Author Topic: The Temperatures Falling! Run for you lives!  (Read 564 times)

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Offline Wandering Man

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The Temperatures Falling! Run for you lives!
« on: February 11, 2021, 06:15:55 pm »
Beekeepers in South and Central Texas are in a panic.  We are now officially cold, and will stay cold with temps dipping below freezing several nights in a row.  We are expecting a low of 11* and a high of 30* on Monday.  We won't see the 60's or higher again until next Friday.

All of the Beekeeper Facebook pages are blowing up with questions about "what to do, what to do?"  "How am I going to keep my bees safe?"

While our bees may get cold, and we may lose some larvae that the overly eager queens started laying, I think our bees will figure out how to keep warm.  I'm sure Northern bees have this under control and would probably scoff at our little warm-blooded Southern bees shivering in their hives.

I'm more worried about the impact of the freeze on our wildflowers that are poking their heads out of the ground.  But I imagine Nature has way of dealing with them, too.

All of our hives are well fed, have plenty of pollen, honey, and nectar with a supply of sugar syrup nearby for when the freeze breaks and the flowers are refusing to produce fresh nectar.

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Offline Wandering Man

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Re: The Temperatures Falling! Run for you lives!
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2021, 06:21:16 pm »


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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: The Temperatures Falling! Run for you lives!
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2021, 10:13:57 am »
I'm glad you included a picture of your colonies wrapped.  As soon as this is over, I would get those blankets off or cut holes for the upper and lower entrances.  Airflow is to eliminate condensation is critical during these times.  Condensation dripping down onto your bees will kill them.  Even beekeepers up here are posting on social media about slipping cardboard boxes over colonies to stop the wind.  They are leaving the tops open to allow for airflow.

Our winter temperatures usually yo-yo. We have been in the deep freeze for a while now and it looks like mid week before there is relief in sight.  These conditions will separate the week colonies from the robust.   Going into winter we focus on low mite loads, plenty of food stores, air flow, wind breaks, and mouse guards.  On days that are not quite so frigid, we will quickly peek in to see if the bees have worked their way up to the top bars.  If they have, we slip some candy boards on.

As for air flow, in the late fall I will place a popsicle stick or similar, between the inner cover and lid.  I place it on the lip of the inner cover at the back of the colony. That is just enough to allow condensation to escape.  We put shims in place, in the fall too.  That's just incase we need to provide supplemental food.
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Offline RAST

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Re: The Temperatures Falling! Run for you lives!
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2021, 10:21:52 am »
When I saw the weather I felt for ya.

Offline Wandering Man

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Re: The Temperatures Falling! Run for you lives!
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2021, 11:21:39 am »
I should have explained.  Those aren't our hives.  They belong to one of the folks a little bit North of us.  No one down here owns proper wrapping, or how to do propper wrapping.  If we were to start staying that low for more than a few hours a year we would be better informed and prepared.

Thanks for the instruction on proper winter beekeeping.  Maybe I will go out and get some blankets and saran wrap today.

I'm glad you included a picture of your colonies wrapped.  As soon as this is over, I would get those blankets off or cut holes for the upper and lower entrances.  Airflow is to eliminate condensation is critical during these times.  Condensation dripping down onto your bees will kill them.  Even beekeepers up here are posting on social media about slipping cardboard boxes over colonies to stop the wind.  They are leaving the tops open to allow for airflow.

Our winter temperatures usually yo-yo. We have been in the deep freeze for a while now and it looks like mid week before there is relief in sight.  These conditions will separate the week colonies from the robust.   Going into winter we focus on low mite loads, plenty of food stores, air flow, wind breaks, and mouse guards.  On days that are not quite so frigid, we will quickly peek in to see if the bees have worked their way up to the top bars.  If they have, we slip some candy boards on.

As for air flow, in the late fall I will place a popsicle stick or similar, between the inner cover and lid.  I place it on the lip of the inner cover at the back of the colony. That is just enough to allow condensation to escape.  We put shims in place, in the fall too.  That's just incase we need to provide supplemental food.
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Offline Grandma Bear

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Re: The Temperatures Falling! Run for you lives!
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2021, 06:11:51 pm »
We have a high of 8 today and will be in the negatives for the majority of the next week. We usually leave our screen bottoms open in the winter, and have never wrapped hives. We do provide a good windbreak, mouseguards, and make sure they have food. We close the bottom boards if it's going to be below zero or high winds with some of the winter weather that we get. We usually don't have much in the way of winter losses...I stress a lot more in the early spring when the queens are laying and we get a freeze. I feel for ya Wandering Man...it's the roller coaster that gets ya.
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: The Temperatures Falling! Run for you lives!
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2021, 07:47:50 pm »
Today I took pity on a couple of colonies I have on a farm nearby.  I placed those colonies next to a grove of Red Cedars as a windbreak from the North.  But the forecast is going to be so bitterly cold with winds! The landowner had made a nice fence around those colonies with a gate, so I hung a tarp on the north side.

Here's a picture from last spring.  Ahhh! Memories of warmer times.

Offline Grandma Bear

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Re: The Temperatures Falling! Run for you lives!
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2021, 10:16:26 pm »
Today I took pity on a couple of colonies I have on a farm nearby.  I placed those colonies next to a grove of Red Cedars as a windbreak from the North.  But the forecast is going to be so bitterly cold with winds! The landowner had made a nice fence around those colonies with a gate, so I hung a tarp on the north side.

Here's a picture from last spring.  Ahhh! Memories of warmer times.

We have noticed that the colonies we place near the red cedars produce more propolis than the colonies on the other side of the ranch where it's mostly oak. They also seem much hardier...after studying this on this ranch over the past 4 years DD has decided to try to rearrange our yards so that most are nearer the cedars. Apologies for the thread drift, but I couldn't help but wonder if anyone else has noticed the same?

Offline Wandering Man

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Re: The Temperatures Falling! Run for you lives!
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2021, 04:24:05 pm »
Here is a little explanation that has been circulating for folks new to South Texas:

For You  that are new to Texas, You are about to experience “Texas Winter”. This is 6 or 7 days of cold, maybe some ice and snow. The weatherman will threaten snow. It may snow, it may not and if the weatherman says 2 inches it could be 10 or it could be 1/2”. It doesn’t matter how much snow it is, we’ll all freak out because we don’t see snow often.
The threat of snow (or ice) from the weatherman is your prompt to head to the grocery store and buy milk, eggs and bread. It doesn’t matter if you need these items. It’s just what we do. Everyone in town will be there.
You’ll also need to make a mad dash for faucet covers and finding them and getting out of the store will be like an episode of the hunger games. You’re in the redneck district.
Don’t look for a sled. You won’t find one. In the rare chance we get enough ice or snow to sled grab some cardboard or a trash can lid and go find the nearest hill. Yes, we know it’s not a hill. You live in the flatland, just go with it. You’ll be alarmed by the fact that you’re “sledding” towards a bar ditch, fence or maybe into a farm to market road. Just go with it. You’ll be fine.
We don’t have equipment to handle the winter and weather. The roads will be a mess and even though the state has been telling you for a week they’re ready, they’re not and it won’t work. Just stay home if you can and if you can’t just come to terms with the fact that nobody here knows how to drive in snow and ice.
Whatever you do, DO NOT talk about snow tires.
If you happen to slide off the road or get stuck, turn your flashers on, take a deep breath and wait. Two guys in a four wheel drive truck will be along in no time to offer assistance. Don’t try to help them, they live for this stuff, and will do what they can to get you back on the road. If either one of them screams “hey y’all watch this” just get back and get your phone out and start recording, you’ll probably have a viral video. Also of note, when they offer you beer and deer sticks, don’t be rude, take them and smile.
No matter what you do, don’t talk about how they did it back home in any of these scenarios. Nobody cares. You live in Texas now, Texans know they live in the greatest state in the country and it’s our way or the highway.
When we act like we’re going to die and start to complain about the 7 days of winter just shut up, we’re serious and we don’t care how much you love it. We don’t.
You’ll be back in shorts and flip flops in a week to ten days and it’ll be nice until right around Easter.
Texas “second winter” will be 2 or 3 days and will hit right around Easter, usually the week before or the week after. This will hit right around the time you plant flowers and a garden. We know you’re not from around here when we see you’ve planted flowers before Easter and before the “second winter” has hit.
This is why all the people at the nursery don’t sound like us when you’re shopping for plants. We know better.
During second winter it’ll go from 70 to 25 and you’ll experience all four seasons in one day. This too shall pass, get used to it and when second winter is over you can enjoy the 3-4 weeks of “spring” before summer gets here and it’ll be melt your face off hot until sometime around Halloween.
God bless Texas!
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Offline RAST

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Re: The Temperatures Falling! Run for you lives!
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2021, 07:29:10 am »
Love it, and truth. I would get a little concerned if my vehicle was part of the "hey ya'll watch this".

Offline Zweefer

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Re: The Temperatures Falling! Run for you lives!
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2021, 08:41:05 am »
That was pure poetry wandering man! Thank you.


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Offline Wandering Man

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Re: The Temperatures Falling! Run for you lives!
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2021, 08:49:31 am »
14*
We’ve got running water, so that’s good, but the pressure is low because everyone (including me) is letting water run through their taps.

A power outage took out the indoor display for our weather station, and the rain monitor froze up early yesterday morning.

This little rain gauge is entombed in ice. But it looks like we got 1.3” of rain yesterday topped by .3” of frozen white stuff.

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Offline Zweefer

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Re: The Temperatures Falling! Run for you lives!
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2021, 08:59:51 am »
Hang in there! This too shall pass.  They shut down some schools up here today due to cold.


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Offline Wandering Man

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Re: The Temperatures Falling! Run for you lives!
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2021, 09:06:48 am »
My sister in law lives further South and on the coast. They use well water. They woke up this morning to 17*, no electricity, and no water.

Like us, they bought a generator after the last hurricane. Unlike us, they never got it hooked into their home.


Now to ask for some advice from those of you who live with cold weather routinely: How do you keep your outdoor faucets from freezing. I had them wrapped with rags and duct tape. But got worried that wasn’t enough, so I went back out and let them drip.

Now I’m concerned that I undid the good I did wrapping thing.

Y’all must have protective devices they don’t sell down here. And maybe they build your houses with the cold in mind. We try to build ours with hurricanes in mind.
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Offline Zweefer

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Re: The Temperatures Falling! Run for you lives!
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2021, 09:23:41 am »
Our  last house had outdoor lines that had a shutoff inside that we turned off when it gets cold. Open the lines and let them drain out.

Our new house has frost-proof sillcocks installed. They essentially drain the line from near the exterior of the house outward every time water is shut off...  we do still have manual shut offs on the exterior lines though, just in case



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Offline Zweefer

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The Temperatures Falling! Run for you lives!
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2021, 09:26:24 am »
If you are talking completely outdoor lines, the one on the farm has a 55 gallon plastic drum with insulation in it put over the top of it ( it is a vertical line that t’s to the spigot). We don’t use it much in winter, so it is not a big pain to move the barrel when needed (unless it is frozen to the ground!)


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« Last Edit: February 15, 2021, 09:32:49 am by Zweefer »
Keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.
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Offline Wandering Man

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Re: The Temperatures Falling! Run for you lives!
« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2021, 09:39:51 am »
Cool stuff that is never thought about down here.


Our  last house had outdoor lines that had a shutoff inside that we turned off when it gets cold. Open the lines and let them drain out.

Our new house has frost-proof sillcocks installed. They essentially drain the line from near the exterior of the house outward every time water is shut off...  we do still have manual shut offs on the exterior lines though, just in case



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Offline Zweefer

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Re: The Temperatures Falling! Run for you lives!
« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2021, 11:40:15 am »
If this is a somewhat annual thing, you may consider investing in one. They’re less than 40 bucks.

https://www.supplyhouse.com/Frost-Free-Sillcocks-Frost-Proof-316000

I’m sure Amazon carries them as well...


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Offline Perry

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Re: The Temperatures Falling! Run for you lives!
« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2021, 08:24:38 pm »
Those are a normal thing here, I have 2 installed on our house.
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Offline Wandering Man

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Re: The Temperatures Falling! Run for you lives!
« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2021, 08:54:35 pm »
Watched a video on YouTube. It was installed through the wall into the pipes in the basement. Do you have to have a basement?

Hard to tell with the photos. Basements are rare down here. I don’t know why they are rare in Victoria, we’re 300’ above sea level. In Aransas Pass we were only 6’ above, and the water table was about 8’ down.
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