Results 1 to 13 of 13
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Montgomery Twp, PA
    Posts
    160

    Default about that winter cluster.....

    I checked the bees this morning. The cluster was split in two with most of the bees at the back of the hive. I haven't seen the Queen for quite some time so I'm wondering if there's no brood to protect. Any suggestions? Should I leave them be?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: about that winter cluster.....

    Christy, I wish I had some advice for you but I have never experienced a split cluster. I hope they make it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    96

    Default Re: about that winter cluster.....

    That's quite a conundrum. I wonder what made them divide? A couple of questions:
    • Is your entrance on the end, or on the side in the middle?
    • I can imagine that if it were a side entrance and they were clustered in the middle that half might migrate one way and half the other - but of course that is just a guess.
    • How did you observe your bees? Do you have a window on the side that allows you to see them or was it warm enough to open the hive up?
    I would think that the objective would be to get them back together - but you will probably have to wait for a warm-ish day to do that.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,938

    Default Re: about that winter cluster.....

    A split cluster usually means that the bees are queenless or the queen is failing and not producing enough pheromone to keep all the workers gathered on her.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Montgomery Twp, PA
    Posts
    160

    Default Re: about that winter cluster.....

    Thanks for the ideas. I am also thinking they are queenless. They've been a bit hot, and I haven't seen the queen in awhile. Here is a video of the 2 clusters from the viewing window. Luckily, each cluster is large enough to survive the freezing tempteratures we've been having. The cluster in the front of the hive goes from the entrance to the edge of the window. Looks like I'll be ordering a queen for spring.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
    Posts
    832

    Default Re: about that winter cluster.....

    If the queen is failing they may be able to still pull through and rear a new queen in the spring. I had a queen do this 2 or 3 years ago. She was a Georgia queen (bought from I have no idea where) that I didn't know she wasn't good (being a new beekeeper also) but she was able to put out about a frame of brood and they reared a new queen in that frame. This did put them back from being able to build up and get honey, but the hive has made it to this point. I have taken some daughters from them now and they seem Ok. I think I have 4 hives from her line going now.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Montgomery Twp, PA
    Posts
    160

    Default Re: about that winter cluster.....

    My bees kept requeening all summer. :-/ It was annoying. I went through 4 total, so they are very much local mutt bees. I'm hoping shes just elusive and not dead. I'm going to open then up this weekend when the temps go into the high 60s to check for signs o f her.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    151

    Default Re: about that winter cluster.....

    you likely wouldnt have any brood this time of year - it could have been that the one cluster was off foraging on that side and got caught by a sudden drop in temps - definately go in when temps hit 60s this weekend and see whats up - you MAY be able to readjust the bars so the cluster is next to the honey as well - if indeed your honey stores are split as well.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Montgomery Twp, PA
    Posts
    160

    Default Re: about that winter cluster.....

    Well, my queen is alive. I saw her a few weeks ago during a warm day, but my bees continue to stay split. I was hoping they'd reorient after the warm days. I'm going to assume they know what they're doing. The colony is healthy. My mutt bees always keep me guessing.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Aberdeen, Idaho
    Posts
    458

    Default Re: about that winter cluster.....

    You might have a two queen hive. Sometimes they will raise a new queen in the fall without dispatching the old queen. I have seen this once in our hives. They dispatched the old queen before winter in our case.
    Dave

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Montgomery Twp, PA
    Posts
    160

    Default Re: about that winter cluster.....

    Could that mean an imminent swarm as soon as the weather warms up?? I have a new hive I'm adding this spring, and I'm wondering if I should split them instead of ordering a package. Ohhhh, beekeeping! You always keep me guessing.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,069

    Default Re: about that winter cluster.....

    >Could that mean an imminent swarm as soon as the weather warms up??

    Doubtful.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    1,017

    Default Re: about that winter cluster.....

    Quote Originally Posted by chr157y View Post
    Could that mean an imminent swarm as soon as the weather warms up?? I have a new hive I'm adding this spring, and I'm wondering if I should split them instead of ordering a package. Ohhhh, beekeeping! You always keep me guessing.
    I don't think this is the case. More likely, you have stores on each side with a bunch of empty space in the middle.

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