Ba-BEE it's cold outside!

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by arkiebee, Jan 2, 2010.

  1. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    It has been in the 20s & 30s during the day here in Arkansas for the past 2 weeks, and the long range forecast for this week is to be even colder. I worry about my bees. I keep hay stacked up behind the hives to protect them from the north wind and I put loose hay under the stands because I have screened bottom boards - something so they can still circulate air yet the cold won't blow up their little hineys. I know they survive up north where a lot of you beekeepers live, and Mother Nature has always taken care of them before. I just can't help but worry about them freezing to death - how do they eat when they are clustered up like this? Or do they go into a semi-hibernation mode in weather like this?

    Last year on January 3, we had temps in the 70s - it won't be that way this year. The first warm day that we have, I know they will break cluster, I am going to put some more feed on them. They have honey I know, but I don't know how much they have used - I will have to do the "heft" test, but I don't want to do it while they are clustered, I am afraid it might cause them to break their cluster.

    I would appreciate some............."words of comfort!" :beg:
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Imagine a room full of people and only one door open. You rotate in and out of the room to get a breath of fresh air and return to the party.

    The bees rotate from the hot center of the cluster to the cooler outside, then back in. That way they keep the cluster warm and the outer bees cool. The cluster moves up as the food supply diminishes, thus warming the food as they go.
    Bees never freeze to death as long as they have food.
     

  3. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    I've seen many bees freeze even when there is adequate food. ;)
     
  4. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    There were other forces at work other than cold.
     
  5. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    There are always other forces other than cold.
     
  6. busybee

    busybee New Member

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    I've heard bees won't freeze to death as long as they can get to their food but I still worry about my 2 hives here in central NC. A week ago we had cold rains and I got about 5 inches of snow so I put some 4 inch thick sheets of styrofoams on top so their entrance wouldn't freeze closed and behind to also block some of the cold winds from going up through the screened bottom. Now we are getting some cold Northern air and at night it will be in the teens pretty much all next week and only in the 30's through the day. That's cold.
    I want to see these girls come spring so I do what I can to help.
     
  7. No_Bivy

    No_Bivy New Member

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    12 tonight....wont be above freezing for more then a week. We had 14 inches of snow a week ago. On a brief sunny afternoon when the temp hit 45ish, all my hives were active carrying out the dead.......and of course the cleansing flight. How they deal with the cold amazes me.... :beg:
     
  8. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    But they can starve from the cold if they have no overhead stores to move up into and are too cold to break cluster to move stores to the cluster or to move the cluster horizontally to the stores.
     
  9. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    I wish it would warm up to the 20's and 30's.

    We have had temps in the teens and a non-stop 20 mph wind with gusts to 40 for 2 days. Had to cancel a trip to the in-laws. The driveway is drifted in (because the snow fences are maxed out), but I dare not shovel it, because the wind will turn the surface to a sheet of ice. (That is okay for the weekend, but I guess I'm gonna have to clear it out before Monday morning... *sigh*

    Ah! Endless winter on the Great Lakes! The nuts who live here do so only so we can say "BAH!" to anyone else who whines about the weather! :D :lol:
     
  10. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper New Member

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    Last winter Our temps adveraged out to the high 20s all winter long. We only lost 6 percent of our bees when the norm is 10 percent here in Michigan I am told.
    So I like this colder weather but It grinds me ya'll in NC have so much snowand don't know how to play in it. I could ski in 14 inches and have a ball. I could ride the snowmobile and have a ball. I could plow the drive and have a ball.

    They keep bees in Alaska where it gets colder and stays colder normally than here longer.

    :mrgreen: Al
     
  11. No_Bivy

    No_Bivy New Member

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    DUDE...we know how to play in snow LOL. Plenty of skiing here. Aint whing.....cept climbing trees in polar conditions aint that fun :roll:
     
  12. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    We woke up to 4" of snow this morning and it is still snowing. For this part of the country, it isn't unusual - I just worry about my bees. I went out to the hives this morning and put my ear to the side of the hive body and heard their little heaters running. I just hope they can always get to some food before this cold streak breaks.

    Those of you around the Great Lakes live in BEAU - T - FUL country. We made more than one motorcycle trip to the Great Lakes and absolutely LOVE that part of the world. I bet you do get some snowfall up there.

    Is there a type of bee you prefer to raise in that area? I have Italians, Russians, and one hive of Carnolians.
     
  13. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    I just wish it would warm up to 10F! :shock:
    it's been 7F last night and all day today, with windchill of -15F....and we got 8" of snow so we had to be out shoveling and clearing snow today. Pretty darned cold! :eek:
    And I think my hive is dead.
     
  14. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Not susposed to get above freezing for the next week here. Just too cold for me.

    G3
     
  15. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    iddee writes:
    Bees never freeze to death as long as they have food.

    tecumseh:
    just a bit of correction in the course of the information passing along here....

    NEVER might be the wrong word here iddee???

    well as iddee suggested a bit later there are other things at work that will limit the life of a honeybee or hive. having feed in the hive and the ability of the girls to access this feed are two different things. so the length and severity of the cold spell is something else to consider. in my experience 'never' (as used by iddee) does pretty much work south of the mason-dixon line if you have a force of young health bees in the box come late fall.

    in the natural world bees (in trees) do not exist if you wander too far north. even in places like Alaska the winter death toll is significant enough and the opportunity cost of not selling honey left on a hive is so high that few folks would reasonable wish to overwinter bees there. the same applies to north dakota and is why my old (now dead) commercial mentor went to the trouble and expense of moving bees north to south each fall and back again come the next spring. in both locations it is simply cheaper to harvest and sell the honey and restock with packages come springtime.

    something I suspect we shall all witness this year is... as the shift in the el nino/el nina cycle takes place you may expect an extremely severe winter in much of the north. this usually means that the winter death loss will be significant and any death loss below 15% will be something to brag about.
     
  16. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    We have a bee tree a few yards from our house. It has been there all year. I am anxious to go back out there and check them out when the temp breaks and I know they are out flying. I do know this, that these wild bees will come out and fly in cooler temps and my other bees will still be hunkered down in their hive. It's got to be a bit warmer for them to come out.

    It is suppose to get below zero here tonight and really cold by the end of the week. We had some of that bubble insulation we had left over from putting on our barn and wrapped the hives tonight. I will take it off tomorrow because the sun is to be out and I want it to warm them up a bit. I probably didn't need to do that, but I can't help but worry about them. I worry too much about the animals. We had a new calf born the other night it was really cold and it was up and jumping around the next morning. Mother Nature is a whole lot smarter than we are.
     
  17. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    16 degrees here... this is ridiculous! I need to move to southern FL.
     
  18. srvfantexasflood

    srvfantexasflood New Member

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    According to the weather man, today is the best weather for awhile. Supposed to get up to 17 degrees. Tomorrow snow and Thursday the high is supposed to be 5 degrees and windy.

    "Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it." Mark Twain
     
  19. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    I wonder if it's possible to keep bees in the Florida Keys...
     
  20. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    It would help if you painted the boxes rainbow colors and had most of the bees gay..... :lol: Hey...it's a happy place... :thumbsup: