Author Topic: Extreme winter survival  (Read 19020 times)

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Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: Extreme winter survival
« Reply #60 on: March 13, 2014, 12:39:36 pm »
4 deg C, 37 deg F is the temp that the bees will use the least amount of stores. It keeps the bees in a tight cluster so there is a smaller cluster space for the bees to keep warm. Temperatures above this the bees are more active and consume more stores. Colder and the bees need to consume more honey to create the extra heat needed to maintain the cluster temp.

   I have always heard that there is a point where they will use LESS, but have not read or heard of them using MORE when the temps continue to drop.
   It makes perfect sense, and at least in my mind is now proven as fact. A nasty winter won't be catching me or my bees unprepared..  if it turns out to be a mild winter, well, then I will have plenty of leftover stores to help build new colonies.
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Offline robo

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Re: Extreme winter survival
« Reply #61 on: March 13, 2014, 12:57:24 pm »
I think winter honey consumption is mufti-faceted (temperature, weather cycle, hive insulation, hive volume, and probably many more)

Believe it or not, my hives seemed to use less this year.   The only explanation I can come up with is that it was an extremely cold winter with relatively few breaks of warming temperatures.   This kept the bees in more of a "hibernation" mode than breaking cluster and reforming the cluster many times.   Although the weather was extremely cold, the polystyrene hives provided enough protection that they didn't need to consume more to maintain temperature.   I also believe that reducing them down to 1 deep also helps them retain heat better (though I have a couple doubles that I haven't check on their left over stores yet).

So they had less activity which used less stores,  but they were well insulated so the did not have to use more stores to maintain the temperature :-X
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Offline Slowmodem

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Re: Extreme winter survival
« Reply #62 on: March 13, 2014, 02:08:56 pm »
Putting sugar on in November has gotten me flamed pretty good on other forums.. I considered finding those threads and asking those most aggravated by my method how their bees did.. but I will refrain...   What I did worked, right or wrong, so I am one happy feller right now.

Nothing wrong with what you did.  Sugar even helps absorb moisture.  I consider it insurance.  Doesn't cost anything, and, like you said, you can reuse it for syrup.

Let the doubters console themselves.
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Offline Marbees

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Re: Extreme winter survival
« Reply #63 on: March 13, 2014, 11:33:35 pm »
Plan ahead, is what I say. I always put my candy bricks on at Thanksgiving and then wrap after that.
At least they have something to keep them going if I can't get into them.
This has saved our bees numerous times. I don't care what some other knucklehead says.
Flame away!
Yes tefer2 I know now, from now on wrapping hives and sugar block on top is a same day job in my yards.
Who would think that I wont be able to open my hives for almost 5 months? From now on I assume every winter will be long and bitterly cold.

As for low consumption in Robo's hives this winter, polystyrene is the answer IMO
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Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: Extreme winter survival
« Reply #64 on: March 13, 2014, 11:51:36 pm »
Marbees;
  As for low consumption in Robo's hives this winter, polystyrene is the answer IMO




    Thats sort of what I thought as well Marbees...  Now I just have to get past this resistance that wells up when I think about the time and work involved.
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Offline Marbees

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Re: Extreme winter survival
« Reply #65 on: March 14, 2014, 12:10:23 am »
Regardless of all of the advantages of polystyrene I will stick with pine. I know that German and Sweden beekeepers love them, and they have great results with those boxes, however those boxes are very fragile, mice can chew them, they crack a lot, hard to repair.
My friend acquired some of those when buying out another keeper, but doesn't use them, for the reasons stated above.
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Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: Extreme winter survival
« Reply #66 on: March 14, 2014, 01:01:40 am »
I have built hives using 2x material instead of 1x for other people..   I think its a good concept, except they were HEAVY with no frames or bees in them...
   I would agree about the vulnerability of poly hives..  my fears here would be mice, skunks, possums, coon, Hail, and high winds.

   I helped design a "Cebelnjak" for friends in Maine...   Seriously considering making a couple of my own if were going to have winters like this.
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Offline tecumseh

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Re: Extreme winter survival
« Reply #67 on: March 14, 2014, 06:36:11 am »
a robo snip...
Believe it or not, my hives seemed to use less this year.   The only explanation I can come up with is that it was an extremely cold winter with relatively few breaks of warming temperatures.

tecumseh...
I have read a good deal of material of the old guys (cc miller and that crowd) who use to commonly set hives in cellars and I think what they suggested as to honey consumption during the winter 'hibernation period' pretty much conforms to your own logic.

topics like this only effect me only in my 'curious cat' mode.... but I certainly do hope such comparison of notes continues to takes place here.

Offline camero7

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Re: Extreme winter survival
« Reply #68 on: March 14, 2014, 08:57:27 am »
Here's a very good study on what bees do in the winter. Lots of information and food for thought.

http://www.beesource.com/resources/usda/the-thermology-of-wintering-honey-bee-colonies/

Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: Extreme winter survival
« Reply #69 on: March 14, 2014, 10:07:29 am »
Great reading there C7.. Thanks!!!

   A lot of interesting information, and something that surprised me a little....

Effects of Entrance Location on Cluster

The bottom entrances were closed and the top entrances remained open on all colonies for a few days and then the openings were reversed. The bottom entrance had no effect on the reaction of the cluster because of temperature. Nor did the bottom entrance affect the temperature in the bottom body of the check or packed colonies. The tape colonies had a 2ยบ F. rise in the bottom body when the bottom entrance was closed. When the top entrance was closed, the cluster moved closer to it and did not draw back at night as it did when it was opened. Except for temperature changes caused by the cluster movement, the temperature distribution in the hives was not altered by changing the entrances.

Although the effects of the outside temperature on the cluster were reduced when the top entrance was closed, the bees were prevented from leaving the hive on warm days. Periodical bee flights in winter seem to make for a healthier colony. Without an upper entrance the bees were confined to the hive most of the winter and thus their chance for winter survival possibly was decreased. The lower body of the unheated check and packed hives never warmed up enough to permit the bees to fly from the bottom entrance.
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Offline tecumseh

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Re: Extreme winter survival
« Reply #70 on: March 15, 2014, 06:51:25 am »
that is a most interesting tid bit you found there Lazy.