Hive on 24 January in North Dakota

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Tyro, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. Tyro

    Tyro Member

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    I took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather we have bee having to peek in on some of my hives. I checked 5 of my total 8. This is what I found in every one of them:

    This is the same hive, one photo of the top of the frames and the second of the underside of the inner cover. These bees are Russians from Taber's Honeybee genetics - but all of my hives are some sort of Russian or Russian Hybrid.

    They were short on stores (after having gone through 100-120lbs!) - so I added some sugar bricks (of the kind sold by Mel D) - that I made myself. I have a short video link at the bottom of this post. Each 'brick' weighs 3.5lbs - so that is 7lbs of stores.

    If I can keep them alive until April - I should have a chance at some strong hives this year. In North Dakota though - April is still a LONG way off!

    https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/h ... directlink
     

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  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Nice looking clusters, very nice! :thumbsup:
    "after having gone through 100-120lbs!" Yikes! :eek: :shock:
    Looks like you caught them in time. Man, those bees eat a lot, but that is a nice size hive!
     

  3. Tyro

    Tyro Member

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    Well - I have to temper my enthusiasm. North Dakota is brutal. I left a full deep of honey PLUS a full medium super on that hive. On 24 January, I went out and tipped the super up to see how heavy it was - and there couldn't have been more than 5 or 10lbs left. And this has been a mild winter so far (meaning only 1 week of -40F temps). I might have to apply for membership in the 'Tundra' Division!

    I have had hives like this in past Januarys - and in May I have 5lbs of dead, soggy bees (last year we had a blizzard on 2 May - that pretty much killed what hives had made it that far). Still, I think I might have finally hit upon an effective feeding strategy (in the video). We will see. I will update when the dandelions bloom!
     
  4. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    "And this has been a mild winter so far (meaning only 1 week of -40F temps)"
    :shock:
    Membership into the "Tundra Division" is pretty difficult, we're pretty exclusive ya know, but anybody that can hack -40 (at that temp -40F = -40C) and still be able to keep bees alive and have fingers workable enough to type, will be admitted! :thumbsup: Welcome Aboard :mrgreen: :yahoo:
     
  5. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    The fact that the winter has been mild means the bees were probably more active and thus consumed more of their stores. A very cold winter keep the bees in a tight cluster and they slow down and don't fly out as often- and they eat less.
     
  6. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Love the new signature Tyro! :thumbsup: :mrgreen: :lol:
     
  7. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    I've been told that in Alaskan winters they keep their car motors warmed while off, so that starting up will be "easier".
    Does anyone know about thermostatically heating Tundra division hives to some ideal temperature so that they won't need as much stores to maintain themselves through the winter?
    Would the investment in electricity instead of honey/syrup be cost effective?
    I wonder if "breaking the seals" of the supers by opening the hives in the winter wouldn't be a dangerous procedure? Did you do anything special to close them back up?
     
  8. buckethat

    buckethat New Member

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    I have been living and working in the minot area since august just wondering where you are at that you got temps that cold we had a couple of days -30F air temp but not more then 2 or 3 days. Just curious, also if you arent to far maybe we could get together i would love to see a small setup i am trying to convince my wife to let me get some bees back in mn. so i would love to actually visit some hives to see what it is truly like.
    sam
     
  9. Tyro

    Tyro Member

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    efmesch,

    Strangely, the lids weren't glued down very tightly at all. I added a shim to the hive to accommodate the sugar bricks and just put the lids back on. That seemed to be all I could do.

    I suspect that what you heard about with regard to trucks in Alaska is the same thing I have on my truck - an engine block heater. They are usually used for diesels. They help keep the oil and fuel from gelling. They also make it easier to start.

    sam,

    I am just west of Dickinson. About a week ago, daytime air temps were in the single digits and teens, nighttime air temps were -10 to -20F. With the wind though, we were well below zero (daytime 0 to -10F; nighttime -20F to -40F). That lasted almost a week.

    Minot is at least a few hours drive. Wait to see if the bees survive the winter before you make the trip! I don't have a single apiary, the bees are spread out across a number of locations.

    Perry,

    Glad you like it! We earn our beekeeping stripes up here in the north!

    Mike
     
  10. Tyro

    Tyro Member

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    sam,

    This was last winter.

    Welcome to North Dakota!
     

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  11. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    long long ago I did a commercial bee keeping gig just a bit south of Tyro's location. Beautiful country in the summer but extremely harsh winters. we always planned to be headed south prior to Thanksgiving. by that time the killin' had all been done and I was ready to head south.

    efmesch writes:
    Does anyone know about thermostatically heating Tundra division hives to some ideal temperature so that they won't need as much stores to maintain themselves through the winter?

    tecumseh:
    first glad to see you back. a lot of folks (historically and now) in places where it is extremely cold placed bees in cellars and totally enclosed barns. cc miller I think did this for one. to obtain some success heat, cold and moisture has to be controlled. evidently (from what I have read and what individual bee keepers have told me) the bees (collectively) can produce enough heat that the cooling/ventilation component is not to be ignored.

    perhaps it is just me but also like efmesch in such a location I would be extremely cautious about breaking boxes apart at this time of year.

    as always good luck... and yes you definitely earn your stripes in a places like North Dakota.
     
  12. Tyro

    Tyro Member

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    tec -

    I know a commercial beekeeper in Bismarck. He always has maybe 1-2 dozen hives each year that he rates as unsuitable for almond pollination for whatever reason (too weak, queenless late, etc. - I don't really know). These stay in Bismarck and try to overwinter. He moves them into his warming room for honey and sets the temp to about 45F.

    Interestingly, he discovered that not only do you have to control temperature and moisture, but the bees produce so much carbon dioxide, that if you don't vent the room (as you mentioned above), they eventually suffocate!

    Mike
     
  13. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    mike writes:
    Interestingly, he discovered that not only do you have to control temperature and moisture, but the bees produce so much carbon dioxide, that if you don't vent the room (as you mentioned above), they eventually suffocate!

    tecumseh:
    this is 'my understanding' also. evidently some kinds of mold on the dead one is indicative of carbon dioxide/carbon monoxide. my understanding of the mechanism working here is the bees move slower and slower as the carbon dioxide builds and eventually they become just kind of stuck in one place and likely die of starvation. carbon dioxide is often used to knock out queens for II purposes.