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Author Topic: Cluster question  (Read 1343 times)
ivashka
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Location: (Thornton) Colorado

Hi from Colorado


« on: December 23, 2009, 02:55:13 AM »

I have a 24 frame top bar hive with window on the side.  Last week we had pretty good weather so I opened the window to look inside and it had a watermelon size ball of cluster.  To prevent them from swarming in the spring I decided to put 8mm spacers for them to have enough room.  Now it seems like there is a lot of space and today when I looked I saw 2 balls of cluster.  It seems like they seperated.  Is that okay, or is that normal?  What does it mean?
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Thanks Art
bbhb
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« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2009, 04:23:24 PM »

Your timing is a bit off. Even with the "good" weather we had, the bees are unable to propolize the spacers. Any hive management that involves breaking their propolis seal should be completed by Halloween at the latest. If the hive is well-sheltered from wind, you should be OK, though.

Sometimes a cluster will break during the day and reform into 2 clusters for the night. When the weather is warm enough to break cluster again, they can join up as one. Hopefully, since it sounds like you have good numbers, your girls will be OK through this storm.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2009, 07:13:38 AM »

They need LESS space between the combs:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesframewidth.htm

They also need more bars in the hive... but that's another issue.

Clusters do sometimes get separated.  The extra space probably didn't help, but may or may not have contributed to that issue.

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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
bbhb
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« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2009, 06:19:42 PM »

ivashka- am curious, where did you get the idea for 8mm spacers? And have they been able to form back into one cluster?
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homer
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« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2009, 07:36:44 PM »

Your bees are in survival mode right now, and based on your location, they will be for quite some time.  That cluster will get smaller as the winter goes on.  The last thing on their mind right now is swarming.  Best thing to do in the winter is leave them alone.  By spring their numbers will have dwindled significantly and you will have plenty of time to watch them grow and take swarm preventative measures when it is appropriate!
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luvin honey
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« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2009, 11:20:44 AM »

To prevent them from swarming in the spring I decided to put 8mm spacers for them to have enough room. 
I guess I'm confused by this part. Would you explain, please?
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The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson
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