What’s a normal sized cluster? How big or small can overwinter?

Q: What’s a normal sized cluster? How big or small can overwinter? Jim D., Georgia

A: It depends upon the breed, the colony’s health, and geographic location. Breeds like Carniolan and Russians winter in a much smaller cluster (softball size); Italian will have a much larger cluster—almost like basketball size. A small cluster will winter on significantly less food stores than the larger cluster. Adverse weather conditions (drought of 2012) may have caused your clusters to be much smaller because of a lack of stores.

  • email