Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 22
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,199

    Default Winter - friend or foe?

    So here's a thought. In the face of a varroa insult are bees better off enduring a midwestern winter in which there is no brood for them to feast on, and months for the sisters to peck at 'em? Where the women are strong, the men are good lookin', and the children are all above average.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,127

    Default Re: Winter - friend or foe?

    Brother Adam says:
    "Although we now and again have to put up with exceptionally severe winters even here in the south-west, we do not provide our colonies with any additional protection. We know that cold, even severe cold, does not harm colonies that are in good health. Indeed, cold seems to have a decided beneficial effect on bees."--Beekeeping at Buckfast Abbey, Brother Adam

    North Dakota is usually the highest honey production in the US. Obviously bees in the north actually do better and produce more than bees in the deep south. And that was before Varroa... a break in the brood over winter is bound to help with Varroa and also with SHB.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,199

    Default Re: Winter - friend or foe?

    I have been following the OD overwintering thread, and am thinking that perhaps the lack of a decent brood break is the biggest factor in the Californian's mite problem.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,372

    Default Re: Winter - friend or foe?

    Adrian: I dont think there is much doubt that beekeepers in milder climates face a much more difficult challenge in controlling varroa. Not many hives are even wintered in North Dakota any more, the question that migratory beekeepers struggle with is at what point do you move them. Too late and they can get snowed in, too soon can mean hot shipping temps and the dangers that an extended brooding season pose.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,199

    Default Re: Winter - friend or foe?

    Jim, thanks. I hadn't thought about the migratory component. I appreciate your perspective, a preoccupation with Varroa would seem to be a migrator's lot if there is no respite from it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    lee county, fl, usa
    Posts
    857

    Default Re: Winter - friend or foe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    North Dakota is usually the highest honey production in the US. Obviously bees in the north actually do better and produce more than bees in the deep south. And that was before Varroa... a break in the brood over winter is bound to help with Varroa and also with SHB.
    Don't forget the bull ant. I have lost 2 hives to them since I started beekeeping, and my local mentor has lost several.
    There's more robbing here, have to be on the watch for that during winter months. I suspect a shorter queen life as she works year round here. I'm starting to appreciate the cold fronts, few as they are, so my poor bees are forced to take a break.
    Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Prvb 16:24
    March 2010; +/- 30 hives, TF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    lee county, fl, usa
    Posts
    857

    Default Re: Winter - friend or foe?

    Adrian, I grew up in Wisconsin, moved here in my early 50's. I looked into beekeeping up there but as I lived in Appleton, backyard beekeeping was not an option. I read about hive wrapping etc, didn't know anyone where I might put hives, didn't pursue the dream.
    Garrison Keillor quote--he's correct.
    I'm sorry, there's little I miss about Wisconsin. The older I got the more miserable it was.
    Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Prvb 16:24
    March 2010; +/- 30 hives, TF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Brown County, IN
    Posts
    2,025

    Default Re: Winter - friend or foe?

    I believe winter is also a friend to us northern beekeepers with respect to small hive beetles, africanized honey bees, fire ants and probably a few others.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Pike, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    287

    Default Re: Winter - friend or foe?

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    Adrian: I dont think there is much doubt that beekeepers in milder climates face a much more difficult challenge in controlling varroa. Not many hives are even wintered in North Dakota any more, the question that migratory beekeepers struggle with is at what point do you move them. Too late and they can get snowed in, too soon can mean hot shipping temps and the dangers that an extended brooding season pose.
    I struggle with the issue you mention- I really feel a decent break in brood rearing is the best way to control varroa population, especially for the following spring/summer. I am thinking about finding a holding yard just south of where I keep my bees which is still plenty cold with out the issue of snow and access to hives.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Napoleon, OH
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: Winter - friend or foe?

    Quote Originally Posted by indypartridge View Post
    I believe winter is also a friend to us northern beekeepers with respect to small hive beetles, africanized honey bees, fire ants and probably a few others.
    I totally agree. In a backwards sort of way, I almost look forward to winter because it gives the bees a break in the brood cycle, plus it weeds out an awful lot of small hive beetles. There is nothing more gratifying than checking the bottom board and seeing all the SHB that died from the cold.

    My only hope is that the Africanized bees don't learn to adapt to our winters.....

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,199

    Default Re: Winter - friend or foe?

    4 degrees this morning with a strong wind. Spring isn't far away, right....

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    lee county, fl, usa
    Posts
    857

    Default Re: Winter - friend or foe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Quiney WI View Post
    4 degrees this morning with a strong wind. Spring isn't far away, right....
    About 1500 miles due south/southeast
    Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Prvb 16:24
    March 2010; +/- 30 hives, TF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,357

    Default Re: Winter - friend or foe?

    The guys from the Beeinformed team will be by us next week testing hives looking for breeders. Your note makes me think I ought to propose doing a "test" On 100 or so hives where we cage the queens in early September and give the ladies a break and see what happens to the hives in statistical comparison to ones where the queens aren't "broken" Our yards around the Bay have had drones all winter this year. Not a lot of them but they have never been "out" this year if they are within a mile of the water. Queens started laying drones like crazy in the warmer , pollen producing yards about 10 days back

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,531

    Default Re: Winter - friend or foe?

    h4a, interesting about the testing hives for breeders. how does that work?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    533

    Default Re: Winter - friend or foe?

    I think cold can be good for bees, but I doubt brother Adam saw -30 f nights like we have had in mn this last month. Right now our gauge sits at -20. There comes a point where it likely does harm, especially when you have multiple days in a row when you see a high of 5 and a low of -20 to -30. Those are the kinds of temps where hives starve with honey right next to them. I think that if there were a place where temps ranged from 20-40 consistently all winter long you would be golden.
    Not Michael Bush. My name is Dan. Sorry for the confusion.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,531

    Default Re: Winter - friend or foe?

    it must be tough on the bees not to get a cleansing flight for weeks at a time.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,531

    Default Re: Winter - friend or foe?

    >I think that if there were a place where temps ranged from 20-40...

    we range 30 -50 on average from mid december to mid february, with warm and cold snaps.

    wintering doesn't seem to be too hard for the bees here.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,295

    Default Re: Winter - friend or foe?

    > I think that if there were a place where temps ranged from 20-40 consistently all winter long you would be golden. <

    At my location here in Southeastern Ohio a good part of the winter does see 20-40 deg temps during the day and teens at night but we do have our cold snaps which range into the single digits at night and teens during the day, we usually will go 2 to 4 weeks between cleansing flights.

    Does anyone know the maximum time bees can stay cooped up without defecating inside the hive? I have never seen any info on this.
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    533

    Default Re: Winter - friend or foe?

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    it must be tough on the bees not to get a cleansing flight for weeks at a time.
    If they don't get a cleansing flight, they are in trouble. If they just get a few they seem to do fine.

    Edit@www- in my couple years of doing this it seems that my bees do just fine cleansing in December and then in march. I have had some get that minimum and do fine and some that get around one per month. Again it seems that as long as they get a couple they do ok. My tbh last year didn't have any flights in dec, jan, or early feb, but finally were out in late feb early march. They wintered fine.
    Not Michael Bush. My name is Dan. Sorry for the confusion.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,295

    Default Re: Winter - friend or foe?

    Interesting, thanks for the response Dan
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads