Too cold to do anything to a hive at 0-20 degrees F?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Good Day Sunshine, Jan 19, 2013.

  1. Good Day Sunshine

    Good Day Sunshine New Member

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    In fall we reduced the hive to two deep supers -- one full of honey and the other maybe 30%, I'm guessing 80 pounds all together(?) -- then the inner cover on top of those with a medium super on top with sugar water (last filled mid November). Fall was very mild for us in Utah until around Christmas, since then it's rarely been above freezing -- mostly around 0 degrees F overnight and 15-20 daytime. We kept thinking when a warm spell came along we'd put some candy in the hive to replace the sugar water. But it hasn't warmed for a month. It's only reached the 30s a few times so we haven't dared do anything to the hive. Should we be worried or just wait out the cold till it's warm enough to start adding sugar water again? Should warm up enough by March 1 (usually a few weeks earlier than that but this has been an unusually cold winter in Utah). Incidentally, we had 18% mite infestation in the fall and treated with apiguard. They're still alive with lots of dead outside the hive and lots of poop streaks around the entrance hole but folks in the forum said that's likely just winter behavior. Just not sure if we can do anything else to bolster the bees at this point or just wait out the cold and see what happens?

    Thanks for any advice.
     
  2. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    I'd leave them alone. If it's been that cold the bees probably haven't consumed too much of their stores plus with those temps it's just too cold. They've got their hives all sealed up with propolis just how they want it.
     

  3. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    I think it's best not to even think about opening them in really cold weather. As Eddy says, they've got all the cracks sealed nicely against the winds.
     
  4. gunsmith

    gunsmith New Member

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    As Eddy and Omie said, wait it out. Anything below about 50f is way to cold to open your hives.
     
  5. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    You did the right things at the proper time of the year You fed and treated for the mites in the fall You seen that they had adequate stores for the winter and fed them thru the fall dearth. Now all you can do is wait for the weather to warm and spring to arrive.
     
  6. Ray

    Ray Member

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    FWIW (no experience, but read a lot) Giving syrup late in the year can cause problems. I chills the bees taking it and it creates excessive moisture in the hive. Maybe when it warms up, a little you, could feed them dry sugar.
     
  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    you can always use very cold temperatures to monitor the weight of a hive by tipping (front or back). in very cold temperature generally you don't want to leave the top off of a hive long enough for the cluster to lose the heat trapped in the cluster.
     
  8. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    My town has been the coldest place in Utah for nearly a month with average lows of -12 to -15 F (some days way below -20) and lows barely reaching zero. I'm seeing more and more "cleansing casualties" each day. I know the old saying "when you gotta go, you gotta go", but at what temperature can a bee survive a "skip to the loo"?
     
  9. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    Bees don't leve the hive to go forage until the temp is 60*. With cleansing flights how cold the temp they can survive is also related to how long they are out of the hive. Temps below 40* sees dead bees in the snow near the hive, Up to 50* you will find bees resting on thing further from the hive to cold to continue on.
     
  10. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Remember the colder it gets, the less bees will consume or be active, and the less frequently they'll need to 'answer Nature's call'.
     
  11. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    Omie You forgot to add the more stores they consume that are of stored syrup and less natural honey they consume also lessens the frequently they'll need to 'answer Nature's call'.
    Just bugging you. I totally respect Omie's [FONT=&quot]decision[/FONT] to be holistic and natural in her approach to bees and beekeeping. I respect her even more for her convictions and that she stand up and defend her believes and practices.
    I just checked a book out of the library that is something you would enjoy It,s Harmonic Farming Bees By Werner M. Gysi He has some of his varroa hive manipulation on this website. He uses foundation but like you not knowing what chemicals the wax has been exposed to he makes his own using his own wax. in a rubber mold that he made himself.
    http://goolymooly.ca/data/publishing/werner_insidebook_bees.html
    IMG230.jpg IMG231.jpg
     
  12. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Litefoot, I like the signature line! :thumbsup: :lol:
     
  13. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    I knew they consumed less in the cold, but I hadn't considered the attendant reduction in the "need to go".:doh: Good info!

    Well, for better or worse, my bees storage is mostly syrup.

    Thanks!:wave:
     
  14. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Maybe we should put a thunder mug in each hive to save lives.:lol:Jack
     
  15. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    It's hard enough training one toddler to use the potty. for get trying to retrain 20,000 bees.