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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
    Posts
    814

    Default Minimum daytime temperature for inspecting a hive?

    Hi All,

    I am a new beek, and a friend here in Denver has a couple of hives and has not been able to inspect them all season due to medical issues. He has asked me to open the hives and see how they are doing. It is getting late in the season and we have been getting some cooler weather here in Denver. At this point in the Fall, there is probably not a lot that could be done to a hive if it is having problems, except feed it if it is light on honey stores, but he still wants an idea of the status of the hives.

    I am wondering what is the minimum daytime temp which is still warm enough to open a hive and do a relatively thorough inspection such as locate the queen, check for eggs, estimate honey stores, look for any signs of diseases and hive pests, etc., without endangering the hive due to the cool/cold weather? 50F? 55F? 60F? 65F? 70F?

    Thanks.

    --shinbone
    --shinbone
    (3rd year, 14 hives, Zone 5b, 5400 ft, 15.8" annual rainfall)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO United States
    Posts
    360

    Default Re: Minimum daytime temperature for inspecting a hive?

    I am in your area, and the next few days (temperature wise) will be great to do a thorough inspection. I personally like for the temperature to be around 60 degrees and above to be safe that no brood becomes chilled. Of course, no wind is a bonus because that makes a 60 degree day feel like 50 around here.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,382

    Default Re: Minimum daytime temperature for inspecting a hive?

    I aim for 65+ when pulling brood frames out. You can open the top of the hive at anytime above 40 for short periods (for feed, etc.) - like 30 seconds or so, one minute would be pushing the limit. In a dire emergency you can open the top cover for very short periods at any point above freezing - but it must be very quick - like 10 seconds or so; just enough time to toss in another candy brick. Best not to let it get to that point however. However, there are times when you have to do what you have to do.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Andover, Ohio
    Posts
    165

    Default Re: Minimum daytime temperature for inspecting a hive?

    Whats the min. temp to simply open the top and have a quick look?
    USDA Zone 5B

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,382

    Default Re: Minimum daytime temperature for inspecting a hive?

    I have done it as low as 38 before - but like I said above, for 10 seconds or so. I am sure others have pushed it much further, but I normally don't. We have enough days in Winter that hover around 40 so it is not a huge issue to me.

    Popping the top cover is one thing - pulling frames and breaking the cluster is something else entirely.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Posts
    344

    Default Re: Minimum daytime temperature for inspecting a hive?

    Shinbone,

    I'm also in your area and agree with all above. I did a quick not very intrusive inspection of a number of hives yesterday and will do some more this afternoon. The temperature in the apiary right now is 98 deg. F. The next good temperature for me is Sun., Mon., Tue. with predicted temperatures of 74 deg. F on Mon.

    This winter I am testing a third generation insulated/ventilated/feeding IC of my design which will allow the feeding of both liquids and solids through the winter without chilling the cluster.

    Regards,
    Steve

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