Small winter cluster
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Norwalk, Ohio
    Posts
    2

    Default Small winter cluster

    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.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    6,091

    Default Re: Small winter cluster

    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.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Stevens Point, WI
    Posts
    199

    Default

    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.
    Help is here to never misplace that hive tool again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTqB0zcmhmQ

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,879

    Default Re: Small winter cluster

    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.
    Last edited by GregV; 03-18-2019 at 11:37 AM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

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