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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    98

    Question Req. Exterior Temp for Handling Bees

    What is the minimum exterior temperature required to open a bee hive for whatever reason?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    1,017

    Default Re: Req. Exterior Temp for Handling Bees

    You can open it any time the bees are flying. However, you don't want to expose brood a long time if the temperatures are in the high 50s or low 60s. Otherwise you might end with chilled brood. In such cases, I usually just peek under to covers / boxes if I need to. I don't do full inspections or look for a queen.

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

    Default Re: Req. Exterior Temp for Handling Bees

    I have opened the top covers as low as 36 degrees before - just have to be quick (10-20 seconds - and no wind - don't pull any frames out either).

    Don't pull any brood frames unless it is 65f or so, and not windy.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Aberdeen, Idaho
    Posts
    433

    Default Re: Req. Exterior Temp for Handling Bees

    I have opened hives to add sugar with the temperatures in the single digits. Do it ONLY if you have to to prevent starvation, and do it quickly on days with the sun shinning and no wind. Do not disturb the cluster or move frames unless the bees are active, that being near 60 or above.
    Dave

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,582

    Default Re: Req. Exterior Temp for Handling Bees

    I have opened hives and took off honey when there was 6 inches of snow on the ground. Had to brush bees off of combs then too.

    Do things when you can not when you want to.

    Why do you ask?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    98

    Default Re: Req. Exterior Temp for Handling Bees

    I moved the hives out of the wind about 20' away to a snow fence I just built (we get an easy foot and a half of snow here and our "snow drifts" can undo hours of shovelling in about 20 minutes). It was about 55 degrees out no wind whatsoever... I had to hand carry the deep honey full hive bodies about 50 feet and I wanted to make sure it wouldn't be too harmful (I don't yet have means to move a complete hive)... The four hives were open for 1 minute max each & the clusters stayed intact, I jogged through the moves. I got stung at the beginning of a "carry" & had to leave the stinging bee and focus on moving the hive, my arm looked all deformed for a day I hope the reactions get better in time the more I get stung. anyways that's when I started the " what's your worst bee sting experience? " thread.

    I just asked because its my first fall as a keeper, I'm brand spanking new at this.
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 10-22-2013 at 04:24 PM. Reason: UNQ

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,582

    Default Re: Req. Exterior Temp for Handling Bees

    I think you can rest assured that you did no harm in what you did. Or so little that it won't matter to the longevity of the colony.

    Like I wrote earlier. Do things when you can, not when you want to. Bees are flexible. They can handle more than you might think.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Bolton, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    277

    Default Re: Req. Exterior Temp for Handling Bees

    Yuck you got snow already up there. That means it will be here maybe soon too.
    I had better get the hive bundled up and the entrances reduced.

    Glen
    You Tube bee Channel Zone 5A
    http://www.youtube.com/user/GlenGH

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,582

    Default Re: Req. Exterior Temp for Handling Bees

    Yeah, 6 inches last week.

    No, no snow here yet. That was a number of years ago in December, working for a friend.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    98

    Default Re: Req. Exterior Temp for Handling Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Glen H View Post
    Yuck you got snow already up there. That means it will be here maybe soon too.
    I had better get the hive bundled up and the entrances reduced.

    Glen
    no snow yet, just being proactive... well actually, yes we did get snow but it would melt as soon as it hit the ground (yesterday)

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