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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Rupert, Idaho, USA
    Posts
    86

    Default Bees active in the cold

    Today the temp reached 22 deg. F. Warmest it's been in at least 2 weeks. This afternoon a few bees were dragging out dead bodies, and dumping them on the landing board or off the edge. Only a few of the house cleaners who left the landing board made it back to the entrance. I estimated about 40 to 50 dead bees ended up on the landing board or on the snow. I had bees for several years some 10 or 12 years ago and never saw them active at this kind of temperature. I have only this one colony, a swarm I caught in early June this past year. Hive is not wrapped.

    Questions; is this some kind of hygenic behavior gone a bit overboard, or perhaps a colony not well suited to this northern climate, maybe breaking cluster too easily? Any other ideas? Really nothing I can do about it but I am sure curious. Thanks for any ideas.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    384

    Default Re: Bees active in the cold

    I have a similar situation here in northern Utah. I'm not quite sure why they do it, but it worries me a bit. This was discussed previously in this thread:

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ht=beemageddon

    Good luck to your hive! This winter has been a cold one around here.
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Posts
    341

    Default Re: Bees active in the cold

    The term describing the bee's condition is called "cold turpor" Torpur is defined as: a state of mental or motor inactivity with partial or total insensibility : extreme sluggishness or stagnation of function". As noted in http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ht=beemageddon, if warmed up before death, they will likely survive.

    Read Dr. Thomas Seeley's book "The Honeybee Democracy" for information on this and much more.

    Steve

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    1,096

    Default Re: Bees active in the cold

    I believe this can take a toll on a weaker hive and reduce the population just enough that the hole hive may suffer.

    I have seen this happen at a range of temp anywhere from 35 to 50. Mostly on those cooler flying days that the afternoon gets cold quick. When the weather keeps changing from warm to cold every few days it make for more of these days.

    If you gather the bees place them in a glass container warm them inside they may come back to life.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Rupert, Idaho, USA
    Posts
    86

    Default Re: Bees active in the cold

    I have also seen this at 35 to 50 deg. I point out again, that this was taking place at 22 deg. This hive by the way is in partial shade. If one decided to try to "save" some of them, at best a little under half might recover, as about half the bees coming out the entrance are dead being removed by an apparently suicidal house cleaner. I really don't believe those would recover. Since any of the house cleaners which touch the snow, and some that don't, never make it back inside I wouldn't be surprised that they could be revived if one were inclined to try. I don't believe the numbers I have seen will affect the survival of the colony.

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