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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, all,

I was just wondering what others have observed as far as lowest foraging temperature? Today the girls were bringing pollen back in around 55 degrees.

And what kind of pollen this time of year - bright yellow.

-Thomas
 

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I don't see the bees out in force at that temperature this time of year but in the spring, there are a fair amount at 50 degrees. Most of my queens are offspring of queens from Olympic Wilderness Apiaries and they are tough bees. They really get out early in the year when it is still pretty chilly.
 

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Hi, all,

I was just wondering what others have observed as far as lowest foraging temperature?

-Thomas
Some of my hives will fly at 41 on a sunny day. Not really to collect pollen but short distances to stretch their wings and cleanse. Other hives won’t fly until its 50. I think the sun has a lot to do with getting out in the lower temps.
 

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Risky condition foraging could be a bit of a red flag for some disease conditions. That said some bee types do clearly work in colder and wet conditions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey, Frank,

which diseases are you referring to?

thanks,
Thomas
Risky condition foraging could be a bit of a red flag for some disease conditions. That said some bee types do clearly work in colder and wet conditions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
yeah, this morning, just one hive with a few bees coming and going. 43 degrees F.

Some of my hives will fly at 41 on a sunny day. Not really to collect pollen but short distances to stretch their wings and cleanse. Other hives won’t fly until its 50. I think the sun has a lot to do with getting out in the lower temps.
 

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Hey, Frank,

which diseases are you referring to?

thanks,
Thomas
Nosema and associated virus.

" (Kralj and Fuchs, 2010; Dussaubat et al., 2010, 2013; Wolf et al., 2014). Infected bees are also more likely to engage in riskier behavior, such as increased foraging trips during adverse weather conditions (Woyciechowski and Kozlowski, 1998) and robbing other hives for resources (Kuszewska and Woyciechowski, 2014). Nosema sp. also affects the number of flights taken and the average flight duration (Dussaubat et al., 2013; Alaux et al., 2014; Dosselli et al., 2016)."

From https://jeb.biologists.org/content/221/4/jeb161489
 

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I have seen a few flying days this week, sunny and in the 40's. I am pretty sure they were out at 44 one day.
 

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One of my 3 colonies would fly in upper 40’s and bring back some ivy pollen. The other two would wait until it gets ~50F. We had unusually warm weather last January and the bees foraged on Hazelnut trees nearby in mid 40’s.
 

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Up here I’ve seen them forage at +5 or 6 C (40F?) in April for Alder and Willow pollen. Still snow on the ground. Snow turns brown :)
Brian
53N, 115W, El.850M
 

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When I read this post it was 43°. No bees flying. I looked again at 47°. Still no bees flying or on the front porch. It’s 51° now and all of my hives have about a dozen bees on the porch and two to three dozen are in the air around the apiary. I watched them and they take off and fly two to five loops out to 30' and then come back in. Cleansing flights. They are not foraging.
 

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Hi, all,

I was just wondering what others have observed as far as lowest foraging temperature? Today the girls were bringing pollen back in around 55 degrees.

And what kind of pollen this time of year - bright yellow.

-Thomas
Some of mine were also bringing back the bright yellow pollen yesterday with temps in the high 40s. I'd also like to know what plant it was coming from? Central Illinois.
 

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I looked at a hive in a tree trunk that a homeowner wanted removed. It was a big tree and must have been a big hive given the amount of traffic at the entrance. It was actively snowing at the time. Not hard, but flurries.
 

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Once (only once) I drove by one of my outyards when it was 27 F and the bees had a steady stream of bees going to and from the nearby woods by the creek. I've often wondered what they were working on. It was dead calm (odd for Nebraska) and sunny and they were black bees. I wonder if a colony in the woods died and they were robbing it out.
 

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Working in too cold is not necessarily a good thing.
It is risky as in - you maybe loosing forager bees over unnecessary risk taking.
Losing bees over not much payback is a bad trait and would normally be terminated.

Suppose robbing a nearby colony maybe an OK risk/payback case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
This is a good point!

Working in too cold is not necessarily a good thing.
It is risky as in - you maybe loosing forager bees over unnecessary risk taking.
Losing bees over not much payback is a bad trait and would normally be terminated.

Suppose robbing a nearby colony maybe an OK risk/payback case.
 
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