As the cooler days and nights have taken over our lives, I have watched my lovely bees retreat into their hive boxes. One of my favorite activities during the summer was to sit right next to the hives, look upward, and watch the flying lanes of bees, an open air highway between all the treetops. Now they are huddling together, hunkering down for the winter time, and only small numbers seem to be out foraging for pollen. All in all, it seems they are following the natural rhythm of the season.I went down a couple of weeks ago to check on the hives and was a bit distressed at what I found; dead bees, hundreds of dead bees. During the summer when the worker bees would throw the dead bees out of the hive, the carcasses wouldn't last very long on the ground as the yellow jackets trolled around, enjoying a free meal. Now that the yellow jackets have gone underground into their own hives, the number of bee carcasses has built up to massive proportions and there is a type of above-ground mass-grave. I know this is nature, which is brutal, and the younger and stronger bees will survive the winter and spring to fly and produce again, but yeesh! I think I will sprinkle some winter-friendly flower seeds over the dead bees as a way to say thank you for all that they did.