If you think it was a tough winter for you, think of our precious pollinators! Estimates by local bee experts put our Coastal New England Honey Bee mortality for this winter at 60%. I saw some enthusiastic bees two weeks ago out for their late winter cleansing flight. Bees have cleansing flights because they will not dedicate in their hive so they "hold it" until a warm winter day where they can fly outside with out freezing to death. Judging from the activity, I know we have at least one hopefully two active hives out of our 3 in Newbury(will finally be able to access and check on the West Newbury hive this week). The real challenge for the bees is the early spring when their stored honey is used and the pollen has not yet arrived. The first pollen of the season comes mostly from trees. Unfortunately, the below normal temperatures that are still persisting is delaying the first pollen of the season putting both the honey bees and even more significantly all our native pollinators at risk for starvation just as spring arrives. At least for our honey bees, I will be adding sugar to the top of their hive for sustenance until the pollen comes. Our honey bees and native pollinators are more examples of species that are at risk due to the weather extremes of climate change.