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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Rockford, Il
    Posts
    488

    Default What is "Cold" to the bees?

    At what temps do you expect various behavior?

    I know that around 50F you can expect them to start flying more, taking feed from feeders that are outside the hive or above etc. However I'm also assuming they behave slightly differently below those temps.

    IOW if you're looking at temps of 0F they are probably going to cluster tightly and abandon brood to far from the cluster etc, so opening up the brood nest when you're still likely to see those temps would be bad. But I've not read anything that gives an idea what those temps might be.

    Just asking because of this insane weather. Weeks of above 70's, populations exploding and hives running out of room. Then days of lows in the 30's...we're supposed to see 80 again in a couple days, then a week of colder weather.

    ~Matt

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,817

    Default Re: What is "Cold" to the bees?

    I guess bees are a bit like people when it comes to weather changes, all those warm temps and sun got everything rolling in the hives, now that we are back to normal, which really isn't that cold, the bees don't want to go out much. If the weather stays in the 40's for another week the bees will get more used to it and start flying more, just like when you have a day in the 40's in the middle of winter, the bees are all out flying around like its spring. Having 40's and sun is a whole lot better than 40's and clouds though, much more bee flight. John

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,823

    Default Re: What is "Cold" to the bees?

    What you are talking about is why my hives will stasy wrapped until May. When the brood area expands and the temps drop the bees cover as much of the brood as they possibly can and in the process leave behind the sources of honey and pollen. They and the brood can quickly starve to death an inch away from all the provender they could ever use. That is what people need to remember when they are getting too fancy trying to expand brood nests. awith weather like this, it is a crap shoot! Where I am at, it might concievably never freeze hard again this spring. And then four years ago it was -20 below in the last half of April one morning. One cannot plan for that last exteme, but you cannot preclude it either. Life is a risky thing.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Faulkner Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    1,696

    Default Re: What is "Cold" to the bees?

    I agree with Vance, keep them wrapped, keep them with food, but do not over stimulate. They have that going all on their own right now. I would add, have some extra brood chambers available just in case the nest gets bigger before queens are ready to prevent swarming

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,456

    Default Re: What is "Cold" to the bees?

    I think I read that bees cluster around 45F (this would be in the hive temp), with the cluster getting tighter as the temperature drops. All is well if the outer parts of the cluster are over honey, as they move slowly around in the cluster and everyone can have some food, but if the cluster is NOT over stores, they can starve. The bees will cover brood first if it's present, always.

    My friend who keeps bees says he loses more hives in March or late Feb than any other time in the winter, usually after a sharp cold snap. We have highly variable weather in spring, with very warm periods alternating with at or below freezing -- often have 70F weather in Feb, but the last frost date average is April 15th, and we have had frost as late as early May (snow, too!). Always starvation, typically with significant stores due to clustering on brood.

    Peter

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Rockford, Il
    Posts
    488

    Default Re: What is "Cold" to the bees?

    That's my problem, how do you keep them from swarming without opening up the nest...which then leads to them dieing if it gets to cold?

    I opened up a couple of my hives because they were literally laying eggs in every open cell. Do you just leave them assuming they won't swarm?

    ~Matt

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Faulkner Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    1,696

    Default Re: What is "Cold" to the bees?

    You get in, get what you need done, then re wrap. If you need to give them space, add another brood chamber.

    assess and then get out when it gets above 10C

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