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Discussion Starter #1
Here in Colorado, the weather turned to complete crap the day I picked them up. 2 packages - I installed them in Aurora, CO and near Hartsel, CO at 9400 ft elevation, and the weather is super windy and cold since (40's and low 50's and WINDY). Did I mention windy? For example, it's 21.4 °F in Hartsel right now...and 39.7 °F in Aurora.

Anyway, I insulated above the bars on the hive in Hartsel on Sunday morning, taped around my removable bottom board to prevent drafts, and had to leave to come back down the hill. I have all the exits plugged on that hive, although it is really too cold for them to even move yet. My neighbor up there will remove the entrance reducers/plugs as weather improves. The wind was blowing up to 60 mph right in the entrance holes, so that's why I plugged them in.

Here in town, I have opened one exit of 3 (1 inch hole), and see very few bees coming out to explore at all. They have sipped at the syrup but not taken much, and if I look up into the hive through the observation windows, I can see them clustered around where the queen cage is, and in a spot near the feeder and some are feeding, and most of them are moving and look alive. The marshmallow is out of her cage and sitting in the bottom of the hive also, so she is released. This hive I am less worried about overall. I insulated above their top bars and sealed around the bottom board on Monday afternoon since they still weren't very active. They should be warmer now.

Can bees survive crappy weather like this? I assume they are pretty good at it, since my neighbor up there said the day she installed her package last year it snowed a foot and they thrived during the summer anyway.

Oh- one last question. Should I try to clean out the dead bees on the screen at the bottom of my top bar hive in town, or leave it to them once they can move a bit?

Thanks!
Striider

More videos from this weekend going up soon: https://www.youtube.com/user/striderz69 Editing out wind noise is a pain! Think I am going to have to overdub.
 

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Hold on sunshine is on the way.. Give em a chance to warm up on their own before chilling them with a house cleaning. IMO

Im sure they are gonna be just fine.... finger and wings crossed( on me not the bees )
 

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In weather like you are describing feed you provide for your bees ought to be in contact with the cluster. When it is extremely cold feeding syrup is a bad idea, particularly in an entrance feeder. I am feeding solid feed - baker's fondant - to my new packages (and to my over wintered hives that appear low on stores) and they are scarfing it down like no tomorrow. And it is not as cold here as where you are. I haven't looked at a thermometer this morning but I don't think we frosted last night.

Plan on leaving your entrances reduced for quite a while - June is not out of the question. Your hive in Hartsel should not be subject to 60MPH winds and you should find a better location for it. Or put up some wind breaks. (I have one yard surrounded by wooden snow fence to alleviate the wind some.)

About the dead bees - don't worry about them until summer. Or a day with little wind and the temperature above 60F.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I forgot to mention that my feed in the hive in Hartsel is inside with the cluster. The feeder here in town is above the cluster, so I may need to change that quickly. Yes, I do need a windbreak, although I put the hive in the most naturally sheltered spot I could find....then the wind shifted direction of course. Normally, it's 90% from the south, but Saturday it was howling from the west directly. This weekend, I am either going to move them into the barn, or put up some fence to protect them.

I need to make some of that fondant I think...for Hartsel especially. How do they get water if they are eating fondant and can't go outside?
 

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Water is coming from the bees own respiration and the fondant has moisture content too. Good to hear about the feeder location in Hartsel. I was right about the low here over night - no frost - but almost at 33F. I love max/min thermometers with remote sensors. Now I need one that will do soil temps too.
 

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I'm sweating too! I installed packages Saturday. I coated a couple frames with syrup and left some sugar on top of newspaper on top of the frames. It's to cold to open the hive so I'm going push some powdered sugar in the top entrance this afternoon and place some sugar cake on the bottom board. Not much else we can do until the weather breaks. Looks like Thursday. Hoping for the best for all the packages installed this past weekend.
 

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Hopefully not powdered sugar from the box.It's not good for the bees has corn starch and anti clumping agents poisonous to bees.Granulated sugar blended at low speed for a few minutes is better for them.Just a word of caution.
 

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I thought the same think until I was reading about mite control using powdered sugar on the Scientific Beekeeping website and Randy specifically mentioned that the small amount of corn starch in powdered sugar will not harm bees. Does anyone else know anything about this? That being said I will try to get granulated sugar in instead.

http://scientificbeekeeping.com/pow...weet-and-safe-but-does-it-really-work-part-1/
 

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I thought the same think until I was reading about mite control using powdered sugar on the Scientic Beekeeping website and Randy specifically mentioned that the small amount of corn starch in powdered sugar will not harm bees. Does anyone else know anything about this? That being said I will try to get granulated sugar in instead.
Randy is talking about doing tests when it warm enough to open the hive and the bees are able to fly then and void whatever solids they get from the powdered sugar. As a feed powdered sugar isn't something you should reach for. However, warmer temps ought to be just around the corner so the bees will just have to "hold" it a bit longer.
 

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Packages can survive an installation at very low temps. We ourselves have done it in the teens - the 40's on many occasions. Did your supplier not give you any instructions on how to feed them correctly considering your forecast when the bees arrived? Where are you feeding them? How?
 

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I shuffle frames like cards but I don't gamble with my bees!Interesting to see what Michael Bush would say about powdered sugar.Scientist say German Black Bees are extinct in the U.S. they're not.They say feral bees are none existant not true.Decline in honeybees I believe so.Some base their statements on facts derived from thorough research, some just want their name on a paper.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Thank you all for the excellent information and replies.

Yes, it is of the shelf powdered sugar, just like I saw the guy do at the package pick up. To be clear, I am not feeding my bees powdered sugar, other than what they may have eaten off each other before they went comatose due to cold. A large percentage of the powdered sugar fell through the grates and was gone before they entered the hive. I also read the scientific beekeeper statement that the small amount of corn syrup wouldn't hurt them before I applied it.

I am feeding them 1 to 1 syrup from inverted jars, as directed by many. It is in the hive with them to take advantage of the heat from the cluster. They are all clustered around the queen near the feeder in both hives now. Through the observation window, I can see them slowly moving around and rotating towards the food, so I assume they are taking some. Some dead bees in the bottom of both hives.

It is still d*mned windy and cold in both places...
 

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I wintered 11 hives in the garage. When temps were expected to drop below 20s and put them back out if it was going to be 45-55 for a few days.
They did very well.
http://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...in-the-Garage-for-the-Winter&highlight=garage
http://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...ntering-in-the-Garage-Update&highlight=garage

If your worried it's going to be too cold for them to eat syrup, screen them and bring them in for a night or two. They won't take syrup if the syrup is below 50 deg, remember the inside of the hive will be warmer.
 

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Starvation is the big issue with a package in cold weather. They can't take cold syrup, so until the temps are 50F or above at night, I'd warm the syrup once a day as hot as you can get it without it burning your finger when you put it in the syrup. Once nights are warmer it won't be an issue...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks guys. It was near 60 today, and the bees fully woke up! They are doing what bees do best - work. Staying busy cleaning out the hive and throwing dead ones out on the ground. They seem to want them far from the hive, as they try to fly the dead bees away. I didn't get any footage of dead bee hauling in particular, but some general video showing that they indeed made it through the cold snap. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fbqBjW87-0

Going up to check the mountain bees tomorrow. Neighbor said they were huddled up a couple days ago. I may move them inside the barn, we shall see how they are looking.
 

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My package bees were out working at both high and low elevations yesterday. The weather looks great through the middle of next week.

If there in the sun and out working I would not move them inside- they need to get a lot done before the next cold snap. I'm just going to let them do what bees do and provide plenty of syrup to support comb building.
 

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I thought the same think until I was reading about mite control using powdered sugar on the Scientific Beekeeping website and Randy specifically mentioned that the small amount of corn starch in powdered sugar will not harm bees. Does anyone else know anything about this? That being said I will try to get granulated sugar in instead.

http://scientificbeekeeping.com/pow...weet-and-safe-but-does-it-really-work-part-1/
If you look closely, Randy Oliver is talking about DUSTING with powdered sugar, not feeding it. Feeding powdered sugar is never advised.

If anyone needs to feed when it is too cold for syrup, research Mountain Camp feeding as advised above by Michael Bush.

HTH

Rusty
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Well, the ones in town have drawn out 3 good sized combs and are working on 4 and 5. The ones at 9400 feet are all dead...they froze/starved in the wind. Lesson learned I guess, next time I will start the hives down here in town or move towards Langstroth perhaps. My next attempt will also be in a more sheltered location. My neighbor up there installed hers in a Langstroth the same day in a little more sheltered location, and hers are looking good. Hoping my hive in town here does super well, so I can split it out and get one going up on the hill.

I have brought my second top bar hive back down to town, and am looking into option of how to start it here in town and then move it up the hill once it's established. Any advice on that front is welcome. I know top bar combs tend to break when you move them a lot, but I figure a couple broken combs to repair is better than having no bees up there at all.
 
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