Small winter cluster [Archive] - Beesource Beekeeping Forums

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03-17-2019, 03:29 PM
I checked my bees last week and the cluster was small. I added a winter paddy. Today there was just a hand
full of bees (39 degrees out) will be getting down to the twentys at night still.
Is there anything I can do to save my hive. Can I close them up and bring them in the garage for a week or so?
Thanks for any advice.

03-17-2019, 03:59 PM
You could try but moving them dramatically changes the conditions of the hive. There could be orientation problems along with issues of them flying (or trying to fly) if they think it's warm enough to go. A patty won't hurt. Syrup (somewhat warm) will help as well. Block wind, allow sun and hope for the best! I've had small clusters surprise me when I thought they were goners and I've had big clusters crash quickly.

03-18-2019, 09:32 AM
I have a similar situation as yourself. At the beginning of February I had eight frames of bees. First week of March I checked and I am down to frame and 1/2 of bees if that. This was a double ten frame brood box, so what I did was I took the lower brood box off so they had a smaller space I also placed a pollen Patty directly over the small cluster. They literally would not move off of that small cluster as I feel they are on top of brood.

If it warms up enough into the upper 50s I am going to consider moving them into a v frame nuke box just to try something to help them..... It's a long time until they have any fresh pollen and nectar to bring into the hive.

03-18-2019, 11:22 AM
Sandwich them between insulated follower boards.
If you have two frames of bees - then those two frames are placed between the follower boards.
Feed from the top when weather is cold as they can not move.
Accessible honey frames outside of the boards so they can get some honey as needed (when weather is warm).
Throw a loose blanket/pillow on the top.

No need to move to nuc hives - they are just as cold and yet not enough space for extra insulation/extra supplies.
It is warmer to stay in the bigger hives but sandwiched in so that you have double-walls (or even triple-walls if want to).
Even if you have only 2-3 frames of bees - keep them in the big hive and implement a hive-inside-hive setup.