It was the strangest thing this morning. I took Grace on her walk and she kept stopping and digging, then I noticed that she had picked up something.
I ordered her away and it was a honey bee. I looked around and there was another and another. Possible a hundred bees in small holes in the snow next to the tree where the raccoon lives. I could find them for about half a block.
I thought that maybe the bees had died in the late fall and the raccoon was digging in the tree and dislodged them, but then I noticed that all the bees were whole and all the wings were still attached. I would have thought that if they were dug out that some would be broken. A mystery!
The small holes could be accounted for because they warmed up more in the sun than the surrounding snow and so the snow had melted around them forming the holes.
Finding bees in northern Illinois in the middle of February?!? - it must be global warming... or the bad economy... lol.
UPDATE: I was doing some research and came across this blogger's post.
If you read that person's post, he mentions a brownish liquid around the dead bees. That same liquid was found with most of my dead bees. According to him, bees will take defecation flights in winter, but it was too cold for them and they died. This also explains the burrows in the snow.