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Hi everyone. I have a top bar hive where the cluster hasn't moved from the front of the hive toward the back since they hunkered down for the winter since about late Nov./early Dec. I can see them because they are right inside the entrance. They are alive, but how long can they stay in one place and not starve?
 

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Hi everyone. I have a top bar hive where the cluster hasn't moved from the front of the hive toward the back since they hunkered down for the winter since about late Nov./early Dec. I can see them because they are right inside the entrance. They are alive, but how long can they stay in one place and not starve?
I have top bar hives and I've seen this phenomenon frequently. I believe it's completely normal and healthy. Bees will go from entrance towards back the hive as they eat through the honey. Most honey not used up until late winter, early spring. Very normal for them to be near the entrance for most of winter. I consider it a good sign
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have top bar hives and I've seen this phenomenon frequently. I believe it's completely normal and healthy. Bees will go from entrance towards back the hive as they eat through the honey. Most honey not used up until late winter, early spring. Very normal for them to be near the entrance for most of winter. I consider it a good sign
thank you! I lost them early last year and the year before they seemed to start moving toward the back by now.
 

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The bees natural inclination is to cluster below the honey, and gradually eat their way upwards into it through winter.

In a TBH that is not possible, you have to hope they will move sideways into it. This is easier for them in a mild winter, but hard or impossible in extremely cold conditions. I am not sure what the climate is where you are. But something to consider, that can be done without disturbing the cluster, is to move honeycombs from the back of the hive and place then right next to the cluster. You do not have to disturb the cluster, but remove empty comb that is right next to the cluster, and place honeycombs there. You should place then right on the edge of the cluster in actual contact with the bees on the outside of the cluster, and uncap a small part of the comb so the bees know it is there and have easy access to get a taste of it and get them started on it.
 
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