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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,340

    Default Re: winter time natural mite drop in a highly mite tolerant colony

    Quote Originally Posted by Duncan Thacker View Post
    The only way I see for us to get the winter levels is to wait until we open the hives in the spring count and do the math. So the best we will get is a daily winter average. I don't know about you but I am not willing to open a hive in the winter not even to slide a tray out.
    Perhaps a little too cautious, like a new mother. Sliding the board out is just fine, most of the hives are in the 2nd box anways. I and other club members have wintered hives with the screen open all winter liong.

    Popping the inner cover is no biggie eutger such as in an emergency feed situation...I wouldn't pull frames to do a roll unless it was sunny, no wind around 55-60F

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Hardin Cty, KY, USA
    Posts
    112

    Default Re: winter time natural mite drop in a highly mite tolerant colony

    My previous thinking was cautious because I use TBH's opening it up gives me visions of a wind tunnel. I am still cautious. In regards to the winter mite count there was no necessity, (if it isn't broke don't fix it) principal. Got to do the risk assessment and decide then.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,033

    Default Re: winter time natural mite drop in a highly mite tolerant colony

    Why all the fear about opening hives in winter? My hives get opened half a dozen times every winter, virtually always in freezing conditions.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    SOMERSET, ENGLAND
    Posts
    335

    Default Re: winter time natural mite drop in a highly mite tolerant colony

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    My hives get opened half a dozen times every winter, virtually always in freezing conditions.
    Why is that Solomon, out of interest.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,033

    Default Re: winter time natural mite drop in a highly mite tolerant colony

    I check the size and vitality of the cluster and also remaining honey. I've given up preemptive feeding.

    Bees don't fly when it's freezing.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    rensselaer, ny, USA
    Posts
    430

    Default Re: winter time natural mite drop in a highly mite tolerant colony

    It's reassuring to read that more experience beekeepers do occasionally open up their hives in the winter. (Because I have shocked a few local beeks when I reported that I had done so.) But I think it does matter where you are. And Arkansas, even in depths of a cold snap, doesn't have the sustained bone-cracking cold that I have in northern NY, when it doesn't break freezing for weeks at a time, and regularly goes below zero at night.

    I have had very cold daytime temps this winter, so I carefully choose when I open the hives, and of course the temps and wind speed come into play, but I haven't seen it to be a big issue in the very short periods I have needed to have the lids partially open. And I try to catch a day when it's as warm as possible (30s), and without any wind. I am concerned about not prompting any of the bees to fly out in these temps more than anything else, because I think it would be certain death for them. If one does fly, I try to track it down and pop it quickly back through the vent hole. I am not separating the hives' boxes, or messing around with moving the frames, just opening the lid to check on and add sugar, removing the entrance reducer to sweep out any carcases from the floor and pulling and replacing the sticky boards every couple of weeks. And I often remove the partial-cover on the upper entrance hole so I can shine a red light in and admire my bees having a grand old time milling around and eating Laurie's Sugar Blocks. It gives me my "bee fix."

    The chief barrier for me is that I have my hives insulated and wrapped in complex ways so any peek takes awhile to prepare for and then button up afterwards. Sometimes, like today, I content myself with just removing a few wind baffles and snaking my bare finger tips in to the outside of the reduced upper entrance - if I feel hot air wafting out the vent hole, then I know I've still got bees, close by.

    Enj.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    1,197

    Default Re: winter time natural mite drop in a highly mite tolerant colony

    Here are two pics of the colony that I started this thread about. The frames are alternated with a comb full of honey and an empty comb in the shallow super. The super has 10 frames, the brood chamber beneath has 11. The bees were in the bottom brood chamber until today. This cluster is a bit smaller than a soccer ball at this time. The bees are healthy and ready to kick into brood rearing.




    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    rensselaer, ny, USA
    Posts
    430

    Default Re: winter time natural mite drop in a highly mite tolerant colony

    How I envy your chance to have the hive open and looking down at the cluster! Perhaps I'll get an opportunity to do that sometime in the next 5-6 weeks. Quick little peeks as I shove in the sugar bricks are just whetting my appetite.

    Enj

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,033

    Default Re: winter time natural mite drop in a highly mite tolerant colony

    Great pictures Darrel, that's exactly what I look for. If the frames are lined up, you can see down several boxes. From this view you can see the size and vitality of the cluster and the amount of honey left.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

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