the hive.
In early spring, it’s all about preparation. The worker bees are out and about, gathering water to liquefy the honey for the upcoming brood (drones, worker bees and possibly a new queen) that are going to be laid inside each tiny hexagonal frame. The worker bees are also out collecting nectar from the flowers, and then bringing the nectar back and passing it to a younger worker bee who converts the nectar into honey.
The honey bee spring cleans and prepares to get ready for the big nectar flow that sustains the colony year-round.
We can’t help but wonder- is the itch to spring clean a primal need that connects us to the rest of the natural world? Isn’t it a part of the dance that prepares the way for the harvesting stage of summer of which we were meant to take part?