This has been covered elsewhere but when the sun is shining and there is snow on the ground the bright light makes the bees think it is warmer than it really is and they come out flying. To discourage them either lean a sloping board over the entrance or if the snow is deep enough shovel a bit over the entrance - they will not suffocate if you have varroa floors and I suspect in a leaky WBC you could get away with a solid floor - but I would put a board up myself. The board is just to put the entrance in shade. Leave a gap either side.
Never bother personally , yes a few bees expire but keep in in proportion ! probably at the end of their life cycle any way ! I feel water gatherers are in that category anyway Bees aint daft! been around too long for that
We have no snow.... just gave one of the Nationals a litte heft... as you do, it is quite sunny but still cold, a few ventured out onto the landing bord, turned tail and went back in..... humming "Jingle Bells Jingle Bells....... am I hearing voices?
About four inches of snow here and only one bee in front of one hive........ probably the one that chased me after I breathed all over the underneath of the OMF to take a look yesterday.
I wondered how many people prop snow shades in front of the entrance.
I wasn't planning to. The loss of a few venturing out.......would it make a difference? But then this is my first winter and what do I know?
The loss of a few venturing out.......would it make a difference?
The Sun's rays are plane polarised when reflecting from snow. Those rays reflected into the hive (as well as the direct rays) can fool the bees into thinking it is bright out, not cold, and good flying weather for a quick evacuation of feaces and other duties. An OMf can exacerbate the situation, particularly if raised from the ground enough to admit even more reflected rays as well as the direct and reflected rays into the entrance. Would you mind if, say, five hundred bees bit the snow. I think not.
So, yes, it could make a big difference. Remember this is only November. Plenty of time for more repeat conditions like this. Repeated half a dozen times - and you colony will be seriously depleted. After your bees suffer badly, you would likely always take precautions, especially if you were running only one or two colonies.
Counted 10 yesterday lying in snow.Lots of snow last night hives nearly covered so I decided to make a small breather in the snow at the entrance.Came back about an hour later and counted another 10 in the snow.Covered the entrance back up and found another 6 which had been out and must have been trying to get back The temp. at the time was just above freezing.My first winter keeping bees and was not expecting them to go out in the snow.At that rate there could be a shortage.Maybe some froze on the wing also.
I certaily have some huge sheds that could be used for this,but we just don't have the severe winters like they do in canada,so no need to.
I am sure it would cost a fortune to convert a shed into a fridge,to keep the bee's cool enough through our kind of winters.
Northern Ireland isn't quite as cold as Finland - temps are only dropping to around the minus 10 mark and whilst our strawberries are long gone we still have a few (green) tomatos in the greenhouse!
One of my colonies turfed out a few more drones at the weekend and I have been pleased to see a nice thawed cresent on the landing board each day. I did notice that there were a few more dead bees visible around one of my hives once the first snow fell - as Finman points out this was probably because the bees are more visible against the snow. I have now propped a sheet of aluminium in front of that hive to shade the entrance and I am seeing fewer dead bees although that could be because the local bird population like frozen bees!!