Temperature guidelines when opening up hives?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Eugene, Oregon

    Default Temperature guidelines when opening up hives?

    Okay, I'm a little confused. I understand that brood needs to stay between 90-95 degrees, and that warmer days are better for going in and doing hive inspections. But, unfortunately, we keep getting crummy days here in Oregon and I am not sure what "minimum outdoor temperature" I should use as a guideline for myself about going into the hive. Is 50 degrees bad? I know some people go into hives in winter, so maybe I'm overthinking this but I am still new and not very quick at hive work so I don't want to chill them.
    Background: Kenyan TBH and next hive inspection goal is to go in and do a little bar rearrangement to make sure they're drawing straight comb + checking to make sure my installed queen is laying.

    Second year beekeeper with two Kenyan Top Bar Hives.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Ottawa, ON

    Default Re: Temperature guidelines when opening up hives?

    If you can work barehanded in the bee yard it is warm enough to pop the top and do a quick look inside.

    I will pull frames if the bees are flying. You need to be concerned about wind as well as temp. You do not want the brood to dry out. If you pull a frame with no brood and set it aside you can then pull, look, and slide along frames with brood. If the bees are covering the brood on the frame it is a good thing but makes it hard to see.

    You can use a canvas sheet or board to reduce the opening and hold in the bees.

    Don't over smoke them or get them running. Crack the top, puff of smoke, put top back for 30 seconds then slowly open.

    Reagrds Peter
    Ottawa. ON

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Washington County, Maine

    Default Re: Temperature guidelines when opening up hives?

    I will pop the top in any temp IF I AM CONCERNED THAT THE BEES MIGHT STARVE. I will add feed / feeder rims in any temp.
    I wait until 60F to remove frames / rearrange boxes, etc.
    I'd rather not install packages/nucs when it is under 50F, rainy, cloudy, windy, etc. I am as quick as I can be between 50 and 60F.
    I'm a hobby beekeeper, making use of the luxury regarding when colony exams are made.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Lacomb, Oregon USA

    Default Re: Temperature guidelines when opening up hives?

    Hello from a fellow Oregonian

    We sometimes need to inspect when weather is not ideal. 50 and cloudy, can be done. Enjambres recommended a "quiet" box to someone, a spare nuc. The empty nuc is great, while inspecting put the frames you take out with bees, inside to protect from wind and cold. See the queen on a frame? Put the frame with her in the "quiet box, no need to worry about squishing her.

    Noticed in a Mike Palmer video, he set up a tent to work in. Not ideal, sometimes we do what we need to, to keep the bees out of the trees!

    We now bring extra empty nuc to every hive for inspections. Also, just in case, we put an empty frame, and a drawn frame for any manipulations that are needed. Drone culling or whatever.

    The other day it was 50 and some clouds, ok I have a min. About half way through inspection, it starts to sprinkle, Oregon! Deep breath, put everything back together and wait for the Sun.

    Have fun

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Pendleton County, Kentucky, USA

    Default Re: Temperature guidelines when opening up hives?

    My usual guideline is 55 degrees. However, on a bright day where the hive is in the sun and bees are flying, I might get in when its just a bit cooler. On the flip side, if it is breeze (especially a cold wind) I won't get in it until it is a bit warmer. I use hive activity as a guide.

    The exception is if I KNOW there is an issue that needs addressed, or if we have the odd 50 degree day in January or something and I need to add food. Of course in that case, I am not pulling frames but usually just peeking in the top or adding food on top of the frames.


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