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Frank, The temps were very cold outside preventing flying. Mobus deliberately doubled the size of the colony resulting in very efficient heat management with minimal consumption of stores. The colony was in a highly insulated box requiring very little heat therefore low amounts of honey were consumed. Less water was produced from metabolizing the sugars in honey. The result was a water deficient hive. It is counter-intuitive to us, but deadly to the bees.
 

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Yes it is relatively easy to contrive conditions far from what would naturally occur and achieve a situation that will support almost any preconceived outcome. Like water intake for humans being deadly outside norms! Context matters!
What we do not have here is a controlled experiment with incremental variations in available water supply and measured effects on bees. Are bees found in the snow actually dehydrated, and if so is it because water in a suitable form is unavailable or is it because they have been dehydrated from viral fever or dysentery? It is all too easy to mistake concurrence with causation.

Too much jumping to conclusions and the explanations seem to require some "leaps of faith". Leaps of faith are something I am a bit weak on.
 

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Is it fact or hypothesis that bees on the outer parts of the cluster gradually rotate positions with those nearer the center.
If the point of all this is to suggest that grossly over insulating or heating a hive in extremely low humidity conditions could be a waste of resources and not lead to increase survivablilty of the colony, then that I will buy!
 

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grossly over insulating or heating a hive in extremely low humidity conditions could be a waste of resources
This is the essence of what Mobus found. Bees need to consume a certain amount of honey to maintain acceptable moisture levels in a hive. A very large colony in a very well insulated hive suffers from lack of water. Conversely, a very small colony in a well insulated hive can survive and thrive where it would die in a wooden hive. This goes a long way toward explaining the results Brother Adam found when packing colonies for winter. It was very deleterious to health of the colony.
 

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How is it explained that Ian and others manage to keep bees at the lowest metabolic demand temperature yet have excellent survival rates?

I know it is simplification but it seems that some of this other work suggests that the bees should be kept colder so they shiver harder, produce more water and are happier.

Others feel that this water so produced will be demineralized and somehow not palatable or sustaining to the bees.

It seems to me like grasping at straws to explain that a large percentage of bees at close out are programmed to not survive till spring and fly from the colony to die.
 

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Sibylle; It has always been difficult to know who to believe! The writer may have been mistaken for any of a number of reasons, including the influence of his own preconceptions. After a period of long acceptance by peers, some authors appear to have gotten sloppy about what constitutes proof and demand acceptance at face value. Resting on their laurels!

Even if it is well devised and controlled research, it has to get through the next stage in transfer of knowledge -- our own personal filters which can create, misconceptions, preconceptions etc., created by our own unique experience.

A good defense is a healthy skepticism. Look for any gaps or flaws in the story and stop as soon as any "leap of faith" is required of you.
 

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Well Frank, I called him not long ago to ask him something and he told me I have to pay a fee to get advise on the hive climate......I did not pay because I already paid for the speaking.

He is definitely not resting on his laurels. :)

Thankfully I have some reliable contacts to discuss this and this was what I did.
 

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http://web.archive.org/web/20120308165343/https://beenatural.wordpress.com/natural-beekeeping/observations/condensation/

This is an archive copy of Dennis Murrel's website. Under Musings you can see a bee taking condensation off of the plexiglass inner cover. I clump up the dry sugar just to keep them from hauling it out for trash. I wet the leading edge to get them interested in it. I've often opened a hive in the spring and virtually all of the dry sugar is gone. Other hives only part of it is gone. Always some of it is gone. There is research to show that bees PREFER mineralized water:
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/een.12375

Particularly sodium, calcium, magnesium and potassium but even that varied by season.

I don't know of any that says they won't take demineralized water and if they exist, I would question them based on personal observation.
 

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Default Re: Water source in winter
Is it fact or hypothesis that bees on the outer parts of the cluster gradually rotate positions with those nearer the center.
If the point of all this is to suggest that grossly over insulating or heating a hive in extremely low humidity conditions could be a waste of resources and not lead to increase survivablilty of the colony, then that I will buy!


The above comment is pretty interesting.

Scientists are saying that's how penguins are doing it down in Antarctica and so on. So if penguins can do it, I don't see why bees couldn't...and aren't bees smarter than penguins?
 
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