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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Tolland county, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    62

    Default bringing bees back to life

    Well, this doesn't really all have to do with beekeeping involving honeybees, but anyway. Today I went out on our balcony in the early evening to look at the moon with my telescope. It was below freezing by at least a few degrees, maybe even five. Then I noticed a paper wasp lying on it's back on the deck, quite dead looking. I decided I'll take it inside, I'm not sure why though. I was pretty sure it was dead, but I just felt I'd take it in anyway. So I brought it in and placed it on a plastic container lid. I thought I'd try to revive it by letting it warm up and see what happened. I grabbed a container too to make sure it wouldn't escape if it did wake up. So I blew on it a little and poked it with a piece of paper. Then it's leg twitched. I poked it a bit more (again it twitched in response) and suddenly it came completely to life, waving it's legs (it was still on it's back). Well, now I have it safely in a glass bowl with a screen lid and some sticks (I made it to keep jumping spiders in). I fed it honey and sugar water too. But now this incident made me wonder. I found this wasp on a below freezing January day out in the open, yet now it's very much alive in the house. I've always heard that most worker wasps die in the fall, while few are able to hibernate. I know honey bees don't hibernate, they stay safe in the hive all winter. But how much cold can a bee/wasp stand before it dies? It was cold all day today, so the wasp would have had to have been out there for a while. It seems to be fine now though. Would it be possible to bring back a hive that's been pronounced dead from the cold? If your bees were alive yesterday but are dead today, grab a sack of them and bring them inside. Maybe they'll come back to life.
    For fishkeepers and aquarium hobbyists www.aquaticbabble.forumup.org

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    VENTURA, California, USA
    Posts
    3,604

    Smile Cold Bees

    Your question was asked many years ago in the class room of the ABJ.
    Ans. About 3-5 days max.
    The classic frozen goldfish. Take a feeder gold fish because they are cheap. Place in a small plastic drink cup and place in the frezer. Remove the frozen gold fish and watch it revive slowly at room temperature.
    The D. of F. & G. has been planting trout for the past 20 or more years by putting the fish in a frozen block of ice and dive bombing a remote lake.

    Bees estivate and bears hibernate.
    I find over wintering yellow jackets in dead outs or weak colonies. No more than 2-5 large ones.
    Your wasp was not clinacaly dead. It was just cold.
    I remember giving a very wet and cold colony a hot water zip lock bag under the frames to warm them up in my living room until I could hear them buzzing. I had put a line of warm syrup on their top bars for emergency feeding.
    They survived the ordeal and were flying that afternoon. No, I was not married at the time!
    Ernie

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Tolland county, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    62

    Default

    Yeah, I know the wasp was never actually dead. But some things do seem dead and can come "back" to life.
    I know a lot of organisms like certain fish or insects have a natural antifreeze in their cells to keep ice crystals from forming and rupturing the cells. They can survive bellow freezing temperatures. Wasn't sure about bees though.
    For fishkeepers and aquarium hobbyists www.aquaticbabble.forumup.org

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Southern Oregon
    Posts
    1,168

    Default

    "Bees estivate..."bees4U

    This seems like a stretch of my understanding of estivation. When I find a terrestrial mollusk in a state of estivation they are in a state of nearly suspended animation, no motility or feeding, just hunkered down and covered up until the rains come. Bees at least feed and gather water during the summer dearth. Estivation=summer dormancy, unless I am totally mistaken?
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Nevada County, CA
    Posts
    1,083

    Default

    I have been able to revive a couple of very small colonies of honey bees by warming them up, but they were always so weak that even in a warm OB hive they didn't survive more than a couple of weeks. I think that often the conditions that allow them to get too weak to keep the cluster warm are what takes them out when they are revived, ie: mites, nosema, or some virus. Anymore, I just make a note in my record book when I find one of these and plan to take the empty equipment home on the next trip to that yard.
    doug

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