Are they nuts or hardy winter bees
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Vauxhall, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    354

    Default Are they nuts or hardy winter bees

    Hello,

    I went to my hives today and noticed bees cleaning the hives and some taking to flight with dead bees. Now I know this is not unusual for some locations, but with snow on the ground, cloudy and -5C (23F) it is unusual.

    BTW, I used the ashes from my wood stove in front of the hives, thank 'you yukonjeff' it makes a big difference on 'kamikaze' bees.
    Summ Summ Bienchen summ herum

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Are they nuts or hardy winter bees

    A few years back I had bees out and flying in significant numbers in 25F (-4C) weather from one hive. It was cloudy and snowing. I think it was December 23rd. Most of them perished on the roof of a shed that was in front of the entrance a few feet away. The bees were Italians, and the colony was very large. They were in 2 10-frame Langstroth Deeps, witn no insulation or wrapping except for a 1 inch piece of foam incorporated in the telescoping cover. The colony right next to them, which was quite similar, never showed face unless it was 40F (5C) and sunny. They both made it through winter just fine, and I split them the following spring.

    Bees will be bees.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    294

    Default Re: Are they nuts or hardy winter bees

    My Saskatraz hive flies in the 30's, I am not sure what they are doing. Probably cleansing. The other 10 hives show no activity at those temperatures.
    So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,520

    Default Re: Are they nuts or hardy winter bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Biermann View Post
    Hello,

    I went to my hives today and noticed bees cleaning the hives and some taking to flight with dead bees. Now I know this is not unusual for some locations, but with snow on the ground, cloudy and -5C (23F) it is unusual.

    BTW, I used the ashes from my wood stove in front of the hives, thank 'you yukonjeff' it makes a big difference on 'kamikaze' bees.
    For sure, these bees are wasting lots of energy and resources over nothing.
    I would not call these "hardy winter bees".
    I'd call these - idiots.

    The hardy winter bees are very stingy and not wasteful.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    5,255

    Default Re: Are they nuts or hardy winter bees

    I can remember commenting that those were senile bees! All I know is that I was having good wintering success despite many fly outs into the snow. All kinds of thoughts about up / down direction reversals because the ground is lighter colored than the sky. Also that they are flying out looking for water because we insulated too well and there is no condensation in the hive for them to sip on to dilute their honey for consumption.

    If nosema counts are high they will do a lot of flying to poop but they dont make it far from the hive before they let loose and it shows on the snow and hive fronts. Donno
    Frank

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,922

    Default Re: Are they nuts or hardy winter bees

    It's hard to say since taking a cleansing flight could be a good thing, but Brother Adam's rule is that bees that are dormant in winter are bees that winter well.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Sisters, Oregon
    Posts
    178

    Default Re: Are they nuts or hardy winter bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Biermann View Post
    Hello,

    I went to my hives today and noticed bees cleaning the hives and some taking to flight with dead bees. Now I know this is not unusual for some locations, but with snow on the ground, cloudy and -5C (23F) it is unusual.

    BTW, I used the ashes from my wood stove in front of the hives, thank 'you yukonjeff' it makes a big difference on 'kamikaze' bees.
    My Russians and Carnys are flying at 29 and sun. They are clearing their entrances of dead bees and look very robust. Just depends on the bee and genetics.
    I'm smart but at the end of the day I'm still the help.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    St Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    343

    Default Re: Are they nuts or hardy winter bees

    I find this topic fascinating, and made this infographic last year using a couple difference sources--namely an ABJ article that discussed cold-weather flying. As best I could tell, there are a few key numbers. A bee will bring her thorax up over 93F in the hive. In cold weather, that temperature starts dropping while she's flying. As long as the ambient temp is over 50F though and as long as she's got fuel, she should be able to generate enough heat while she's static to get her thorax temp back up over 93F. BUT if the ambient temp is below 50F and if she has to fly for too long, her thorax temperature will fall below 77F--essentially paralyzing her flight muscles. So it's all about a bee's ability to re-warm her thorax and for her to make it back into the hive before her thorax falls below that critical 77F.

    How_Bees_Fly_in_the_Cold.jpg

    I did a short blog about it too if you want to kill a few minutes: https://www.mitecalculator.com/bee-y...n-cold-weather

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,520

    Default Re: Are they nuts or hardy winter bees

    Quote Originally Posted by LAlldredge View Post
    My Russians and Carnys are flying at 29 and sun. They are clearing their entrances of dead bees and look very robust. Just depends on the bee and genetics.
    This is different from:

    ....with snow on the ground, cloudy and -5C (23F) it is unusual.
    As always - give context.

    IF you hive is in a wind-less, well-protected, southern-most location AND the sun is hitting (IF the hive is dark, that is helpful ) - the ambient 29F is not that important.
    Nothing wrong with some cleaning/cleansing done in that context.
    Good, worthwhile opportunity to reset/regroup.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  11. #10

    Default Re: Are they nuts or hardy winter bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    It's hard to say since taking a cleansing flight could be a good thing, but Brother Adam's rule is that bees that are dormant in winter are bees that winter well.
    I agree.

    In hard winter climates it is always a bad sign if bees start moving in the middle of winter, even just inside the hive, not to speak flying outside. The hive which comes last out in spring gets highest scores.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Algrie
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Are they nuts or hardy winter bees

    Chez nous ,en Algrie,il n 'y a pas d'hivernage.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Stockholm, NJ, USA
    Posts
    328

    Default Re: Are they nuts or hardy winter bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Biermann View Post
    Hello,

    I went to my hives today and noticed bees cleaning the hives and some taking to flight with dead bees. Now I know this is not unusual for some locations, but with snow on the ground, cloudy and -5C (23F) it is unusual.

    BTW, I used the ashes from my wood stove in front of the hives, thank 'you yukonjeff' it makes a big difference on 'kamikaze' bees.
    what is the scoop on wood stove ashes??

  14. #13

    Default Re: Are they nuts or hardy winter bees

    Ashes smelt snow and form a warmer landing surface in winter conditions, used in Finland specially by hobby beekeepers and just before cleansing flight

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,520

    Default Re: Are they nuts or hardy winter bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Juhani Lunden View Post
    Ashes smelt snow and form a warmer landing surface in winter conditions, used in Finland specially by hobby beekeepers and just before cleansing flight
    Ashes are easily substitute-able by wood chips, straw, brush, etc (now days who has the ashes?)
    Anything dark that the bees can land onto and NOT get hypothermia too quickly (as if landing on the snow).
    Most any dark materials on the snow will melt it quicker.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Stockholm, NJ, USA
    Posts
    328

    Default Re: Are they nuts or hardy winter bees

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Ashes are easily substitute-able by wood chips, straw, brush, etc (now days who has the ashes?)
    Anything dark that the bees can land onto and NOT get hypothermia too quickly (as if landing on the snow).
    Most any dark materials on the snow will melt it quicker.
    Since I heat my home with firewood from 6 am to 10 pm, seven days a week, except when it is 50 and sunny, I think this trick is for me.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
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    3,520

    Default Re: Are they nuts or hardy winter bees

    Quote Originally Posted by roberto487 View Post
    Since I heat my home with firewood from 6 am to 10 pm, seven days a week, except when it is 50 and sunny, I think this trick is for me.
    Sure.
    This was what we did when I was a kid - burned wood and had lots of ashes to dispose of.
    Now I burn natural gas.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

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