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Winter dehydration in insulated hives

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Yes, it is.

My hives cannot drink condensation water from side walls, because in cluster they do not reach the walls.They cannot walk inside the hive seeking water. In cold days (-8) inside walls are frozen.
Wow ... it's a very different beekeeping world for you over there Finnie ... but you are right - bees don't die from dehydration.
 

Antipodes 

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The hive is very thirsty in winter, if it has brood and it cannot get drinking water outside.
Then hive kills larvae, if it does not get water during several days.
Bees cannot take water from snow.
They nipped out and drank cold water to quench their thirst.
 

derekm 

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Top ventilation in insulated hives in winter has ended badly for some particularly with big colonies:
.
Dodologlu A, Dulger C, Genc F. Colony condition and bee behaviour in honey bees ( Apis mellifera ) housed in wooden or polystyrene hives and fed ‘ bee cake ’ or syrup. J Apic Res. 2004;43(1):3–8.
Owens CD. The thermology of wintering honey bee colonies. Technical Bulletin No.1429. 1971.

The increased retention of energy in the insulated hive increases the air flow through the top vent causing increased removal of water.

Mitchell D. Honey bee engineering: Top ventilation and top entrances. Am Bee J. 2017;157(8):887–9.
Lane-Serff GF, Sandbach SD, El Khoury GK, Andersson HI, Pettersen B, Tammisola O, et al. Emptying non-adiabatic filling boxes: the effects of heat transfers on the fluid dynamics of natural ventilation. J Fluid Mech. 2012;701(2012):386–406.
 

Erichalfbee 

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Wow ... it's a very different beekeeping world for you over there Finnie ... but you are right - bees don't die from dehydration.
They die from damp not cold 😉
 

derekm 

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See very much reduced water gathering from nests with similar thermal properties to trees. Discussed this with T. Seeley last yesr
 

Finman 

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You may have many ways to kill a hive during winter. Best option is varroa. As good is too small colony in autumn.

Tee hive may bee too moist, a windy situation, too much draft, a small colony in a big space, nosema...
I have never noticed that lack of water kills.

Under snow the hive is swarm, but it is a moist place for the colony. Cluster will loose easily half of its bees. Bees lay over floor and they are swollen.
Later I found that bees do better in fresh air than under snow heap
 
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Finman 

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See very much reduced water gathering from nests with similar thermal properties to trees. Discussed this with T. Seeley last yesr
In Finland we keep hives a little bit tilted forward that water comes out from the hive. In frost weather I can see ice sticks hanging from frames and layer of ice on floor.

When it comes warm winter days, ice and snow melt inside hives. And water drills out.
Mesh foor is different.
 
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You may have many ways to kill a hive during winter. Best option is varroa. As good is too small colony in autumn.

Tee hive may bee too moist, a windy situation, too much draft, a small colony in a big space, nosema...
I have never noticed that lack of water kills.

Under snow the hive is swarm, but it is a moist place for the colony. Cluster will loose easily half of its bees. Bees lay over floor and they are swollen.
Later I found that bees do better in fresh air than under snow heap
Do you therefore clear the snow from around your hives? What if you have an out apiary? Being the UK, everything grinds to a halt when it snows! Although it doesn’t last very long, I would struggle to get to my out hives as the roads would be closed. How long can a hive last before it must be cleared of snow? I haven’t kept bees through a snowy winter yet.
 

Finman 

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Do you therefore clear the snow from around your hives? What if you have an out apiary? Being the UK, everything grinds to a halt when it snows! Although it doesn’t last very long, I would struggle to get to my out hives as the roads would be closed. How long can a hive last before it must be cleared of snow? I haven’t kept bees through a snowy winter yet.

30 years ago I used to have 80 cm snow on the yard, but now ordinary measure is 30 cm. Winter have become warmer year after year. 500 km to north situation is diffrent.

I do not shovel the snow. It is what sky gives.

I bring all hives to home at autumn.

In South Finland we have permanent snow about 3 months.
 

beeno 

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Sorry folks, but my entry point is post 21 as per usual, so apologies if the point I am making has already been made, but bees recycle 95% of internal water and get metabolic water from the oxidation of glucose, so water is a minor issue during the winter. They only need to go out for water when they start brood rearing in earnest in the spring.
 

happyculteur 

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Do you therefore clear the snow from around your hives? What if you have an out apiary? Being the UK, everything grinds to a halt when it snows! Although it doesn’t last very long, I would struggle to get to my out hives as the roads would be closed. How long can a hive last before it must be cleared of snow? I haven’t kept bees through a snowy winter yet.
If the entrance is snowed in, then the danger is the snow freezing and blocking the air supply to the hive. If the snow doesn't freeze then the air can pass through the snow. I always clear my snow if the temps. are going to stay under zero. Finman told me that on another forum about 12 years ago. It works fine.
 

madasafish 

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Now I'm heavily committed to the concept of insulation I'm seeing the very lucid (sounding) arguments against it. :banghead:
This is bound to have been debated previously but I've been absorbing the theory that the winter cluster has a reciprocal arrangement amongst the bees in that the more central ones suffer from an overall water loss whilst the outer ones gain water. This is from the respiratory water vapour rising from the central bees and an inability to lose water by "cleansing" trips outside. Gradually, positions are exchanged so that water and warming equilibrium in all the bees is restored. If it's not cold enough to force a tight cluster then none of this works and the bees dry out. It sounds convincing but I'm not sure.

I thought the conundrum was mainly about bees using condensation from the hive walls which I was disrupting by using insulation.

Another problem to worry about?

In 2011 winter it was so cold ( -11to -15C at nights for a week) there was a stalactite of ice projecting from the edge of one TBH when the condensation on the inner walls (wooden) froze.

According to the logic (???illogic?) of the argument you quote, my bees should have died of thirst as the stalactite lasted a week...

Well err they did not :)

Whilst I do not wish to be offensive ,the person(s) who postulated such a theory knew SFA # about beekeeping in cold weather...

# SFA is a technical term for "nothing"
 

Finman 

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Sorry folks, but my entry point is post 21 as per usual, so apologies if the point I am making has already been made, but bees recycle 95% of internal water and get metabolic water from the oxidation of glucose, so water is a minor issue during the winter. They only need to go out for water when they start brood rearing in earnest in the spring.
From where you got, that bees recycle 95% out of water?
In Finland we have 5 month period that bees cannot come out to drink water and they cannot recycle hive water.

In Britain bees can fly outside every month and let poo out.

You have good theories out there,but they do not work here in different winter.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Fanny Adams (30 April 1859 – 24 August 1867) was an eight-year-old English girl who was murdered by solicitor's clerk Frederick Baker in Alton, Hampshire, on 24 August 1867. The murder itself was extraordinarily brutal and caused a national outcry in the United Kingdom. Fanny was abducted by Baker and taken into a hop garden near her home. She was then brutally murdered and her body cut into several pieces, with some parts never being found.
Used to express total downtime or inaction, the military, manual-trade and locker room talk phrase "sweet Fanny Adams" has been in use since at least the mid 20th century "Fanny Adams" arrived in 1860s naval slang to deplore unliked meat stews.
sailors in the British Royal Navy came to use the expression to refer to unpleasant meat rations they were often served - likening them to the dead girl's remains. Barrère and Leland recorded this usage in their A dictionary of slang, jargon and cant, 1889:
"Fanny Adams (naval), tinned mutton."
It broadened to mean anything badly substandard, then further so as to merge with the expletive sharing its initial letters to mean nothing at all
 

Antipodes 

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The bees that Seeley noticed were thirsty and perhaps dehydrated but were not dead. I've been dehydrated twice bushwaking, but lived to tell the tale. Being thirsty is stressful but not necessarily fatal.
 

Antipodes 

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30 years ago I used to have 80 cm snow on the yard, but now ordinary measure is 30 cm. Winter have become warmer year after year. 500 km to north situation is diffrent.

I do not shovel the snow. It is what sky gives.

I bring all hives to home at autumn.

In South Finland we have permanent snow about 3 months.
Global warming. Antarctica is melting too. The more we burn fossil fuels to make cosy things, the warmer the earth becomes.
 

beeno 

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From where you got, that bees recycle 95% out of water?
In Finland we have 5 month period that bees cannot come out to drink water and they cannot recycle hive water.

In Britain bees can fly outside every month and let poo out.

You have good theories out there,but they do not work here in different winter.
With their rectal pads.
 

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