OK this may seem like a rediculously basic question but I cant find an answer.
Do bees in a cluster ever totally shut down without being starved/dead?
The situation. I have two five frame splits made in late summer. They both have about tennisball sized clusters going into winter and plenty of syrup/honey
They are both stored in my insulated garage. stays about 35-50 deg in there.
Now when it first got really cold here the carniolan split was devoid of movement for almost two weeks and the other split (italian) did the same thing for about a week. I figured they were all dead. When I looked at them they were all ordered in a cluster pattern. I didn't see any mites or brood. I put them back in the hive. Then we had two days in the early winter where it got in the 60s. I moved the seemingly dead splits outside in the morning and then about 1 pm they both had bees flying out the entrance doing their business! The very same bees I thought were dead! I opened the hives and both queens were moving around looking normal!
About a day later the temp crashed again and the bees formed another tight cluster and they have that same dead look again like before. Zero movement for over a month now. I can see both queens markers through the screen bottom board and they have not moved at all. So now do they sound dead? or are they magically going to wake up again when it warms up?
I have no idea