I checked on my six hives last week when we had 70 degree weather. One of the hives was in serious danger (only 3 frames of bees/ saw the queen and brood) This was my observation hive that I added extra bees and brood to in the fall. It had alot of beetles as well in the fall.
I decided to try to keep them alive by putting them back into the four frame observation hive and keeping them inside. You can open and close the opening in this observation hive. Since we have such a mild winter in SC, I only need to keep them alive a couple of months.
So here are my questions...
How often do I need to put them outside so they can they releive themselves and prevent Nosema?
At what temperature can three frames of bees be outside without chilling the brood? We have plenty of days in the mid 50's...is that warm enough?
I know it seems like alot of trouble for one hive, but it's a learning project.
You have no outside entrance to your O.H.? (tube running outside)
I could drill a hole in a piece of wood, put a piece of tubing between the wood and the observation hive, and put it in a window.
It's more like a carrying box vs a observation hive. four thick...only one story high.
Any time the temp is above 40 at night, the bees can make it just fine outside. Carrying them back and forth in and out will do more damage than good.
When bees reach temps above 50, they try to fly. If they are confined and the temp is this high, they will literally wear themselves out trying to find a way to escape the trap they are in. To avoid this, you must have an exit for the bees. The inside of your house is most likely between 65 and 75 degrees so guess what your bees are doing.
If bees are to be enclosed for any significant period of time, they should be kept at 45 degrees and in total darkness.
IMO they need to be free flying. I would rig a tube. Otherwise the "total darkness at 45 F" is the next best plan.
Janice, good advice above.
I know for some beekeepers, winter is very hard. Delusions, bee sickness, winter fever and foaming at the mouth, etc. I know I really like my bees, and I want to keep them close....but I have to ask. Your not taking them to bed with you at night are you? This is a classic sign of a beekeepers who needs help. :D
Here's a tube going out:
I cut two one by fours and drilled holes in them and put them under the window and under the storm window.
A simple plastic sink drain flange makes a convenient way to pass a hose through the window board and maintain a fairly weatherproof exit.
The 1 1/4" hose slips over it with a nice tight press fit.