How cold in the hive?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    Richmond, Virginia
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    Default How cold in the hive?

    How cold does a healthy hive let the cluster get in winter? Im using broodminder and shocked to see the inside temp is 55 F. I thought the bees would keep things warmer than that- not sure if this is normal or the sign of an dying hive.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Great Falls Montana
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    Default Re: How cold in the hive?

    I admit I do not know what brood minder is but an in the hive temperature of 55 sounds very healthy to me. I have no idea what the outside ambient temperature is but the bees have a mandate to keep their body temperature above 45 degrees. When they get to that temperature, they cluster and keep the surface of that cluster at that temperature. If the temperature inside the box is 55, the bees do not need to cluster but can go about activities such as bringing far flung honey stores into the core area where they will cluster if needed.

    Now I wrap my hives with an insulated wrap with heavy top insulation and a mid level entrance. During Below zero outside ambient temperatures, I have seen bees guarding that entrance.

    Some folks loudly declare that bees do not heat the hive, only the cluster. Your data and my observations show that physics is still alive and well. Your bees are fine.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
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    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
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    Default Re: How cold in the hive?

    The internet is instant, and the internet is often wrong-Kim Flottum

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    4,272

    Default Re: How cold in the hive?

    Kateowp, it is going to be 70° here Sat. Open up the hive and see where the brood nest/cluster is in relation to the temperature probe. I find that my bees tend to cluster on the southern side of the hive and if your probe is anywhere else, you are just not getting a true picture of the inhive temperatures. With the mild weather we have been getting, I expect to see a fair amount of brood when I get in the hives this weekend.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
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    2,295

    Default Re: How cold in the hive?

    Betterbee has a broodminder online for those interested. It is about 12F right now. Lower brood box is 85 and upper 42. I am a little surprised that the upper box is not warmer but they are apparently clustered low. https://www.betterbee.com/Monitors/broodminder.asp J

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia
    Posts
    87

    Default Re: How cold in the hive?

    Ok- I will take a peek Saturday! Im not expecting brood cause the temps are much lower than necessary. If Im reading broodminder right (and I may not be!) the hive hasnt had brood since mid October.
    https://map.beecounted.org/hive/summ...yv/last180days

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Lilburn, GA, USA
    Posts
    748

    Default Re: How cold in the hive?

    Hey, Kate,

    I'm not familiar with the broodminder, but it appears to me it would be taking a spot temperature, so it probably matters greatly where you place it. I would echo what JW is saying. Also, maybe they aren't raising brood at the moment, so no need to keep things hot inside.

    Quote Originally Posted by kateowp View Post
    How cold does a healthy hive let the cluster get in winter? Im using broodminder and shocked to see the inside temp is 55 F. I thought the bees would keep things warmer than that- not sure if this is normal or the sign of an dying hive.
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Richmond, VA, USA
    Posts
    357

    Default Re: How cold in the hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by kateowp View Post
    Ok- I will take a peek Saturday! Im not expecting brood cause the temps are much lower than necessary. If Im reading broodminder right (and I may not be!) the hive hasnt had brood since mid October.
    https://map.beecounted.org/hive/summ...yv/last180days
    Kate,

    If your Broodminder is over the cluster, but several inches away, it sounds like a reasonable temp. As long as the temp is several degrees above ambient temp, your bees are likely ok. During the coldest weather last year, my Broodminder never dropped below 40F as I recall.

    Your bees are probably laying up some brood right now. I think you can relax.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Northern Colorado, USA
    Posts
    632

    Default Re: How cold in the hive?

    I have a homemade data logger on one of my hives. When the bees are not on/near the temperature sensor it reads cool, but it is usually a bit above ambient. I am guessing the cluster had just moved up or away from the temperature sensor, so you are not seeing the bees. heat rises, so the bottom of the hive (if the cluster has moved up) will be cooler.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Covington County, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    1,600

    Default Re: How cold in the hive?

    Can you tell us your hive configuration and the placement of the temperature monitor that you are taking your reading from? When you were getting the 55 degree reading, what was the temperature outside the hive?

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