How's it going in the cold
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    10,348

    Default How's it going in the cold

    The big freeze has been all over the TV news in my country!

    One thing always crossing my mind when i'm watching is how on earth could bees be expected to survive such extreme conditions? I do wonder how a hive could survive!

    Got to wonder how birds, or in fact anything else, could survive it also.

    So, how's it going? They say a thaw is about to start, so thought i would ask.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
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    8,226

    Default Re: How's it going in the cold

    Things are okay. cold. We've seen it before. Worse even. The bees will be okay...but it takes a lot of work to get them ready. Do the work when it needs to be done and the bees will do the rest.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Drayton Valley, Alberta, Canada
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    248

    Default Re: How's it going in the cold

    Hi OT, it’s our turn in the barrel this week. -23C now and dropping, wind picking up.
    As MP said above, do the prep in late Summer and Fall and then it’s all up to the bees.
    We usually get our answers in mid to late March on success/failure.
    Still optimistic.
    Brian
    53N, 115W, El. 850 meters

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Chicago, ILL. USA
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    322

    Default Re: How's it going in the cold

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Things are okay. cold. We've seen it before. Worse even. The bees will be okay...but it takes a lot of work to get them ready. Do the work when it needs to be done and the bees will do the rest.


    Checked on 12 hives at my work place today and all 12 are alive. It was 37 and overcast when I looked at them and few were active around the entrances. Lifted a few inner covers and found decent sized clusters. Not bad considering the temperatures earlier this week, but I wasn't too worried about them.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
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    7,866

    Default Re: How's it going in the cold

    OT it drives me wild when new beekeepers insist that the weather was just too much and their bees just froze to death. Well it does happen but only under specialized often self inflicted circumstances. If you have what I call an over ventilated hive and a strong cold wind coming in such a direction that it blasts into the hive, the bees cluster smaller and if they can reach feed they almost always survive the onslaught. But, like today here when at 4pm it was in the mid fifties F and in an hour it was in the teens blowing thirty MPH out of the southwest, bees can fail to get clustered properly and they indeed freeze to death.

    This is reason one I am at war with Screened bottom boards and all other systems with several points open to the cold for 'Ventilation'!

    Now my tightly wrapped and insulated colonies just went thru this endurance test. Being masters of HVAC they only need one 1" bored entrance in the uppermost brood body right below the handhold on my langstroth boxes. Not a sign of moisture problems in any of my colonies. And none have or will freeze to death!

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: How's it going in the cold

    Well there's some interesting posts!

    Also the calmness and optimism expressed is impressive. Not sure I would be keen to expose my own bees to the conditions shown on TV over the last few days, i have never had to get bees through anything remotely resembling that. But sounds like you guys know what you are doing!
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Miami, Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    9,340

    Default Re: How's it going in the cold

    The cold isnt bad, its that wind that makes it hard.
    My hives are inside so they dont know any difference but the guys who winter outside have lots of snow this year, so the hives should have their feet covered up tight.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Stevens Point, WI
    Posts
    228

    Default Re: How's it going in the cold

    I winter my bees with a piece of foam board above the inner cover and reflectix insulation wrap which wraps the boxes.

    During the "polar vortex" here in Wisconsin it got down to -32F with wind chill down to -50F.....my bees showed no worse for wear....all were out for a cleansing flight yesterday...and since it will get to 40 degrees today, I'm guessing they will be out today as well.
    Help is here to never misplace that hive tool again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvwlSiOzgOU

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Skaneateles, NY
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    1,007

    Default Re: How's it going in the cold

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Things are okay. cold. We've seen it before. Worse even. The bees will be okay...but it takes a lot of work to get them ready. Do the work when it needs to be done and the bees will do the rest.
    I still need to get better at this.
    Its not for lack of effort! Just cant learn it all in 4 years i guess. Ah well if you could learn it all in 4 years where would be the fun in that?

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Douglassville Pa
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    175

    Default Re: How's it going in the cold

    [QUOTE=Michael Palmer;. Do the work when it needs to be done and the bees will do the rest.[/QUOTE]

    This is how we do it !!!

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Chicago, ILL. USA
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    322

    Default Re: How's it going in the cold

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinWI View Post
    I winter my bees with a piece of foam board above the inner cover and reflectix insulation wrap which wraps the boxes.

    During the "polar vortex" here in Wisconsin it got down to -32F with wind chill down to -50F.....my bees showed no worse for wear....all were out for a cleansing flight yesterday...and since it will get to 40 degrees today, I'm guessing they will be out today as well.
    It got up to 50 today in Chicago and my bees were not out like they were Saturday and Sunday when it was uppers 30's and mid 40's. It has been drizzling on and off throughout the morning and afternoon though. Lots of cleansing flight debris on any leftover snow banks near the hives.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Lottsburg, Virginia USA
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    1,803

    Default Re: How's it going in the cold

    Hi OT we were just down to a balmy -12 C so the only problem I have is to make sure none of the colonies starve as all of them are running on fondant at the moment but another 15 days will start to see some bloom activity. So most of the winter has been hurry and wait but pretty soon the real hurry will kick in.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    10,348

    Default Re: How's it going in the cold

    Good to hear.

    Respect to all the guys who got their bees through this!
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  15. #14
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Gainesboro, Tennessee
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    1,475

    Default Re: How's it going in the cold

    We are back in the 60s, workin in tshirts and the maples are already giving the first bits of pollen. We don't really have a legitimate winter here. The local beeks telling me the winter has been bad makes me slap my knee. Haven't even got snow yet...... Maybe we will here in a week or two. I hope so.
    Feeding early patties. https://youtu.be/bUDd3vk7bgY

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Seattle WA
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    1,247

    Default Re: How's it going in the cold

    Here in the Seattle area, we got the polar vortex # 2. For the first time this year the temperatures dropped below 30 degrees F and I got just under a foot of snow. The bees are doing just fine. It has been a very warm winter so far and I believe this is only the 5th or 6th day this winter where the lowest temperature for the day is below freezing.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Kirksville, Missouri USA
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    1,770

    Default Re: How's it going in the cold

    It used to be a cold front, then it was an arctic blast, now a polar vortex. Same thing, just scarier and scarier names to a weather pattern that's always been around. It gets people to tune into the news more often. We had a friend call from California worried we were barely alive. 16 below isn't seen every winter here, but we've had plenty of the same or worse temps over the years.

    Every bird may not survive, but the native overwintering animals are made to survive the extremes for the most. If extreme weather lingers for a long time, it can take it's toll on some of the population of critters. There are occasionally heavy snows or ice storms followed by extreme cold for a long time, which can have an impact on wildlife by locking up a lot of their food. I am a little amazed that a cluster of bees can get through those temps, but the bees were doing fine last weekend when 50 degrees came around for a couple days.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    1,477

    Default Re: How's it going in the cold

    Top entrance frosting up with -33C(-27.4F). Frosting indicates hives alive! Opening so small, bees can not discard the dead. I cleared the frost.

    P1010461.jpgP1010462.jpg
    Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  19. #18
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    Jul 2012
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    Kirksville, Missouri USA
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    Default Re: How's it going in the cold

    Quote Originally Posted by mgolden View Post
    Top entrance frosting up with -33C(-27.4F). Frosting indicates hives alive! Opening so small, bees can not discard the dead. I cleared the frost.

    P1010461.jpgP1010462.jpg
    I always like seeing the frost on a cold cold day. Bees are alive.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
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    8,226

    Default Re: How's it going in the cold

    OT, the bees here haven't had a good flight since the beginning of November. Today they got one! GeeHaw!

    https://www.frenchhillapiaries.com/new-gallery/

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Derry, New Hampshire
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    2,295

    Default Re: How's it going in the cold

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Well there's some interesting posts!

    Also the calmness and optimism expressed is impressive. Not sure I would be keen to expose my own bees to the conditions shown on TV over the last few days, i have never had to get bees through anything remotely resembling that. But sounds like you guys know what you are doing!
    Its TV. yes its been cold but canada and alaska are routinely this cold. the tv finds a couple accidents on the highway and dramatizes it. luckily this year about once each month we've had a 50 degree flying day so the bees can get out. Ironically in my area i don't have any snow in my yard now. Don't think i've gotten even a foot all winter. bees have been doing this a lot longer then we have.
    Terrence

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