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Author Topic: Winter cluster  (Read 3238 times)
RHBee
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« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2013, 02:37:52 PM »

Goldenrod has been done for a couple weeks, won't have dandelions until April....a 7 month dearth..........A new beekeeping season has begun  Smiley in North Wisconsin.

I don't envy you folks up north at all. Good luck.
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10framer
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« Reply #21 on: September 26, 2013, 03:08:15 PM »

definitely a different set of problems.  how are things in the carolinas ray?
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GSF
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« Reply #22 on: September 26, 2013, 08:59:51 PM »

The goldenrods are going strong right now. We started getting rain last Saturday. I was wondering if that would help the gr to provide some nectar. We left early am this morning and was on the Beach in Pensacola around 9. We got back about 30 minutes before dark. I went to my beehive to look at it. I caught a wif of sour socks, and thought, yep the rain probably helped some.

10framer, I'll probably go into winter with two deeps. I'm concerned about the balancing act between starving out and packing out. How do you approach it? Were 'bouts did you live over here?
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10framer
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« Reply #23 on: September 26, 2013, 09:36:55 PM »

i lived in auburn (beauregard) and we had yards in lee, macon, tallapoosa and chambers county.   
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chux
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« Reply #24 on: September 27, 2013, 08:36:38 AM »

This is my first year as a beek. Not sure what to do to get the girls ready for winter. Here in Eastern NC, the goldenrod is still going strong. The bees have been more active in the last couple of weeks than during the summer. Looks like I'm heading into fall with single deep boxes for brood, and a medium super with honey, for each lang hive. Looks like they have stored honey/pollen in the outside 2 frames of the deeps, on each side of the brood. So, they should have plenty of food for winter. My top bar hive has 6 brood comb, and right now has about 8 combs of honey.
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sc-bee
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« Reply #25 on: September 27, 2013, 01:27:18 PM »

I am sure for you guys in colder climates bees do freeze. But here in the South the expression I have always heard is "Bees do not freeze they starve." In other words they break a cluster to try and find food in an ill winter prepped hive and then starve??? Either way I guess they are dead. No problems keeping a nuc in my climate through winter as long as they have stores.
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« Reply #26 on: September 27, 2013, 09:41:50 PM »

I am sure for you guys in colder climates bees do freeze. But here in the South the expression I have always heard is "Bees do not freeze they starve." In other words they break a cluster to try and find food in an ill winter prepped hive and then starve??? Either way I guess they are dead. No problems keeping a nuc in my climate through winter as long as they have stores.

SADLY,

I think you just called it for last years feral hives.......here in southern TN anyway

Between 2012's EARLY summer heat wave and drought which curtailed most of the early season food sources.....followed by a long cool/cold WET!!!!! spring 2013, I think the feral hives here.....simply ran out of gas!! They starved!! I did see bee activity last spring in April, but it petered out.

I wasn't even a Beek then, but the weather pattern was watched.
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10framer
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« Reply #27 on: September 27, 2013, 10:38:07 PM »

carol, i caught a swarm that i'm pretty sure came from a feral hive within a mile of my bees in early may.  i think at least some of them made it because the best flow was privet and it came in around the same time.  that swarm however wouldn't have made it through this winter without being fed.  They drew out a full ten frame deep but i fed them yesterday.  hopefully the established hive they came from did a little better.
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derekm
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« Reply #28 on: September 28, 2013, 06:08:53 PM »

carol, i caught a swarm that i'm pretty sure came from a feral hive within a mile of my bees in early may.  i think at least some of them made it because the best flow was privet and it came in around the same time.  that swarm however wouldn't have made it through this winter without being fed.  They drew out a full ten frame deep but i fed them yesterday.  hopefully the established hive they came from did a little better.
trees are a lot warmer than hives
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If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
10framer
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« Reply #29 on: September 29, 2013, 01:55:14 AM »

carol, i caught a swarm that i'm pretty sure came from a feral hive within a mile of my bees in early may.  i think at least some of them made it because the best flow was privet and it came in around the same time.  that swarm however wouldn't have made it through this winter without being fed.  They drew out a full ten frame deep but i fed them yesterday.  hopefully the established hive they came from did a little better.
trees are a lot warmer than hives

winter isn't the problem she's concerned about, it's the lack of stores going into winter. 
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TryingToLetThemBee
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« Reply #30 on: October 11, 2013, 09:31:31 AM »

I probably have the 2nd best insulated hives on this forum after Derekm, but I don’t quite agree with Derekm in this case.  I have experimented with hives made from materials ranging from 19mm wood to 50mm of foam.  By the time you get to 2” thick polystyrene (insulation board), a hive gets a little bulky.  The big box stores in Michigan just carry up to 2” extruded foam board and cutting the foam that thick becomes a little more dangerous on the table saw IMO.  So I stopped experimenting at 2” thick polystyrene.  Still, 2” thick foam bee hives would probably classify as ‘super insulated.    

Heat loss calculations do say that a heat source of 10 to 20 watts would maintain a temperature differential on the order of 30 to 40F with respect to the outside temp.  HOWEVER the real variable here is the heat source; namely the bees.  Turns out they don’t make many watts of heat if they’re not in cluster, not raising brood, or not aggravated.  If you’ve ever watched bees in such a condition they just hang around on the frames and pretty much do nothing.  Doing nothing generates very little watts.  

So once the brooding stops in the late fall (Michigan), the watts of heat from the bees drop and even super insulated foam hives drop down to the 50F to 60F range and the bees go into a light cluster.  Once they go into cluster, they do start generating a descent amount of watts again and since it doesn’t take many watts to keep a super insulated hive +30 to +40F above ambient, my hives tend to maintain a temp of between 45F and 60F all winter.

However once they stop brooding for the year, even the bees in my super insulated hives do drop back to a loose winter cluster.  IMO the advantage of super insulation is it prevents the bees from being  exposed to the really bitter cold night time temps.    


Hey BlueBee.  I was googling like mad on this so here I am. My question is whether insulation lengthens the fall brood-rearing season to a dangerous extent. ie costs you more in honey (and pollen) than it saves. Do you have a handle on that?

Hi Derek!

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Finski
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« Reply #31 on: October 11, 2013, 03:05:27 PM »



I have some hives that the bees have more than sufficient power to heat the top to 20C+ when its -25C outside.
I 've done the thermal measurement on the hive itselfs, and the bees have maintained the floor temperature not the top at 16C with the top at 30C and its -15C outside.

Strange, but England does not have -25C or -15C out temperatures. I wonder where from you get those results.
-25C is rare in sounthern Finland where I live.

In spring bees make a tight cluster when they protect their first brood during cold weathers.

.When I trickle hives in October, temp is +5C and all hives are in cluster.
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« Last Edit: October 11, 2013, 04:02:13 PM by Finski » Logged

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Finski
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« Reply #32 on: October 11, 2013, 03:22:03 PM »


Hey BlueBee.  I was googling like mad on this so here I am. My question is whether insulation lengthens the fall brood-rearing season to a dangerous extent. ie costs you more in honey (and pollen) than it saves. Do you have a handle on that?



I know that it does not. Old queens stop brooding   2 weeks earlier than this summer queens.

Hives stops brooding when they do not get any more pollen from nature, or nectar. Small brooding starts again when I give winter feeding.
 It depends much on pastures.

Then stop brooding depends on bee strain, how it is adapted to local climate.

What ever the weathers are - or insulation-, plants prepare themselves for winter and stops flowering.  That tells to bees too that autumn is coming. Or in dry weather, bees stop brood rearing when dearth stop blooming. African bee moves to another district to avoid short of food.

If hives do not react on short of food,  they will die.

They will die too, if they continue brood rearing and new bees have no wintering ability. (lack of pollen in the hive)

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I bought 4 queens from Cyprus 3 years ago and they react on late summer just like local bees. But they are mad to start brood rearing in spring too early. Cyprus is near Africa.

..
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Finski
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« Reply #33 on: October 11, 2013, 03:31:01 PM »

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Package bees have bee breeded to rear continuously brood (to be sold). They may be wehat ever and their original insticts are often sweeped away.

I have had sometimes bee strains which does not react on weathers. Thery were often near to starve out.
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derekm
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« Reply #34 on: October 11, 2013, 04:43:30 PM »



I have some hives that the bees have more than sufficient power to heat the top to 20C+ when its -25C outside.
I 've done the thermal measurement on the hive itselfs, and the bees have maintained the floor temperature not the top at 16C with the top at 30C and its -15C outside.

Strange, but England does not have -25C or -15C out temperatures. I wonder where from you get those results.
-25C is rare in sounthern Finland where I live.

In spring bees make a tight cluster when they protect their first brood during cold weathers.

.When I trickle hives in October, temp is +5C and all hives are in cluster.
.
in the last 3 years we have had -15c. And if you know about thermal conductance you don't need to experience the temp to know what a heat output is going to do.
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If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
Finski
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« Reply #35 on: October 11, 2013, 07:25:20 PM »

And if you know about thermal conductance you don't need to experience the temp to know what a heat output is going to do.

These things have been known longer than we have lived, derekm.
These have simpliest phenomenoms in beekeeping.

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BlueBee
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« Reply #36 on: October 11, 2013, 10:16:07 PM »

Hi Derek, my bees do brood longer in the foam insulated hives and nucs; typically until November in the nucs and I believe December in the full sized hives.  However my bees are not laying down wall to wall frames of brood at this point.  Each brood cycle gets smaller and smaller as the hives cool off.   As Finski says, the bees know winter is coming.  My hives are from 25mm to 50mm thick foam but even foam hives cool off. 

As for the late brood cycles eating them out of house and home; literally.  That hasn’t happened in my climate yet.  No guarantees for elsewhere.  Actually I winter my full sized hives in single boxes whereas most beeks in Michigan winter in “double deeps”.  What I have worried more about is the massive number of bees (summer+winter) I end up shoving down into a single box!  I’m a little surprised there is enough food for so many bees.  I should note my singles are actually jumbos (14.5” high)

I believe one of the big advantages of the insulated hives is the ability for the bee cluster to move around easier and use the honey stored in the box.  100 lbs of carbohydrates is actually quite a bit of stored energy!
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Finski
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« Reply #37 on: October 12, 2013, 02:58:01 AM »

Each brood cycle gets smaller and smaller as the hives cool off. 


That is not possible..... It mesns that winter cluster goes too smaller and smaller.

Do you realize that brood cycle is 3 weeks.

In my hives brood cyckle it at its top at the end of July, then after 3-4 weeks it is zero.
If hives are on woods pastures, brood rearing goes from top to zero in 2 weeks when fireweed stops blooming.


It is better to stay of from this forum. I cannot stand these new inventors.

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Hive has allways the same temperature for brood, and then one day bees decice that they pull down the heat and carry last brood out.

Bees know the cooling weathers and that is why they kill drones first.

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TryingToLetThemBee
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« Reply #38 on: October 12, 2013, 06:41:24 AM »

Thanks everyone and great forum. It's 54 (12C) here and my girls are foraging hard; I put that down to the poly box. It's a nice big warm space in there at present.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #39 on: October 12, 2013, 10:07:44 AM »

Bees know the cooling weathers and that is why they kill drones first.

Maybe I shouldn't mention to Finski that I see drones in December  grin
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