Winter clustering.

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melon 

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If the bees are in a cluster, spreading over a number of frames, when they contract, as it gets colder, how to they get closer if the comb is in the way. I can't imagine that they would walk around when it's cold. Do they nibble holes to get through? Or does the cluster just contract the other way? Hope you can understand me, as difficult to describe!
 

oliver90owner 

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Maybe they are clever enough (or well practised, as a species, over the millenia) to avoid bees on outer seams before they become more inactive, and so contract mainly vertically when they would otherwise be less mobile.

Remember, they must be moving slowly as a cluster to continue in contact with their energy store. Bees will be active while feeding (think here bees feeding on fondant beyond the crownboard?) So when active, they would be above the cluster where it is, or should be, quite a bit warmer than below.

I don't really know the full answer but I trust the bees to overwinter without unnecessary interference from me. Stop worrying about it - they will cope.
 

derekm 

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Maybe they are clever enough (or well practised, as a species, over the millenia) to avoid bees on outer seams before they become more inactive, and so contract mainly vertically when they would otherwise be less mobile.

Remember, they must be moving slowly as a cluster to continue in contact with their energy store. Bees will be active while feeding (think here bees feeding on fondant beyond the crownboard?) So when active, they would be above the cluster where it is, or should be, quite a bit warmer than below.

I don't really know the full answer but I trust the bees to overwinter without unnecessary interference from me. Stop worrying about it - they will cope.
A very interesting question, but RAB is probably giving the extent of knowledge about it. It makes one wonder what the bees do in a tree nest as the organisation in hives with bee spaces and bars must perturb their behaviour. But as RAB says they manage... so unless you want to conduct some rather interesting research into it, dont worry.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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It makes one wonder what the bees do in a tree nest as the organisation in hives with bee spaces and bars must perturb their behaviour.
I'd have thought the opposite - in the wild nest (seen quite a few feral colonies in places other than trees - none really in arboreal locations) the combs are usually fixed to the ceilings so they can only cross at the sides or under - in most hives there will be beespace above the cluster as well so they can move over the topbar as well as the sides and bottom
 

melon 

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I am certainly not worrying, just interested. Thank you for your thoughts.
 

REDWOOD 

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Bees will flap their wings to create body heat, the more bees (condensed) will create more heat, heat is transferred through the wax between the frames, bees will take their turn to create heat something like a shift pattern.
You will find on your first inspection in the spring lots of brace comb where the bees have built it to reduce or increase air flow and obtain a desired temperature, holes in wax is also part of their temperature and air flow plan, that's why it is important not to go fiddling in the winter and break up all the hard work that they have done.
 

Finman 

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If the bees are in a cluster, spreading over a number of frames, when they contract, as it gets colder, how to they get closer if the comb is in the way. I can't imagine that they would walk around when it's cold. Do they nibble holes to get through? Or does the cluster just contract the other way? Hope you can understand me, as difficult to describe!
In cold weather, like -20 or -30C bees goes closer, and empty cells are filled with bees heads donwnwards.

Bees are in separate slices. If the food is finish in one seem, the bees in that seam will starve death. Bees cannot move around combs and they do not make holes though the comb.

When weather becomes milder, the cluster swells and reorganizes itself again

The most dangerous are not cold beeks but several weeks long cold spells when bees cannot get out from their seem.

I have seen that in same hive about 1/3 of bees have starved in their own seems when food was finish.
but 2/3 is still alive.

It is usual that outermost seems will die near wall. Bees cannot walk around the comb and go to other bees.
 
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derekm 

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in trees its likely they arent in cluster anyway even at -30C outside
 

oliver90owner 

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Finsky's bees have to survive much lower temps than in the UK, and for far longer periods. Only in winters like '63 would UK bees get as stressed as in Finland.
 

Hivemaker. 

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in trees its likely they arent in cluster anyway even at -30C outside
Rather generalized, have seen them tightly clustered in hollow trees in much warmer temperatures than that... how many hollow trees with bees in have you looked into when the temperature has been -30c to of seen them not clustered?
 

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We have just now +8 by day and -2 at light. This weather have continued about one month. All hives have been in cluster several weeks.
The cluster tightens during night and becomes looser during day.


Bees have nothing to do here. They survive ovet Winter when they are totally silent.

Are British bees different? How every country in Europe can have different bees and according national borders



Our bees' have imported from southern and central Europe, like from Italy, Slovakia, Essex England and so on . There are continuous gene flow from south when beeks buy every spring queens from South
We have no native bees.
.
 
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Finman 

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How I know that?

A week ago I took feeders off from half of hives. Then I looked all other hives to see, how big clusters hives have and should I join some before Winter.

Is it difficult to see, are they in cluster or what?

Everything is different in Finland. That I have read every week during last 10 years what I have been in British beekeeping forum. IT means 520 times.
.
B+ have said that 20 times.

.
 

Finman 

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in trees its likely they arent in cluster anyway even at -30C outside
Ridiculous..... Have you thought, where the clustering adaptation has developed?
IT is in Africa.

Derekm, you speak about -30C temps, but you have not even seen what it is.

You do not know, what means -30C in tree trunk. How trees acts in such cold. You can read it but you do not understand.
 

Finman 

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finnish bees are obviously differnt then

No. Finnish beekeepers know these cold thing better because Finland has cold winters. Clustering genes are same in bees.


Clustering has been described in scientific researches and what you bees is to google the reports. Dig the reports from google.

If you start to look a cluster in hollow tree, and use chainsaw to cut open the massive tree, I am sure that bee cluster has then 42C temp and they are ready meet the enemy then.
But do the research in laboratory. But it has been done many times.

Cluster wakes up in a minute. You are better to be fast, when you give oxalic trickling.

Hands up, who has lived 4 weeks in -30C weather? It is very different than 1 week.
 
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Finman 

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Different weather... Really?

Milton Keynes has to morrow 15C and sun.
It is now night here and I have +8C,

Yakutsk in Siberia has -30C at night a,f -25C by day and sun.

Yakutsk has same latitude as Helsinki 60 degree.
 
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Finman 

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A very interesting question, but RAB is probably giving the extent of knowledge about it. It makes one wonder what the bees do in a tree nest as the organisation in hives with bee spaces and bars must perturb their behaviour. But as RAB says they manage... so unless you want to conduct some rather interesting research into it, dont worry.
Rab says that he does not know. But....

Actually this has interested beekeepers for ever.
- You see the cluster, you see no holes through combs
- You know movement of cluster
- Isolation starvation how it happens

- You find from google temperature researches from Google.

then, there are so much rubbish discussion in internet, if you want to kill your time.


What guys do not know is,
- how insulation serves the colony
- how much is cold or severe cold.
- difficult to peep into the hive when temp is -20C
- stupid stetoscope game: Weaky weaky, are you alive!
.
You can keep bees without knowing everything, but a human genenerates the answer from nothing however.

To find information from google is actually very difficult and takes lots if time.
.and when you find it, do nothing guys say: Bullship.
 

derekm 

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Rather generalized, have seen them tightly clustered in hollow trees in much warmer temperatures than that... how many hollow trees with bees in have you looked into when the temperature has been -30c to of seen them not clustered?
If the MCR is above 2.5 then it's unlikely to be clustered. The hollow trees that have MCR above 2.5 you won't be able to see the top of the nest so you won't see a cluster even if it was there. There's no lid and over 1 metre to the top of the nest packed with comb.At least in the trees I have looked at.
 
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