This blog explains how I keep bees. It works for me, it might not work for you. Use my methods at your own risk. Always wear protective clothing and use a smoker when working bees.

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Thursday, January 14, 2021

Doldrums of January

 In the hive not much has changed. The bees are on the frames of honey eating their food source to produce energy to produce heat for the cluster.  The bees in the cluster move around quite a bit. Bees on the outside of the cluster will change places with the inner cluster bees. The bees share the work on keeping the cluster warm. 

The bees are not keeping the inside of the hive warm. This is what many beekeepers think, that the bees are heating the inside of the hive. But if we measured the temperature about 9 - 10 inches away from the cluster, the temperature will likely be very close to the outside temperature. 

The cluster will get looser or tighter depending on the outside temperature. When we experience temperatures in the 20's, the bees can easily move around near the cluster. When it gets below zero, the bees hunker down in a tight cluster. The problem beekeepers can run into is, if it gets frigid, the cluster has a harder time to move to a new frame of honey. The bees can starve even though honey is a frame away. This is the gamble beekeepers take every winter. With a little luck, the bees are on a ample frame of honey and can weather the cold spell. 

 Right now, I wouldn't expect the bees have consumed a huge amount of honey, being the winter has been pretty tame so far. Rumor of some very cold weather moving in a week sometime late next week. Not sure if it will happen, but that is the winter we face in the upper Midwest. It is mid January as I write this, we can feed syrup in about 6 weeks, package bees will be coming in about 10 - 12 weeks.