Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Hancock, NH
    Posts
    85

    Post

    We have had about 3 weeks of temps in the below zero nights and teens during the day. I am getting a little concerned, this is unusual to not have a warm day for this long. At what temperature will the bees be able to move the cluster to new feed?

    The are saying we might reach 30 tomorrow, but then going back cold after Sunday. I'm wondering if it would be worth giving the side of the hive a good kick if we reach 30, just to get the cluster moving.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,340

    Post

    It depends on how large the cluster is. It depends on what happens in between the sub zero. I've only seen a problem where it stays below zero F for two weeks or more. Otherwise they will move around. And even then it seems to mostly be the small clusters that have a problem. The larger ones seem to manage fine.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    1,197

    Post

    They will move slowly at temps of 32 degrees or above but only if they are not covering brood. Kicking the box does more damage than good. The less you disturb them at low temps, the better off you are. I saw a beekeeper open a hive several years ago when the temp had been low for several weeks. The bees dumped feces all over the frames in the excitement of being opened.

    Fusion

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania
    Posts
    2,071

    Post

    NHBees, Just place your ear against the side of the hive, you should be able to hear them. Sometimes the shadow of your hand across the front entrance will prompt the bees to respond enough to hear them.

    Wintering clusters can move at cold temperatures more than most think. The cluster will expand, contract and move on a daily basis. In a ARS study, at temps between 2F and 9F a strong cluster was recorded to move sideways and down into the center body. Then it returned to its original location, all within a 5 hour span. Apparently it moved to obtain honey. A healthy colony should easily be able to access fresh stores.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Hancock, NH
    Posts
    85

    Post

    Thanks for the responses. We were able to get up to 33F today. When I went out at noon all three hives are alive and they had a few brave souls taking cleansing flights. I guess they will be able to move alright inside today.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    mountain home, ar, usa
    Posts
    378

    Post

    I discovered that adding insulation (3 inches) to the top of a hive makes it appear to the bees that it's 30 degrees warmer outside than it actually is. I just put a thermocouple under the insulation, and there was a 30 degree difference in temperature from the outside to the thermocouple. So, insulation makes a huge difference to the bees... they can move about easily with insulation, whereas you'd better have a strong colony to warm the hive without insulation.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    monroe, nc, US of A
    Posts
    29

    Post

    30 degrees! Wow. A storm was forcast for this week, so taking advice from beesource contributors I placed 1.5 inch styrofoam on top exterior of my hives (it was avaliable, free). I wondered about the practitality of this move, not any more. Thanks for the temperature measurement to validate using top insulation.
    HAR

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    North Alabama, SW Kentucky
    Posts
    1,914

    Post

    I'm posting a topic in the hardware section concering hive insulation... check it out and add your comments, please.
    WayaCoyote
    WayaCoyote

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads