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Grapes are wind pollinated. Up here in the frozen north I have a 16ft. by 20 ft. greenhouse ,unheated in the winter months. I grow seedless table grapes, they flower inside and a fan pollinates them just fine. The grape flowers are not very large or attractive to bees, 'they say', but somewhere some bees probably love them.

goodness! I am having sentence structure issues, I had to edit this post 3 times.
 

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This is my first winter with bees. I ended up with 3 layens hives, one bought, one split, and one cut out. After 14 straight days of -30C to -40C nights we have had a 3 day warm up and today it was a very windy + 5C. At least one of my hives is alive and a few came out in the sun. I think the smaller cut out is dead and the other hive is a question mark as +5C is still quite cold for a cleansing flight and the high winds were not good.
 

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Last year, some shrews killed one of my colonies - resolved .............shrews shrews ....
Me as well, although I am not sure the shrews killed it but they were definitely in the hive. Last week I saw two dead shrews that my cat killed, they were pretty tiny so I was glad my 1/4" mesh was on over the entrances, little buggers are not getting in this winter.
 

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I understand that only 1/4th will stop the pygmies' in Canada.
From what I have read, that is right. Thankfully the bees don't have a problem with the 1/4 inch. I put it on early to test their ability to move thru the holes. I noticed that even those bees with pollen seemed to get thru they just needed to learn to go at an angle. I even watched some drones move thru.


Today at +4C they were out and flying in the sun looking for water. I filled a tray and they sure spent time filling up.
 

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If it were me - I'd remove the 1/4th inch in Spring.
It does not stay on after the winter, but those shrews are out and about the hives now and I don't want them disturbing the cluster especially when it gets cold at night. During the day the bees are moving enough that I don't think it would be a problem as the shrews take advantage of clustering bees and bees that are active can defend themselves.
 

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-30C for a week and still counting, it is not supposed to warm till Jan 12/22. My hives are buried in snow, The Langstroth is two 6x6deeps then a deep full of insulation. On top of that there is 2 feet of snow on the insulated roof. The snow is half way up the very top deep, the covering I propped over the upper entrance is buried in snow but I see this morning a very tiny hole in the snow where the frost has built and moisture is seeping out of the igloo.

The two Ukrainian hives are covered in the same way, two feet of snow on top and only about 6 inches of the top 14" of upper insulation is to be seen. The upper entrances also have a piece of scrap propped so they don't get blocked but all is covered up with snow and no moisture is escaping anywhere. Either they are dead, or like Pederson apiaries showed when they covered their hives, they have melted an inner pocket. One of the hives seems to be venting a little moisture out an upper crack in the quilt box. Still, I am tempted to peak under the board and look at the entrance but in all my previous attempts everything was fine so I wonder how helpful it would be anyway, maybe I should just let them alone.
 

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My colonies are up 2 feet, if we ever got more than 2 feet of snow to last around here it'd be interesting.

I've never seen 6 feet of snowpack before.

If you start digging around the snow to find the entrance it'll scare them, and the metabolism will skyrocket - but they could also be in desperate need of air.
To be clear the snow is not 6 feet deep, I have piled the snow up around the hives, per instructions, but the subsequent snow has buried them even further. I have a bottom vent with a board propped to keep it clear under the snow and an upper entrance that is now protected with a piece of hard plastic leaned against the hive to keep the upper entrance from freezing over, as it has been doing simply because the shrew screens provide a place for the condensation to gather into ice, which then backs up over the round entrance holes. The plastic creates an air pocket that is warmer than the outside air that keeps the entrance ice free.

But I've read colonies suffocating to death from snow.

From the experiences of commercial Sask. beekeepers who bury their entire hives in snow, the information is that they do not suffocate in the snow but when ice builds up over the entrances. Snow at -20C is dry and fluffy thru which air does move, snow at warm temps is heavy and wet and compacts into an icy mess, not all snow is equal. To add, we don't usually get a melt until March/April so the chances of that snow melting and creating ice is also very small and if it does, I have an upper entrance that will not be affected and is easy to clear.
 
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