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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Greenwood, IN ,USA
    Posts
    117

    Post

    It is predicted to be in the high 40's low 50's this Staurday. I want to do an inspection but not sure how long to keep the hive open and if I should use any smoke...or even bother with opening the hive?

    Anyone have advise on this.

    Thanks - Jeff

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    lewisberry, Pa, usa
    Posts
    6,081

    Post

    Your inspection should be no more than lifting off the top cover to see where the cluster is and the strength, (NOT the inner cover) and lifting the back of the hive to see what stores they have. High 40's or low 50's is good for this. I would not be breaking apart clusters and individual boxes. You still have a good part of winter to go, so don't mess any further unless they are starving, and then only feed on top of the brood chamber. You can more damage than good at this time of year. Do not use smoke. They will let you do what I mentioned above if you move slow. But always be ready to move fast.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Round Top, New York - Northern Catskill Mtns.
    Posts
    1,895

    Post

    BEFORE YOU OPEN THE HIVE UP CHECK THE CLUSTERÂ’S LOCATION BY USING YOUR EAR ON THE BOXES. THIS WILL GIVE YOU AN IDEA IF THEY HAVE GONE VERTICAL AND ARE UP AGAINST THE INNER COVER.
    ALSO, IF THEY ARE TO ONE SIDE OR THE OTHER IN THE BOX.

    IF THEY HAVE GONE VERTICAL AND ARE AGAINST THE INNER COVER, YOU MAY WANT TO BRING AN EXTRA EMPTY BOX WITH YOU WHEN YOU CHECK THEM.

    YOU CAN PULL THE INNER AND OUTER COVERS, PLACE THE EMPTY BOX ON, PLACE A SHEET OF PAPER ON THE TOP BARS BY THE CLUSTER, AND PLACE GRANULATED SUGAR ON THE PAPER.
    THEY WILL EAT THE GRANULATED SUGAR IF NEED BE.

    SOME PEOPLE JUST PUT THE GRANULATED SUGAR ON THE INNER COVER AND HAVE THEM USE THE CENTER HOLE, BUT IF THEY ARE TO THE SIDES OR FRONT / BACK OF THE HIVE THEY MAY NOT GET TO IT.
    BY PLACING IT ON THE PAPER ON THE TOP BARS, THEY DO NOT HAVE TO BREAK CLUSTER TO GET TO THE SUGAR, SO IT CAN BE USED EVEN ON COLD DAYS. THEY WILL CHEW THROUGH THE PAPER AS NEEDED.

    LATER, YOU CAN PLACE JARS ON THE TOP BARS DIRECTLY AS FEEDERS, IF YOU WANT OR NEED TO, WITHOUT HAVING TO DISTURB THE CLUSTER.

    AS ABOVE I WOULD NOT TAKE APART THE HIVE BODIES YET.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Greenwood, IN ,USA
    Posts
    117

    Post

    What about a top feeder?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Kiel WI, USA
    Posts
    2,373

    Post

    Hit 47 here today, so I cracked two open, briefly. Everything looked good!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Round Top, New York - Northern Catskill Mtns.
    Posts
    1,895

    Post

    A hive top feeder requires the cluster to break up to get to it. They will not use them in cold weather.

    Jar feeders or paper/granulated sugar on the top bars does not require the cluster to break up. The cluster can stay together within the frames and use the feeders / feed.

    I look at it as belt and suspenders. They may not need the granulated sugar to get through till spring, but if they do it is there.
    I prefer to have it on the hive for them to use and not have them use it, then to go out a month from now and find a dead hive.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Greenwood, IN ,USA
    Posts
    117

    Post

    how much sugar do you put on the paper?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Round Top, New York - Northern Catskill Mtns.
    Posts
    1,895

    Post

    I pour a couple of pounds. Actually if you look at page 3 of the pictures on my website you will see what I do.

    I will update some pictures that I took this evening. It got up in the mid 30's this afternoon. Some hives were up hitting the feeders and sugar, some were not.

    Note: That the feeder jars have been on the hives since fall. We had temps of about -20F in January.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Greenwood, IN ,USA
    Posts
    117

    Post

    Is that picture on the front page the area where you live? If so very beautiful!! What are in the jars and are those homemade feeders?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Round Top, New York - Northern Catskill Mtns.
    Posts
    1,895

    Post

    Yes, that is the view from the front door. Thank you,

    The jars are a mix of mason jars, sauce jars - glass and plastic, used glass honey jars, what ever I can find. Using the old sauce jars is cheap.

    I punch a few small holes in the lids and invert. Feeders that are cheap and work very well, even in cold weather.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    Post

    Well, it was in the 60's today and will be again tomorrow. I went through all the hives today. Brood in some. Some short on stores. Five of the eight (8-frame) nucs that I wrapped together are dead. Two of the three (10 frame) foam nucs are dead. Two hives are dead. One seemd to mostly starve (there was a little bit of honey in the corners but not any in the center) and one that was a long hive with a super left on and the bees moved up into the super and starved with lots of food below in the long part. I won't try that again.

    The five dead ones in the cluster had water on the bottom board. I wonder if it was condensation that did them in.

    Twenty left here. Two in Lincoln that are doing well, plus whatever is left in Sidney, which I haven't had time to go see.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Fremont, New Hampshire, USA
    Posts
    695
    We hit 45 today so I did a quick look-see as well.
    Some are fine, some are getting low on reserves.
    Most are in the top box, and at the top of the box. None dead. All my girls will have sweets by Valentine's day! Now I just have to find those pails! [img]smile.gif[/img] PS: It's half over!!!!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Centreville, VA, USA
    Posts
    50

    Post

    Well, I had wanted to wait to do an instection until the weather warmed up BUT, I did a quick look see today (high 40's) and am glad that I did. I found one hive that was had eaten through the center of their story's and were up against the inner cover. I immediately added pollen substitute and 1:1 sugar syrup directly to top bar. They should be fine now. The other 10 hives were fine.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Greenwood, IN ,USA
    Posts
    117

    Post

    Well I just got back from checking my hive. Very active since we are having a 48 degree day here.

    Since I am new at this onver-wintering I thought it was unusual to find a big cluster of bee on the top just under the inner cover. The hive is 2 deeps and also when I took the inner cover off I found some condensation. The frames were not wet, just the inner cover.

    I thought since I had so many bees on top they may have been rum\nning low on stores so I put an empty super on and put a couple pounds of sugar and a jar of 2:1 sugar syrup...thanks for that suggestion MountainCamp.

    Hope I read that right???? I suppose it won't hurt them anyway...the extra food and empty super???

    Thanks - Jeff

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    Post

    I inspected all of mine here at my house, (I have some other places) yesterday. Mine are all at the top. I think they often go straight to the top. It's warmer up there. Did you look in the frames in the top box? Are they empty or full? If they are empty then I'd say they are out of stores. If they are full, they are probably doing ok so far.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Greenwood, IN ,USA
    Posts
    117

    Post

    There were so many bees on the top and I did want to disturb them too much...so I didn't pull any frames. I tried to look in but too many bees covering the frame tops, so I just gently pushed them over and put some granulated sugar on a piece of paper on the top, and also a jar of sugar syrup.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Williston, NC, USA
    Posts
    1,779

    Post

    Hmmm, Michael. Never thought of that. I hefted my hive the other day and it felt pretty heavy, but when I put my ear on the hive, I could hear they were in the upper box which confused me. Maybe they're just up there to keep warm (?) Don't like to open my hive until at least 60 degrees so I can't visually check the frames.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Glasgow, KY
    Posts
    94

    Post

    Hi all. It was in the low 60's here in southern Ky today and I went through all four hives.A lot of bees in all four. Especially in the split I made in July.One deep and one medium and nearly full on every frame.A split will probably be in the plans for them, early.And a bit aggressive too.I was covered up with bees by the time I was finished. They look different than the rest, mostly black.The new queen they raised must have mated with a feral drone or twenty.
    Looks like some mite problems in one. A few , maybe 50 on a frame, dead bees in the cells that look to have been ready to emerge.Look to have been dead a long time. I put in a sticky board to check.A lot of stores still there in all four.One had a couple moldy frames in the bottom deep. Will they clean these up?And is this a ventilation problem?We have had near record rainfall back in the late fall.
    Is it about time to start laying eggs? I saw a lot of newly layed eggs.No capped, just recently layed.
    Last thing, what about all that pollen? Some frames nearly completely full. Heavy , like they had honey in them or something...And bringing in more. I saw one with a load of red pollen.
    Henry

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Rensselaerville, New York, USA
    Posts
    76

    Post

    Mountain Camp - thanks for this suggestion about extra food - very reassuring to think that they won't run out of gas close to the finish line, especially when the weather gets bad again.

    Victor Schrager

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    761

    Post

    Inspected 28 hives this weekend. 26 hives doing well; I'll have to watch for swarming signs in about half of these. 1 dead because of trachael mites: I expected this one to die out. When it started declining because of TM it was too late to requeen or treat effectivily. The other dead hive (NWC queen) was unexpected: It had a good cluster and plenty of stores, but appears to have been caught by the cold snap in mid Jan. Just unlucky I guess. The dead bees were covering a football shaped brood nest. The capped brood was within 1 or 2 days of emerging.
    I also checked the mite drop boards and found 0 to 1 or 2 mites per hive (last checked early Jan).
    Triangle Bees

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