This Winter

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Drone Bee
Nov 9, 2008
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Hi All, happy new year to you.

Have not been on here much, all is quiet, have not seen a bee for weeks now, with the arrival of more snow today i got to wondering how my bees will manage compared to my first overwinter last year when it was very mild and wet.

All my colonies got through last winter and obviously i was pleased, but this winter is completely different, are any of you expecting higher losses, or does this kind of cold actually help the bees by slowing them down more ??

Any thoughts ?
Hi Grizzly,did you sort out some OA?
I have some here if you still need some..
I was wondering about this as well as a newbee.

This winter has been the coldest on record for some time in UK (25 years?) and in East Yorks we have had snow on the ground for 3 weeks now with only a day's thaw. The temperature has been below freezing many days and nightime temps have been as low as -10 degC.

How will this affect the UK honey bee population in general ?

One benefit should be far less wasps at the start of the summer (I'm hoping).
I was thinking more about varroa mites....

I would presume a good cold winter might kill off a large population of wild mites... the rise of the mite appears to have run along the same lines of the lack of a good cold winter...

Finman: do you suffer a great deal with mites (well... your bees anyway!!)

wild mites...

Can you describe these more explicitly?

rise of the mite appears

Is this your subjective evaluation? Or is there any documented evidence to connect the two?

Regards, RAB
admittedly badly put!

I was refering to wild mites as mites that feed on wild populations of bees (not just honeybees) as apposed to 'domesticated' mites living on beekeepers bees.

No science involved. Just an observation that from when the mite was first documented that the spread has been primarily through the tropics and subtropics, although this may be just been following the trend of shipping queens and bees abroard.
I don't 'believe' (my varroa mite history is a little hazy!) it was identified in Europe until the late 70's and the UK not until 1992, therefore they have never experienced a cold winter in the UK, and therefore beekeepers have never kept bees in the UK over a cold winter with the Varroa mite present....

In the falconry world, there are a variety of mites and diseases that can be killed off by putting your catch in a freezer for a month.

Finman may be the person to tell if this is nonsense thinking! :)
Putting bees in the freezer for a month is not really an option!

The nest will never drop below lower 20s and will have been often no lower than 30s for several recent winters, so I don't think that holds. With regards to feral colonies, I would think the bees are at more risk than the mites they carry (until the bees die from the mite infestation).

Ask Finman. I don't think his mites are particularly a different strain than ours and his winters are cold I think our UK winters from 1992 are irrelevant as well.

Regards, RAB

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Hi Grizzly,did you sort out some OA?
I have some here if you still need some..

Thanks for the offer Admin, should have some in time for the weekend, but will be in touch if plans fail.

I am in two minds about opening the hives for the OA treatment, i guess i will either be reassured or have a few things to worry about.

I started this thread as the last two winters could not be more different, it will be fascinating to see how they cope and compare the two years results, one benefit away from the cluster and hive is going to be the lack of unwanted stowaways in stored equipment this time around.

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