what temperatures can bees handle?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by pistolpete, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    OK, here we go again: feeling like a total Newb and wondering if I'm harming my bees. here's the situation: Last fall I had a few frames with lost of pollen in them. Since the foundation was sagging anyway I cut the areas of comb with pollen out and stuffed them in a Ziploc that has been in the freezer since. A couple of days ago I put a 6" super above my inner cover and shoved this 6 or 7 pound glob of honey, pollen, and wax in there. Then I placed my insulated lid on top of that. This morning I wanted to check that the honey was not running all over the place and causing havoc, so I had a quick peak into the super. The glob was completely covered with bees. They were not moving very much, just kind of crawling around slowly. I closed things up pretty quick, so I don't know exactly what is going on in there.

    Here's my concern. The overnight temperature is below freezing. It seems to me that is much too cold for the bees to be out of the main cluster. Do I need to take the food away until things warm up. If so, how do I get a coating of bees off of a ball of goo?
     
  2. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    It would be interesting to stick a thermometer down in where the bees are. I would bet there is enough solar gain plus the bees body heat that they are warm enough to crawl around and feed.(40F). Seems I have read they need a body temperature around 54 F to fly though; They can make short sorties around freezing temps, but have to go back in the hangar for wing deicing! I think your bees are happy!
     

  3. Lburou

    Lburou Member

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    My view is that the bees will cluster when they must, and feed when they can at those temperatures. My bees do a little flying on nice days in the low 40's. I believe Tom Seeley reported that the wing muscles must be up to 100 degrees F to fly. Not to worry with that feeding configuration. It sounds like a variation of the 'mountain camp' feeding technique. You can bet that the center of the cluster is going to be close to 93-95 F and the nurse bees are going to keep the brood close to that temp. :)
     
  4. Lburou

    Lburou Member

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    FWIW, I also read somewhere that bees can live to about 118 F and varroa mites to about 116 F. :)
     
  5. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    It's 42F and really sunny right now, no breeze. My two hives have a modest number of bees flying in and out, looking happy.
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    well pistolpete what temperature was it when you looked inside. really the night time temperature should have no bearing on your question.
     
  7. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    It was still below freezing when I peeked in there. I was not opening the main hive, just the section above the top cover. Anyway, my question has been somewhat resolved. I checked back in there today and all that comb is squeaky clean. They made pretty fast work of it even with the low temps. Today was 10 degrees celsius and the first day I've seen the bees flying around. Since they seemed pretty greedy for the honey, I started feeding light syrup too. I want to split this hive fairly early this year, so I plan on feeding till the spring flows start in earnest. Too bad I don't have any pollen. I checked under the top cover too, and the hive seems pretty full already.
     
  8. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    I just got in some dried pollen substitute from Mann Lake. Not ready here yet to get them going. Once you start feeding and raising brood they are dependent on you till natural flow starts; dont back off!