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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The December Solstice Day is a very important event and it does have a direct influence on honey bee population

http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/december-solstice.html

December 21 is a Solstice Day in 2009
The December solstice will occur at 17:47 (or 5.47pm) Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) on December 21, 2009. It is also known as the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere and the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere due to the seasonal differences. Its date varies from December 20 to December 23 depending on the year in the Gregorian calendar.

To find the December solstice date in other time zones or other years, please use the Seasons Calculator.

The December Solstice Explained
The December solstice occurs when the sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. In other words, it is when the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun. Depending on the Gregorian calendar, the December solstice occurs annually on a day between December 20 and December 23. On this date, all places above a latitude of 66.5 degrees north are now in darkness, while locations below a latitude of 66.5 degrees south receive 24 hours of daylight.

The sun is directly overhead on the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere during the December solstice. It also marks the longest day of the year in terms of daylight hours for those living south of the Tropic of Capricorn. Those living or travelling south from the Antarctic Circle towards the South Pole will see the midnight sun during this time of the year.

On the contrary, for an observer in the northern hemisphere, the December solstice marks the day of the year with the least hours of daylight for those living north of the Tropic of Cancer. Those living or traveling north of the Arctic Circle towards the North Pole will not be able to see the sun during this time of the year.

Ernie
 

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Well, how does it influence honey bees?
Here is an old quote from Iddee. He explains it pretty well.

Having said this for the NC climate, adjust for your locale.

Sunday will be Winter Solstice. Each day after that will have a little more daylight. It is said that this is one of nature's ways of telling the creatures spring is on the way.

The queen can resume laying anytime from then until mid Jan. For best buildup and strong hives, many keepers begin feeding both sugar water and pollen substitute shortly after Solstice. By mid Jan. at the latest, for maximum effectiveness. Just be sure they have it available constantly. Feeding, then letting them run out before spring will be worse than not feeding in the beginning, as it will cause them to have thousands of larva to feed, but no stores to feed them.
 

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So you mean that even if it's Jan 10th and zero to 10F degrees here day after day, and the colony is in a tight cluster,...the queen is busy running around laying eggs in brood cells somewhere in the middle of the cluster of workers? :s
 

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>queen is busy running . . .
Well kinda :)

She not going frame to frame, she is not laying thousands of eggs, but yes she MAY lay a few (50-100-150??) eggs forming an area of brood about 1-1/2 to 2" in dia. And she may not "start" the very next day after solstice :) It might be as long as several weeks after solstice before you have a "brood nest".
 

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Winter Solstice is the main thing that gets me through these TN dark winters. It's dark at 4:45PM and pitch dark at 5PM. Since I came from SC over 10 years ago I still have not gotten used to this. Especially after we lose DST! At least in SC it didn't get dark until closer to 6PM. Say what you want but an extra hour of light means a lot to me..........especially when we have so many cloudy days.
 

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The queen may not start laying right after the winter solstice, but it is one of the triggering points. To the queen, the hive needs to have enough honey and pollen to feed the brood, then the days need to start getting longer. These three triggers lets the queen know that spring is on its way. She would rather get the colony up and going as soon as possible, assuming they have enough resources.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Here's some very good information about what's going on within the hives.
(I copied it from another forum)

Diapause is common in
insects

Greetings
There is a certain amount of justification in supposing that brood
rearing simply resumes after a period of rest.
Diapause is common in
insects and its length can vary from days to years. There may be
internal time cycles or it may be entirely environmental, depending on
species.

> Our understanding of how diapause ends is still very incomplete. It is recognized that diapause maintenance may culminate in spontaneous termination and resumption of direct development in many insects and mites which are kept under constant laboratory conditions. Similarly, spontaneous hatching of diapause eggs was observed. In such cases, no distinct termination phase can be recognized and diapause is simply maintained until it ends.

Journal of Insect Physiology 52 (2006) 113-127
Review Eco-physiological phases of insect diapause
Vladimir Kostal


--
Peter Loring Borst
Ithaca, NY USA
+42.347, -76.502

Regards,
Ernie
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Happy December Solstice 2009

I recently put high grade, 24% Crude Protein, Pollen Supplement patties that I mix on the hives so that they would be prepped for their increase in egg and brood production. (December Solstice)
The hives have very good populations compared to the last few years.
But, they were fed abundantly last summer and Fall.
Ernie
(Ernie B Supplements.)
 

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[QUOTE=USCBeeMan; It's dark at 4:45PM and pitch dark at 5PM.

So it's bad there? Sunrise here today at 7:21; Sunset at 4:24 = 9 hrs, 3 min.
 
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