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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    4,238

    Default brooding after winter solstice

    i can't remember where i read it, but somewhere along the way i remember reading that after shutting down in the fall, the bees will start rearing brood again after the winter solstice.

    i found a palm-sized patch of brood in a nuc last friday, and i have recently noticed an occasional dead larvae being thrown out of a few of my larger hives.

    i'm sure it varies depending on what part of the country you are in, but are any of you seeing any signs of early brooding?

    the other thing is that on the rare days when it is warm enough to fly and not raining my bees are finding pollen. i'm seeing red, pale yellow, and orange-yellow. the average low temp here this time of year is just below freezing.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Marietta, OH
    Posts
    132

    Default Re: brooding after winter solstice

    In southern Ohio, I have an observation hive inside the house. No brood at all, clustered up tight right now. Interestingly, being indoors doesn't seem to change their behavior much. They pretty much follow what my outdoor hives do.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    4,238

    Default Re: brooding after winter solstice

    interesting, thanks todd. i'd be interested in hearing back when you first see brood.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    4,238

    Default Re: brooding after winter solstice

    average temperature wise, your march is like our january.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tyrone, Pennsylvania,USA
    Posts
    353

    Default Re: brooding after winter solstice

    I peaked in on some of my nucs on 12/22 and found a palm size patch of brood also.I was surprised to find brood at this time of the year.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    2,813

    Default Re: brooding after winter solstice

    I am not sure a indoor observant hive would produce the same climate as a hive outdoors in full sun. Considering all the factors involved I suspect a cluster inside a hive in full sun could get much warmer than on in a house at 70 degrees but no way to get solar gain. Keep in mind that bees want it more like 95 degrees. Our typical 70 ish would be on the cool side for them. It is the lower end of brood rearing temperatures and I have seen information that suggests the development of brood is retarded at those temperatures. According to observations made by Huber anyway.

    As I understand it brood production does not necessarily sease. it slows down up to the solstice and then begins to increase again. I would suspect that weather and other factors also need to be considered. Colony strength which I have seen information that indicates a weak colony is more likely to to continue with brood more than a strong one.

    Winter brood production is confirmed by Langstroth having found frames of brood in a hive in early February.

    "opening one of my hives on the 5th day of February and found an abundance of eggs and brood. Although the winter had been an unusually cold one,..."
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Romania, Sibiu
    Posts
    246

    Default Re: brooding after winter solstice

    I was also surprised to see some capped brood (50-70 cells) after a period of almost a month with night lows between 23 and 14 at night and ~30 during day time. We're having some warm days this Christmas(48 max. today with heavy cleansing flights) and I had the chance of opening a hive.
    I'm having my first 2 hives going into Winter and left them with no insulation except for some above the cover to avoid condensation under the lid. It's easy to peak inside at any time: just raise the lid a bit - the colder the more bees getting down the frames.
    In my area I had no brood at the end of August, then some in November at one hive and December the other.
    I'm very curious to see when they will really start laying in my area.
    I also noticed this winter that the hens produced a lot of egs wich didn't happen during the last 4 years since I have them and despite the low temperatures during December. We had a warm November and a cold December.

    Regards,
    Cristian
    1 year - 7 hives - T - Dfa (Humid continental warm summer climate)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Midland OR. United States
    Posts
    96

    Default Re: brooding after winter solstice

    I moved my bees to Cali. three weeks ago. I went through them last week and found eggs and larva in most of them. Right now they are going threw 25lbs. of ultra bee dry feed per week.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Mt holly, NC, USA
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: brooding after winter solstice

    Interesting observations. It was warm enough to do inspection in my local, 6 days ago. At that time I went through 7 hives. The two strongest had no obvious brood, but plenty of bees and healthy looking queens. The 5 late summer splits had fewer bees but each had capped brood in the several hundred to a thousand range.

    While the above was encouraging, I have had 2 deadouts out of 30 hives. I need to go in and try to clarify the reasons for this.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
    Posts
    3,157

    Default Re: brooding after winter solstice

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    are any of you seeing any signs of early brooding?.
    Yes, couple frames of brood right now.
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    4,238

    Default Re: brooding after winter solstice

    excellent keith, sounds like you're on track for feb.

    what is the average low temp at your location this time of year?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Athens, OH
    Posts
    2,642

    Default Re: brooding after winter solstice

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    average temperature wise, your march is like our january.
    Ah, but your July is like our eternal damnation.
    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    4,238

    Default Re: brooding after winter solstice

    Quote Originally Posted by cg3 View Post
    Ah, but your July is like our eternal damnation.
    yep. mid july to mid august is no fun here. otherwise the remaining 11 months are great with distinct changes as the seasons progress.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
    Posts
    3,157

    Default Re: brooding after winter solstice

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    .

    what is the average low temp at your location this time of year?
    high 30's-low 40's
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    4,238

    Default Re: brooding after winter solstice

    got it, thanks keith!
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Brooklyn, NY
    Posts
    171

    Default Re: brooding after winter solstice

    I found eggs and larvae a few days ago in my weak hive.
    3 years-2 hives-T
    brooklyn-queen.com

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: brooding after winter solstice

    low 50's today, sunny, light winds, uncapping crumbs at the entrances, foraging a little pollen and water, orientation flying vs. group cleansing flights.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Decatur, Alabama
    Posts
    64

    Default Re: brooding after winter solstice

    Squarepeg, Is this a warmer winter than most for our area in terms of bees? I know you are more Northern than I am, but we have had some days in the 70's here. I have been nervous this much warm weather will have them going through their stores very quickly this year. I have been checking weight of the hives every other week. Hoss

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: brooding after winter solstice

    howdy hoss! i think we've been close to historical averages so far this year. i don't think you'll find that your bees have used much of their stores yet, but will begin to use them more and more toward the end of january and into february. this is when the first tree pollens start to come in and brooding starts to accelerate.

    the tricky time is when they have used up stores to build up their numbers in anticipation of the early nectar flows, and then we get hit with a long stretch of cold and/or rainy weather. this is what happened this past spring, and my hives were just getting to the point of needing supplemental feeding when the weather finally broke and all was well.

    what is your box configuration and how much do they weigh?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Decatur, Alabama
    Posts
    64

    Default Re: brooding after winter solstice

    I have two hives. Both have two deeps. One has two supers with one being full of capped honey and the second has about 5 frames of honey. The other hive had a super going into winter of uncapped honey that they have moved down (At least that's what I think they did). So I removed that super. The one with the supers I can not tilt with one hand the second one I can. I have taken 50# boxes of potatoes here at work to judge what it should feel like weight wise when I tilt them. I also compare to the empty equipment I have waiting to do splits in the spring.
    Do you do Pollen cakes starting soon? Or do the trees blooming provide enough?

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