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Cold Winter is good for bees?

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jezd 

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Only five points but are there more?

- 1. cold weather kills off pests and mites in greater numbers during harder Winters
- 2. during colder weather the bees use up less stores and so less likely to starve in Spring
- 3. the 'Winter bees' are less active due to the cold and so see the whole Winter period out
- 4. having reduced/no brood during the off laying period helps to combat the Varroa mites
- 5. colder Winters allow proper shutdown of queen laying so less activity needed from hive to support new brood

Jez
 
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victor meldrew 

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Only five points but are there more?

- 1. cold weather kills off pests and mites in greater numbers during harder Winters
- 2. during colder weather the bees use up less stores and so less likely to starve in Spring
- 3. the 'Winter bees' are less active due to the cold and so see the whole Winter period out
- 4. having reduced/no brood during the off laying period helps to combat the varoa mites
- 5. colder Winters allow proper shutdown of queen laying so less activity needed from hive to support new brood

Jez
A cautionary note:)
Very cold Winters increase colony losses .
Variable winters plus bees far removed from amm create starvation problems (out of sync breeding / inappropriate foraging ).

John Wilkinson
 

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But what is cold winter to you?

in Finland warm winter is better to bees.

* In our country bees consume more food in cold winter
* If hive has brood over winter, it starve to death in the mid winter.

* first of all we need a bee strain which is adapted to local year's running.

* Insulation saves 1/3 of winter food and stop sudden deaths.

* 4-5 frame hives meet most difficulties during winter than one or two box.

.
 
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jezd 

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thanks Finman can I ask if honey bees are native in Finland? genuine question
 

jezd 

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A cautionary note:)
Very cold Winters increase colony losses .
Variable winters plus bees far removed from amm create starvation problems (out of sync breeding / inappropriate foraging ).

John Wilkinson
I agree it is a balance, I think I was asking for the positives because in general people assume cold conditions must be a bad thing for nature/bees.
 

Poly Hive 

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I am going to disagree John. Cold and dry wintering is fine, cold and wet is lethal esp if prolonged.

Its the wet that kills not the cold I found. Hence my poly preference as the bees over winter drier.

PH
 

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thanks Finman can I ask if honey bees are native in Finland? genuine question
They have never been. And 30-20 years ago varroa destroyed feral stock. It took 10 years varroa to go across the country.
 
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Finman 

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Hence my poly preference as the bees over winter drier.
To my hives winter ventilation is very important. If ventilation is poor, bees get severe nosema.
But it is not alternative cold or moist. You just arrange that bees have dry and warm, and not cold and moist.

I have solid floors and I have small upper entrance open 10 mm wide.

To get better results I have added small holes to back part of floor. Air moves and keep the back part dry.

Very good invention to me is that I have 10 mm bottom boadr and I run with machine plane the edge of board oblique, so it makes a ditch for concensatuion water under the wall. Water comes out from hive.

The most essential is warm walls and compressing winter cluster to small space. The space is smaller and it makes relative moisture better. It is the difference in temperature between in and out which keep inside dryer.

Plenty of our beekeepers keep mesh froors and not upper ventilation. They think that they are "best and the most modern" beekeepers. It is better to laugh to them.

To me spring heat is very important when I start patty feeding.

.
 

victor meldrew 

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I am going to disagree John. Cold and dry wintering is fine, cold and wet is lethal esp if prolonged.

Its the wet that kills not the cold I found. Hence my poly preference as the bees over winter drier.

PH
Pete, it's a matter of degree,
All the colder than norm Winters in the UK have resulted in increased colony losses ! . I know that damp is the enemy but so is the cold . Prolonged cold often results in tight clusters completely consuming stores on frames occupying same only to starve amidst plenty by the inability to break cluster and move to frames of stores . Honey bees have to maintain an optimum temperature within the cluster and must consume stores in order to do so, it therefore follows that more stores are required the longer and colder the Winter is. The only source of heat available to the honey bee is derived from the friction generated in the flight muscles fuelled by honey?.
The advent of the frame hive can compromise bees ability to move freely from frame to frame in extremely cold conditions.

John Wilkinson
 

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Wet winter or cold winter? You cannot select them. It comes what comes.
And bees must be as live in both cases.
 

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Thats how I lost a small colony last year,they were the closest to a river so may of been colder than the rest of the hives.
They had loads of stores but got to cold to move and froze at minus 12 degrees in early January.

The only lesson I can think of is don't try not to overwinter 3 frames of bees without adding some kind of insulation.

Pete, it's a matter of degree,
All the colder than norm Winters in the UK have resulted in increased colony losses ! . I know that damp is the enemy but so is the cold . Prolonged cold often results in tight clusters completely consuming stores on frames occupying same only to starve amidst plenty by the inability to break cluster and move to frames of stores . Honey bees have to maintain an optimum temperature within the cluster and must consume stores in order to do so, it therefore follows that more stores are required the longer and colder the Winter is. The only source of heat available to the honey bee is derived from the friction generated in the flight muscles fuelled by honey?.
The advent of the frame hive can compromise bees ability to move freely from frame to frame in extremely cold conditions.

John Wilkinson
 

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