Caught my interest, related to honeybee winter clusters
I'm totally baffled what useful information they hoped to get by killing the cluser with cyanide and measuring the temps as it died. I can't think of what practicle use that information would be.
Otherwise it's a very interesting study.
I agree with Michael. I can't see how killing the bees would make any difference in this study. Maybe if they had ran out of food or something like that but, cyanide? It was a intrestion artical though.
I thought that the reason to kill the hive was to measure the density and size of the cluster.
I thought the really cold tests, -45 F, were intriguing. As were the experiments with upper and lower entrances. Seeing the cluster die off from cold or starvation or mites might be useful info, but I haven't every lost a hive to cyanide yet.
The incidence of Nosema from long cold spells was also interesting. I wonder how much of it is lack of cleansing flights.
I think it is especially interesting in how little circulation of air occurs within the hive. To me it helps explain the sensitivity to moisture or humidity in the winter. Also why as long as there is sufficient ventilation SBBs don't seem to make much difference one way or the other for overwintering.
My take away after spending quite a while trying to plow through the research and understand their hypotheses was that a warmer hive or a larger cluster simply allows the cluster more ability to move around to food stores. The fact they can stand temperatures below -45 for long periods of time is amazing.
Proof that strong wintering colonies can move food while in cluster.
THANKS for posting the link to this fascinating research!
The sharp temp difference between the cluster surface and the air just an inch or so away means little or no air circulation within the hive. So an open SBB or large bottom entrance in a wind exposed area could cause problems for the bees. Maybe a small top entrance is really all that's needed.