I’ve been asked, “Does daylight savings matter to bees?”. Obviously, the answer is no – their day is the same whether we call it 5:00 or 6:00. Daylight savings being a completely man made contrivance to reduce the hours people spend in darkness during the winter. Hence, the word “savings”, as in electricity. Although what time it is doesn’t matter to animals in general, it’s the UV radiation that influences cycles of reproduction in animals.
The ability of a deer to know when it’s time to reproductively cycle to produce offspring during the most advantageous time for its survival is based on when maximum forage is available. It’s also an advantage to make young when predators are at their minimum. Predators also know when food resources are going to be high, so their cycles often coincide with the prey that they eat in order to feed their young so that they may survive. It is the balance of nature and although it seems traumatic at times, it is the way of it.
With winter solstice almost coming to a close (solstice = the night hours being greater than the daylight hours), we focus on daylight savings, but it isn’t the most important date in March, or the ultimate winter transition to spring for that matter.
All of that happens because of the sun, the moon and the earth and their relative pathways around each other. The angle of the sun in the sky tells the bees how to navigate, and the intensity of the UV tells them when to make increase in their numbers (in most animals it’s about melatonin and brain activity – the simple version). Truly, a more important date might be March 20th. Why?? Because that’s the date that the night time hours and day time hours are equal – the shifting back to more daylight than night time. That for animals signals the time when feed will be most plentiful. That’s when we see the time of increase in honey bees!!
So as I watch the girls today bringing in their first loads of pollen for the spring (probably alder), I’m encouraged that the new “bee year” is about to begin!! With all it’s trials, challenges, and exhaustion – I still get excited to see the first big day of “O” flights!! I have to admit, I’m hooked!! Agriculture, animal management and the great outdoors is definitely my thing…..even when the worst happens, which is the nature of nature!! It always feels like there’s a way forward – I have faith in nature and the inevitable balance that always occurs. I don’t know how many people out there are doing what makes their heart sing, but I’m blessed that I figured out that sitting in a cubicle with hundreds of other miserable people was not my calling!! lol Even as I write this the eagles are nesting above my head outside the window and although the window is closed I can hear them screaming at each other and it makes me smile!! I know God loves me – he gave me bees to play with so life would never be dull or boring!!