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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Auburn, NY
    Posts
    481

    Default Hive check this weekend??

    Unfortunately my schedule mandates this coming weekend as my winter hive check weekend. Temps are supposed to be in the 20's. My plan is as follows.

    Take off top cover. Look, listen, and hope there are bees still alive. If so, remove inner cover, find empty frame or two quick as possible, replace with full frame or two. Replace covers. Done. Good idea? Bad idea? Will it hurt much to do more of a check? If the cluster is there on the top, should I replace inner frames or outer frames? It will be really difficult for me to do another check before mid or end of March.

    What does everyone think??

    Dan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,775

    Default Re: Hive check this weekend??

    I think you should leave them alone until some time in March. Late March probably. Unless you know you left the hive light of stores. But, still, I would leave them alone. Potential for doing more harm than good.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  3. #3

    Default Re: Hive check this weekend??

    I would stay out and find a different time

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    syracuse n.y.
    Posts
    1,880

    Default Re: Hive check this weekend??

    if you know they are lite, put the frames you want to put in the hive, into one of the supers from your dead hive, pop the top + inner cover drop the box on and put back together,
    otherwise leave them alone. don't forget even though its been cold, they don't start using up that much honey until they start raising brood.
    mike syracuse ny
    I went to bed mean, and woke up meaner. Marshal Dillon

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Auburn, NY
    Posts
    481

    Default Re: Hive check this weekend??

    Well not the answers I wanted but seems like I should leave them alone. Thanks all for the advice.

    I want to take the hive inside though so it does not get robbed out, if its dead. Can you usually hear if its alive by listening during the winter or not so easily?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Hartford, CT
    Posts
    607

    Default Re: Hive check this weekend??

    If it's 20 out do you open all your windows? You only have a few more weeks left just wish them well.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: Hive check this weekend??

    Quote Originally Posted by TheBuzz View Post
    If it's 20 out do you open all your windows?
    I do appreciate humor, but just so that I am clear, you are not suggesting this as logic in how we handle bees are you? Bees are not humans, nor do they have the needs that humans have. This morning I watched the chickadees on my bird feeder and wondered how at 5 below they could keep from freezing solid. Their legs and feet are less than 1/16" diameter! I do not mean to pick on you, but every time I hear a statement like this (or my favorite, "the bees know best") I cringe!
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,775

    Default Re: Hive check this weekend??

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan. NY View Post
    I want to take the hive inside though so it does not get robbed out, if its dead. Can you usually hear if its alive by listening during the winter or not so easily?
    You have plenty of time to figure that out to and don't need to do anything at this time to figure out whether they are alive or not so you can protect the honey from robbers. Robbers which are also too cold to be flying and searching for food outside the hive.

    I think you can wait to make that determination when temperatures are regularly into the 50s.

    But, if curiousity is too much press your ear up against the side of your hive and wrap your knuckles against the hive and listen. You should hear a buzzing sound. If you don't, maybe it's too cold for them to respond. Leave them bee.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Stevenson, Washington, USA
    Posts
    181

    Default Re: Hive check this weekend??

    I also would wait. I do a January check on the warmest day I can manage, usually late in the month or into february, but it's extremely brief. I have 1/2" thick sheets of hard candy premade. I pop the top, and see if the cluster is at the top of the boxes yet. If not, I blow a big breath down into the frames and tilt my ear to listen for them. This is best case.

    Worst case is no noise and I'll generally leave the presumably hive to pick up later.

    Middle of the road - they're in a good cluster up at the top of the hive, and I'll quickly slip a few pieces of hard candy on top between the frames and inner cover. This sustains them through the rest of the winter and our too-wet-to-forage springtime...

    I would be very careful slipping in frames of honey if they're still clustered - that will roll and disrupt the cluster. Also, I take great pains to warm the candy in the truck prior to placing it - frames of honey and dense candy can provide a lot of unwanted cooling.

    I would use candy or mountaincamp if needed now, and save the honey for spring build-up.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,876

    Default Re: Hive check this weekend??

    Do a lift check and see if they are light. If they are light enough to trouble you, put feeder rims or a shallow super on top, put newspaper on the top bars and pour on ten pounds of sugar. It is very cheap insurance. Six dollars or buy a nuc--which do you choose? Pulling frames is pretty disruptive if the bees are clustered at the top as light bees most probably will be. The sugar is fast and very effective. If your heart is too pure to feed sugar, start saving for nucs.

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