Heated Honey Bees

I tried to save a tiny dying colony last winter by installing it in a swarm box with a red light bulb. It died. I now have another tiny dying colony that’s in the same proverbial boat (see my Stubby Ragged Queen post for more on that). Here’s the amazing set-up:

Swarm trap box with a 60-watt red light bulb installed behind a cage. (Nov. 11, 2016.)

Swarm trap box with a 60-watt red light bulb installed behind a cage. (Nov. 11, 2016.)



Then I remembered how the filament attracts the bees to the light, regardless of it being a red light. So...

Then I remembered how the filament attracts the bees to the light, regardless of it being a red light. So…

I wrapped it in tinfoil. Plenty of heat still radiates outside the tinfoil, so good enough. A tin can with a few holes poked in it may have worked too, but I couldn't find one. (Nov. 11, 2016.)

I wrapped it in tinfoil. Plenty of heat still radiates outside the tinfoil, so good enough. A tin can with a few holes poked in it may have worked too, but I couldn’t find one. (Nov. 11, 2016.)

I'll need to figure out how to feed them in the winter, but we'll cross that bridge later. (Nov. 11, 2016.)

I’ll need to figure out how to feed them in the winter, but we’ll cross that bridge later. (Nov. 11, 2016.)

The bees inside their new winter home with a 60-watt light bulb to keep them warm.  (Nov. 11, 2016.)

The bees inside their new winter home with a 60-watt light bulb to keep them warm. (Nov. 11, 2016.)

A 40-watt light bulb would probably work just as well, or better, but I didn’t have one in the house and a trip to one of my most loathed places on earth, a big box hardware store, wasn’t worth it for me. The queen is most likely a dud anyway. I should have “dispatched” her and put all the bees in another hive a month ago. All of this is most likely a waste of resources. She’s lucky to be alive. Heroic measures are not in the cards. But we’ll see what happens.

The wooden box on the ground is an observation nuc that I tried to keep the bees alive in for the past week. It was in my garage where I had it set up with a plastic tube going out a window, a window I couldn’t fully close and had to use duct tape to keep the wind out, etc. — all of which was a big old fashioned headache. It would have been great if it worked, but the bees ignored the lovely exit-entrance tube I made for them. So this red-light swarm box is their last chance. I don’t have high hopes.

3 thoughts on “Heated Honey Bees

  1. Check up at the Irving station store. They have lots of things like light bulbs and are not a big hardware store. :)

  2. Then I’d have to remove the bees, tear all this apart, put it all back together, and then put the bees back in. Nope. Ain’t gonna happen. These bees will live or die with what they’ve got.

    I’ve had enough beekeeping for the year. I look forward to taking a break.

  3. Damn. I might have to put a 25-watt light bulb in there instead. I just took a peek inside the box and could feel the heat coming out of it. I don’t want it to feel like summer in there.

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