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  1. #1
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    Default Anyone ever bring hive inside for winter, heat, feed, water and let them fly around?

    Could one have them raising brood all winter ? Got a sun room that could work.
    Cheers,
    Drew

  2. #2
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    Thumbs Up Re: Anyone ever bring hive inside for winter, heat, feed, water and let them fly aro

    I did this once in my garage in Alaska during the winter of 1985. From my bad experience, I would expect the bees to come out of the hive for cleansing flights if they get over 40 or 45 degrees. They will go straight for the windows and leave their excrement on the inside of the windows and walls. If it isn't too warm, they will just crawl on the hive and leave their brown spots there. If there is an incandescent light on, they will land on it and cook (smells real bad). I put the bees back outside and they did fine. The smell was still there when I moved away.

    From what I've read, those who overwinter inside keep the space dark and under 40 degrees.

    Good luck.

    P.S. The bees would use a truckload of honey and pollen producing brood all winter. Besides that, continuous brood production would be a real boon for mite numbers (they increase their population about 2.5% per month during brood production). Most hives have some brood year around with short broodless periods during the winter months.
    Last edited by Lburou; 11-05-2012 at 07:02 AM.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Anyone ever bring hive inside for winter, heat, feed, water and let them fly aro

    Thanks Lee,
    Was thinking I'd screw a package cage over entrance so they'd have a screened patio But they did build up (add comb) over winter ? Don't mind the feeding, only a few hives. No mites yet knock on wood. What temp do u think for active but not 2 active, bout 50 ?
    Cheers,
    Drew

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Anyone ever bring hive inside for winter, heat, feed, water and let them fly aro

    I don't know what can tell you, except that I wouldn't do it again. I didn't feed them, so I'm sure they did not make any comb, I doubt that is a realistic hope. FRom what I've read, it needs to be under 40 degrees and dark.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  5. #5
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    Jul 2012
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    Pierce/Thurson County, Wa
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    Default Re: Anyone ever bring hive inside for winter, heat, feed, water and let them fly aro

    If you really want to bring them inside, how about treat them like an observation hive and have a tube to the outdoors? Them being indoors would keep them warmer so they would not have to work as hard to keep warm, and all their cleansing flights would be outdoors.
    If you think anything organic is good for you, go drink some organic solvents.
    geek, learning how to be a beek

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Anyone ever bring hive inside for winter, heat, feed, water and let them fly aro

    That is a possibility I am considering. Just worried they won't cluster then I will loose many as they try to fly in winter. Still gathering info.
    thanks,
    Drew

  7. #7
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    Jul 2010
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    Columbia, Missouri, usa
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    Default Re: Anyone ever bring hive inside for winter, heat, feed, water and let them fly aro

    MB, You are wrong. Bees have beenin this world a lot longer than we have. They know what cold weather is.
    My observation hive is in my front porch - whichis not heated. Last winter it got down to 45 degrees min. normally about 55 to 60. They have a 1 1/4 inch pipe to the outdoors and a pint jar with 2:1 sugar water (and 1 teaspoon lemon juice / gallon). Any time the south side of the house is above 55 degrees, a few bees will crawl out to inspect but not stay out long. If any died outside, I could not see that.
    This year I also have two nucs in the porch with a 1 1/4 pipe through the window and a pint jar
    on top of each. Of course I can't see in the nucs but I can tell by the activity outside their window that new bees are flying during warm periods.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Anyone ever bring hive inside for winter, heat, feed, water and let them fly aro

    CD,
    Did they build comb overwinter ? Did u feed pollen ?
    Cheers,
    Drew

  9. #9
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    Jul 2010
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    Columbia, Missouri, usa
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    Default Re: Anyone ever bring hive inside for winter, heat, feed, water and let them fly aro

    They do not build comb during the winter and I do not feed pollen. Though I did build in a port where I could feed pollen if I need to someday.
    The ob. hive got too full of bees last July, so I cleaned all of them out. Then about a week later (Aug 1) I put a frame into the hive so they could make a new queen - which they did.

    Normaly, they would start storing nector and pollen soon after the queen mates , but this year(with the drough and hot weather) they have not done anyhing. Lucky for them that the sugar water is available.

  10. #10
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    Jan 2012
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    Roy, Wa
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    Default Re: Anyone ever bring hive inside for winter, heat, feed, water and let them fly aro

    I have a lot of thoughts on this, but don't want to be too negative. One thing I did not see mentioned though. Bees, like most plants and animals are DAY LENGTH Sensitive. To truly manipulate them to stay somewhat active all winter, you need to simulate a longer day length..lights on a timer.
    A person would have to be very experienced to pull this off, but if you go into it as a learning experience and realizing the colony will likley perish at some point..do it! Especially if it is an OB hive.
    You cannot let them fly around inside however. I absolutly will not work with honeybees-or they would be using them in greenhouses for pollination in winter. They use Bumble bees for that. I have toyed with the idea of ordering a bumble bee colony just to play with in my greenhouse. Look it up on the internet.
    ALso look up European bee houses. This may give you some workable ideas.

    Heres a nice little video of someone experimenting:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kZl1AJh2rw

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wrqG4DHPKE

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Anyone ever bring hive inside for winter, heat, feed, water and let them fly aro

    Lauri,
    Awesome ! Thanks. Just what I had in mind. Now where is my drill ?
    Cheers,
    Drew

  12. #12
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    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: Anyone ever bring hive inside for winter, heat, feed, water and let them fly aro

    This is going off topic a bit for a minute, sorry, but this thread got me thinking about what winters are like for the bees way down south from me, like Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. I assume Florida has brood rearing all year long, but what about those other states? I know they can get quick cold spells down south but isn't it warm enough the rest of the winter for brood rearing? John

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Anyone ever bring hive inside for winter, heat, feed, water and let them fly aro


  14. #14
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    Oct 2011
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    Santa Monica, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Anyone ever bring hive inside for winter, heat, feed, water and let them fly aro

    In Russia, in old times, people kept bees in the basement in the winter time. Since, Russians usually store winter vegetable in the basement also, I would assume that temperature in the basement should be above freezing point, +4oC, something like that and dark. Another variety - people keep bees in the sort of "sun-room" - walls, windows (roof -yes), no heat. In such setup, they made a "tunnels" for bees to go outside. Technically, they just drill the holes in the walls and place beehives facing walls so the entrance and the hole aligned. I do not know if they seal the gap between hive and wall - I just read about this. Temperature may be well below freezing in that 'room'. It is sort of European beehouse, but only for the winter.

    Honestly, I do not see a point of keeping bees artificially active over the winter. Bees normally hibernate, it is a part of their life-cycle. Artificially breaking the cycle could not do anything good for bees. In California, bees do not hibernate, but they are outside, they have plenty of pollen and nectar any time. Even with this, I noticed that they have a 3-4 month cycle of activity - they slow down and rest for a while and than start again...
    Серёжа, Sergey

  15. #15
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Anyone ever bring hive inside for winter, heat, feed, water and let them fly aro

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    This is going off topic a bit for a minute, sorry, but this thread got me thinking about what winters are like for the bees way down south from me, like Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. I assume Florida has brood rearing all year long, but what about those other states? I know they can get quick cold spells down south but isn't it warm enough the rest of the winter for brood rearing? John
    maybe along the gulf coast, but otherwise the bees in the southern states cycle through the seasons just like anywhere else.

    my concern would be that not having natural forage, and therefore putting the bees on artificial 'nectar' and pollen substitutes would make them more susceptible to pathogens. i don't have the references, but mike bush has cited studies that show feeding alters the gut chemistry enough to do this.

    if you can't get any comb drawn out of the deal, it doesn't sound practical unless you just want to play.

    as far as temperature goes, seems like i read that 40-45 degrees farenheit is optimal for the bees in terms of not going through their stores as fast.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  16. #16
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    Mar 2011
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    Slidell, LA, USA
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    Default Re: Anyone ever bring hive inside for winter, heat, feed, water and let them fly aro

    Still have a lot to learn so forgive my ignorance but I was told that overwintering bees live longer then summertime bees. If they become active because of unusually warm weather and food availability will their live cycle be shortened? If they have a shorter life cycle will the hive have to raise new brood when the Q would normally be "inactive"? Seems like you would be stirring a pot that shouldn't be stirred.

    I like the idea of the hive house, more to keep the harsh winds and dampness away from the hives then anything else.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Anyone ever bring hive inside for winter, heat, feed, water and let them fly aro

    Quote Originally Posted by alblancher View Post
    ... overwintering bees live longer then summertime bees.
    yes, because they hibernate. During hibernation, the metabolism rate dramatically decreases and thus they live slower - in your words longer...
    Quote Originally Posted by jadell View Post
    They do not, they cluster. Hibernation indicates that they sleep through the winter. Their main focus is staying warm and surviving on stores. They live longer because they don't have to forage. There are discussions covering this.
    I guess you right. Sorry for misleading information.
    Last edited by cerezha; 11-14-2012 at 02:45 AM.
    Серёжа, Sergey

  18. #18
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    Asheville, North Carolina, USA
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    Default Re: Anyone ever bring hive inside for winter, heat, feed, water and let them fly aro

    Quote Originally Posted by cerezha View Post
    yes, because they hibernate. During hibernation, the metabolism rate dramatically decreases and thus they live slower - in your words longer...
    They do not, they cluster. Hibernation indicates that they sleep through the winter. Their main focus is staying warm and surviving on stores. They live longer because they don't have to forage. There are discussions covering this.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Anyone ever bring hive inside for winter, heat, feed, water and let them fly aro

    Quote Originally Posted by jadell View Post
    They do not, they cluster. Hibernation indicates that they sleep through the winter. Their main focus is staying warm and surviving on stores. They live longer because they don't have to forage. There are discussions covering this.
    I guess you right. Sorry for misleading information.
    Серёжа, Sergey

  20. #20
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    Montgomery County, NY
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    Default Re: Anyone ever bring hive inside for winter, heat, feed, water and let them fly aro

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    This is going off topic a bit for a minute, sorry, but this thread got me thinking about what winters are like for the bees way down south from me, like Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. I assume Florida has brood rearing all year long, but what about those other states? I know they can get quick cold spells down south but isn't it warm enough the rest of the winter for brood rearing? John
    Ever wonder why commercial guys haul their bees south for the winter?

    My bees were raring brood in Jan last winter in Ga. They were swarming by early March.

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