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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was wondering if, in a heavy snow that covers the entrance to the hive, if the little space between the snow pile in front of the entrance and the hive entrance, indicates that the hive is alive?

Wouldn't the heat from the hive (even a little heat) melt the snow a bit?

Always hopeful,
Tanya
 

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Not sure, I'm WAY north of you and our snow has all but melted and the bees have been flying a bit this week. Go figure.
 

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Possibly, yes. I try to remove snow if it's packed and blocking the entrance thoroughly. Snow is not the threat that ice is. Snow has slight insulation qualities, but ice can seal off the all-important ventilation of a hive. Snow can allow at least some air flow for hive ventilation.

All that said, I don't know that I've xperienced a lot of natural snowmelt at an entrance or even at the top of a hive near the cluster. It would take a lot of Btu's to melt snow and that means the hive would be losing considerable heat. If the cluster is near the upper portion, not much warm air will melt at the base of a hive. Heat does not rise; instead it radiates, conducts or convects to something that is cooler. Warm air, on the other hand rises. I believe the concentration of hive heat is probably in close proximity to the cluster and not necessarily at the entrance. Natural air flow would be from a lower entrance through the hive and eventually out the inner/outer covers if so equipped. My theory anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I've already removed the snow at the entrance to all the hives so can't show you an example. It's only a small space but I've always wondered if it meant that the hive was alive.

At least the air would be getting in.

Tanya
 

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I put my deaf (from many years of diesel tractors, gunshots, and sirens) ear against the two hives I have and I could hear a faint buzz. You might give it a try.

RKR
 

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"I put my deaf (from many years of diesel tractors, gunshots, and sirens) ear"

Stole a lot of tractors in your time have you? :lpf::lpf:
 

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USC,
Well played Sir, Well played.:thumbsup:
 

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"I put my deaf (from many years of diesel tractors, gunshots, and sirens) ear"

Stole a lot of tractors in your time have you? :lpf::lpf:
I just about spit my coffee out on that one!
If your deaf or just cant here the buzz try using a cheap stethascope. You can pick one up for under $20 and it makes listening to a hive alot easier. If you listen carefully around the hive, from time to time you may even be able to tell if the cluster has moved.
 

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Even pretty deaf, I can hear the buzz inside the hive (of course, I hear the ocean in a seashell, too!)
Look for dead bees pushed out of the hive or in the fresh snow near the hive. If you have had snow recently (as I'm sure you have), any bees you find are recent ones. Even with temps not leaving the 20's here in Iowa, I find "fresh" dead bees every time I check, every several days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I do check the hives with a thump and listen. Though I'm not that deaf, I don't always hear them. Now, the cheap stethascope sounds like a good investment.

Just was wondering though about the space in front... It just seemed like another, possibly good, way to tell.

I suppose it's the winter doldrums that's getting to me. Too much snow for this transplanted Californian. :rolleyes:

Thanks for all your thoughts.
Tanya
 

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I agree, this has been a terrible winter. I did hike out through our latest (8 inch) snow yesterday to check and did find about a dozen newly dead bees out front, some in the snow having flown out a ways. It has only been 40 degrees one time the last two months, a week ago last Friday, and I did lift the lid and was delighted to see about 50 live bees crawling around on top of the inner cover. But now, really getting worried they will have enough food and badly want some days in the 40s at least. Keeping fingers crossed.
Good luck!
 

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I do check the hives with a thump and listen. ....
Just was wondering though about the space in front... It just seemed like another, possibly good, way to tell......
Tanya
I've noticed a large space (about a foot) between my hives and the snow drift. But my hives are covered in black tar paper. I think the color of the boxes has more to do with receeding snow than any heat loss from the cluster. So I always take a listen for that buzzing. It's a welcomed sound in the dead of winter.
 

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We have not had any weather above 40 since 2/02. So I got out my stethoscope Saturday afternoon and thumped on all of the hives in my back yard till I could find/hear the bees. What a beautiful sound. Need to go out to the farm and check those too. Haven't been out there since 1/28 and bees weren't flying then either.
 

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I often listen but never disturb a hive during winter. Disturbing the hive causes the bees to consume more of their precious winter stores.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
More snow- just started. Whew!!! :( Where's spring?

I guess the listening is the best test at this point.

Tanya
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Just an update-- The temperature was in the upper 30's and when I went down to clear the snow (again) from the front entrance. I found some dead bees in the front of the hive, as iahawk mentioned. At least 4 out of 5 hives.

So they're alive!
Tanya
 
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