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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Orienting flights in January?

    Winter is when I most feel a beginner now. I guess that's a good thing (it's not as much in the sumer now! ) but it's still frustrating.

    Question 1 - I would swear the bees in one hive were orienting. Seems a little early, don't you think?

    #2 - If it ends up a heavily populated hive, when could I possibly do a walk-away split? I don't really know when drones start appearing. Any other indicators? (Usually nucs ship around the end of April in these parts. Does that help?) I plan to ask folks at our club but most of my questions get an "I don't know." My winter notes from last year show me doing a checkerboard on Feb. 26 and having lots of brood by 3/19 - if that helps.

    Thanks for any input.
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Manchester, TN, USA
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: Orienting flights in January?

    The queen continues to lay eggs throughout the winter to make up for losses due to age or other reasons. She just doesn't lay as many as she does in spring and summer because they have to stay clustered to keep warm. The newer bees will take the opportunity on a warm winter day to orient to the hive and to also make cleansing flights.
    Your other question about splits is something I'm also trying to figure out so I'll hope others with much more experience than I have will respond.
    Best of luck with your bees!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Bloomington, IN, USA
    Posts
    307

    Default Re: Orienting flights in January?

    If you keep watch on this site there are a couple of threads that will help you with calculating and predicting with the drones appear and when swarming starts. Typically they will be Post your bloom date, and post your swarm date. Good luck!
    DsBs.Etsy.com

  4. #4

    Default Re: Orienting flights in January?

    When the weather begins to break and you can do full hive inspections....watch for drone brood. If a sizable number appear to have emerged and you find them within the hive....then it should be ok to do a walkaway split.
    There aren't any absolutes. The date that worked last year may or may not be ok this year.
    Good luck.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,505

    Default Re: Orienting flights in January?

    Bees lose their orientation after being in the hive for a while, so orientation flights are normal when the weather warms up. All the bees orient, not just new ones.

    Watch for drone brood (you do look in your hives regularly, right?) and do some rough calculations on weather conditions -- when you figure the apple trees are 6 to 8 weeks from bloom, checkerboard if that's what you want to do to reduce swarming, or reverse boxes. You can do splits any time after you see drones flying -- although you must watch the hive in the late afternoon to see them. Lots of emerging drones, it's OK to do splits.

    Peter

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,097

    Default Re: Orienting flights in January?

    Quote Originally Posted by psfred View Post
    Bees lose their orientation after being in the hive for a while, so orientation flights are normal when the weather warms up. All the bees orient, not just new ones.
    Your report above seems to support the idea that bees loose their orientation after two days in the hive. Is that true?
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Re: Orienting flights in January?

    That's very helpful, Bmd and Peter - thank you. I guess we do splits when drones appear so there are bees for the new queens to mate with. So very logical. I just haven't learned to think that way yet.

    Yes, Peter, I do regular inspections in the summer. Very inept at what to do in the winter. On the last warm stint, I did do a pretty good inspection on 2 of my 3 hives. But I just looked for honey stores and weight of the hive. Now I have an idea what to be looking for. Very helpful! Thanks again, all!
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Re: Orienting flights in January?

    Quote Originally Posted by psfred View Post
    Bees lose their orientation after being in the hive for a while, so orientation flights are normal when the weather warms up. All the bees orient, not just new ones. Peter
    i didn't know that!
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,320

    Default Re: Orienting flights in January?

    Anytime they have been confined for 72 hours or more they reorient the next time they fly out.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Re: Orienting flights in January?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    Anytime they have been confined for 72 hours or more they reorient the next time they fly out.
    Well, I truly had no clue. Sorta makes sense tho.

    That's the hard part about winter inspecting - not much chance to see what's going on, so much fewer opportunities to "learn,'' much less internalize!
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

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