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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    I just received two packages today - 6 inches of snow on the ground and temperatures in the 30's. It is supposed to get into the 40's tomorrow. It won't get to 50 until Friday. Should i keep the packages in my detached garage (no heat), or bring them in the house until I hive them?

    Should I go ahead and put them in the hive while it is in the mid 40's?

    thanks!

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montgomery County, NY
    Posts
    2,008

    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    People have hived packages in the 30s before. I have made splits when it was 32 out before (of course it warmed to 50 that afternoon), so you shouldn't have much issue. MAKE SURE they have plenty of food.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,774

    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    The biggest issue with a package with no comb and no stores and cold, is food. They can't take cold syrup...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #24
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Baltimore, MD, USA
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    There's been several mentions of being too cool or warming up. What type of temperature are you talking about as being too cool?

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Plantsville, Ct.
    Posts
    178

    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    I hived 2 packages yesterday here in Connecticut. 40 deg. temp. & a cool breeze. I worked quickly and got them all closed up in a few mins. Wasn't supposed to go below freezing overnight and daytime highs are supposed to be near or at 50 this week so I went for it. I didn't have any frames with drawn comb ready so I put them on new foundation with a frame feeder full of warm syrup.
    I put the queen in the middle of the hive but I'm thinking that I should have put her closer to the feeder, like 2 frames away. I plan to go back today, warm up the syrup again and pull 2 frames of drawn comb from my other hive and sandwich the queen in between. I'll probably put some foam insulation on top too!

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    New Kent County, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    O.K. my one week wait is up tomorrow, I have followed the book almost to the letter, the only change I made was to remove the top syrup feeder and replace it with the Mountain Camp method because it’s just been really cold here. In this one week I’ve had two good days were the Bees were flying, the rest have been cold as hell with rain, sleet and snow. In any event, tomorrow -following the book- I’m supposed to check to see if the Queen has been released and there are eggs being laid but, tomorrows high is only going to be 52, should I wait till it’s warmer or go for it? Thanks.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Haymarket, Virginia
    Posts
    197

    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    How did everyone's packages fare? For the sake of future novices, what method(s) did you use? What would you change?

    Both queens were out and hives flying as of yesterday. As I understand is customary, one hive is significantly stronger/more active than the other. As for methods, we kept our packages inside (per Michael Bush's instructions) for three days, feeding syrup by spray bottle to make sure they were full. When installing them, I left sugar candy, half a pollen patty and 1:1 syrup (1 gal chicken waterer) directly on the top bars (used empty supers to cover it). We also closed the SBB and used the entrance reducer on the smallest opening. If I had it to do over again, I would worry less and use a standard hivetop feeder. The chicken waterer worked well and stayed warm, but refilling it can be disruptive.

    Next?

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,782

    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    I hived them in the 30's. Dumped them fast, put room temp syrup on top and they're fine. They fly every day. Queens are out. All is well.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    Kept mine in the house from Monday to Thursday. Installed them in about 45 degree weather. Fortunately, it was warmer than expected on Friday and today looks to be in the upper 50's to low 60's. Bees flying around and starting to see them on the earliest nectar sources (some kind of small purple weed). Hope these do well - i have two more packages coming in late April!

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Plantsville, Ct.
    Posts
    178

    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    Checked mine today. Both queens out. All appears well, Flying, guarding, building comb... One hive sucked down a gallon of syrup, while the other barely touched it. Gonna watch them close for the next few days. Try to insulate that hive a little more to keep the syrup warmer.

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Stafford county,Virginia,USA
    Posts
    27

    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    I had the same thing happen, one hive did not take the syrup while the other two sucked it down. It's all but dead now, the queen is dead for sure. If they are not eating, you might want to treat for nosema. If the packages were the same size and the hives have the same setup/lighting/comb/etc and one of them isn't taking feed well, something may be wrong. No eating = dead bees.

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Memphis, TN
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    If the temps hit 30* at night, would it be better to swap the jar out with a warm jar of sugar water from the house in the morning? (With temps 50* + during the day.)

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Stafford county,Virginia,USA
    Posts
    27

    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    In the same weather my healthy hives took the syrup like free wine at a wedding without any warming. If they are in full sun the sun will warm it up for you.

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Plantsville, Ct.
    Posts
    178

    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    2nd package taking syrup better now. I put a piece of 2" insulation against the side of the hive where the syrup is. 1st gallon is treateded for nosema just as a precaution. Temps expected to reach 50's in the daytime this week but down in the 20's at night so I'm going to leave the insulation on top for now. Once they get there numbers up naturally they will be able to keep it warmer in there.
    Trees are just starting to bud here.

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Haymarket, Virginia
    Posts
    197

    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    Interestingly, during the last few nights of near or sub-freezing weather the smaller hive doubled their syrup consumption. Even better, it appears that tonight will be our last freeze for the foreseeable future.

    It appears only one colony was lost and that loss may be attributable to Nosema rather than weather. The MAAREC literature on packages states that bees could die if hived on foundation in less than 57F weather. Given some of the anecdotal evidence on this forum, I wonder where that number comes from. Is there a scientific study specifically on success of colonies hived on foundation in cold weather? I didn't see anything in AGRICOLA (assuming it's the right place for science-based honey bees articles).

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Plantsville, Ct.
    Posts
    178

    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    Went through the 2 new hives yesterday and was pleased to see that both packages have accepted the queens. Both queens just started laying, I saw a good number of new eggs so they are starting up!! They had also built some drone comb on the bottoms of a few frames. They have built comb out on 3 or 4 frames and filled most of it up with syrup, even capped some!
    My big hive is loaded with capped brood and quite a bit of capped drone brood too! Gotta get ready or swarm season!!!!

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Hastings Nebraska
    Posts
    48

    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    I know the feeling far too well today, I just got my packages installed this last saturday with a good forecast and now the weather is changing for the worst, go figure. I have two frames of drawn comb in each of my five hives. Today it was seventy degrees and they are now calling for a small blizzard here in western Nebraska with temperatures dropping to the low teens on Tues & Wed. It was pouring down rain when I got off work tonight so I didn't have time to get them protected. I really hope that my bees will make the two day cold spell. Any info on a similar case is welcome here.

    I will be praying for my bees sake. -Ryan
    beehiveblueprints.com

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,312

    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    They will be fine if they have sugar or honey.
    Quote Originally Posted by ryanbekke View Post
    I know the feeling far too well today, I just got my packages installed this last saturday with a good forecast and now the weather is changing for the worst, go figure. I have two frames of drawn comb in each of my five hives. Today it was seventy degrees and they are now calling for a small blizzard here in western Nebraska with temperatures dropping to the low teens on Tues & Wed. It was pouring down rain when I got off work tonight so I didn't have time to get them protected. I really hope that my bees will make the two day cold spell. Any info on a similar case is welcome here.

    I will be praying for my bees sake. -Ryan

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Hastings Nebraska
    Posts
    48

    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    They will be fine if they have sugar or honey.
    Vance, I sure hope so. I just go outside and it is very cold, Being a new package and all I just feel for them, and can only imagine what is going on inside the new hive. I just don't want to loose $450 on five packages of bees, but more importantly the Bees Themselves. I will let you know how they go. Thanks -Ryan
    beehiveblueprints.com

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,782

    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    Vance is right. My first year I hived bees and within a day the weather changed to 12 days of solid rain. Our local river topped the banks. No bees were flying. The only relief they had was my syrup that I was feeding them. All were on foundation. I had no comb at all. They all got through it just fine. It was April here in MA. Middle of the month.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

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