Bees clustering outside the hive at 20F?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Erik Johnson, Feb 6, 2018.

  1. Erik Johnson

    Erik Johnson New Member

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    So here is a befuddling situation:

    I live in southcentral Alaska and have a really strong hive I am trying to overwinter. (Overwintering is always a sketchy proposition here). So far, the hive has survived, but twice now, a large group of bees has clustered outside the hive for half the day. Last time, most of them made it back inside before nightfall (besides the 100 or so unfortunate souls who decided to try to fly.) Interestingly, both times they have clustered outside the hive, the temperature had been low for a couple weeks (10 to -10F), then it's warmed up into the twenties quickly. Ideas?
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  2. roadkillbobb

    roadkillbobb Active Member

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    do you have any problems with nosema? even bees want to get out and stretch their legs once in awhile..usually not in that lower temps, but they may be use to the low temps way up by you..
     

  3. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Are there yellow marks on the hive where they were clustering? They won't release waste in the hive, and any warm gap is a time to go out and release waste. Nosema is diarrhea I think, but normal bee waste is pretty much yellow orange as I understand it. Park next to a hive that is flying on a warm winter day and wash the car afterward
     
  4. srvfantexasflood

    srvfantexasflood Member

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    I would be more inclined to think that cleansing flights were the reason for the bees being outside the hive. They became chilled but were able to cluster together outside the hive. Alaskan beekeeping is a lot different than here. I see that you have sheets of insulation on the outside of the brood boxes. Perhaps the bees had a false sense of what the temperature really was. In my location we don't wrap hives. The bees will break cluster more and eat more of their stores. I can see where it would be necessary in Alaska.
     
  5. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree on the cleansing flight, didn't get in , clustered for warmth.