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Am i at risk of chilled brood?

2037 Views 10 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  estreya
This past Saturday, my husband and i inspected our top bar hives, and placed one blank bar between each of the largest combs in an effort to give the bees room to expand (photographs can be seen in thread Since our overnight temperatures are in the mid 40's, i'm becoming increasingly concerned about the possibility that the bees won't be able to keep the brood warm enough overnight. Is chilled brood a concern under these circumstances? If damage has been done, what's the best course of action from this point forward? Immediately bring those combs back together, or wait it out?

I'm hesitant to get into the hives too often, but if something needs to be corrected, that's another matter entirely.
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With nighttime temps around 40F, chilled brood is always possible when you're working to expand the brood nest, in ways you've described. The best way to become familiar with how aggressively you can force the brood nest to expand, is simply to practice, and either bee conservative or not, but eventually to develop a feel for the technique.
Thanks for your response, Joseph Clemens, though it's so unsettling to hear. Is it possible the brood will be fine, or is it a foregone conclusion that this is the first "lesson learned" in year one beekeeping?

If the brood is chilled, what will happen to it?

Will the hives recover?
I live in Bend, OR and have nights that drop to freezing and below. I picked up my two packages of bees on May 3rd. I conducted my first full inspection this past Friday-the 16th. They are doing great, building comb, the queen is laying etc. If the night is cold, I put the entrance reducer in to help contain the heat. The wood on both hives is 1" think-which I believe helps.

Bill, i'm so thrilled to read your post! It gives me hope. The wood in our hives is thick as well, and the roof is a tight fit. So i just hope, hope, hope that fresh brood will be ok.

Meanwhile, in the world that doesn't revolve around me ... :) ... I'm so glad to hear your hives are thriving. Isn't it just the most marvelous adventure?
it got down in the 30's here in northern Ind. ----what I did was wrap the NUC up in a heavy blanket over night and removed it when the sun came up --they are doing great
Very encouraging, Allniter, thank you! I've been "stewing" about this all day, and i dearly hope it all works out. It was a beautiful day today - the air warm and fragrant with Spring. Maybe everything will turn out ok!
It may certainly be a lesson to learn, but I don't suspect that there may be problems, automatically. Your efforts to inspire the expansion of your brood nest, may very well be successful rather than causing brood chill - even if there is some brood chill, there can often be some of that, even in hives that aren't manipulated by we, beekeepers.
Joseph Clemens, thank you so much for your reassurances, as appropriately measured as they may be. I'm so eager to see how this all shakes out as our hives evolve and the season progresses. But in the future, i'd do believe i'll err on the side of less intervention whenever possible - it's just too stressful to think the bees may pay for something i did wrong.

PS: Your "Under Construction" web site is off to a great start! Very soothing graphic with those deer silhouettes.
estreya, reading the other thread it appears you spaced all the brood combs which in my view is too aggressive. A good rule when spacing is that the bees should be populous enough to easily fill the gap/s and still cover the brood. Normally that would be one or two empty bars placed in the brood nest at a time. Once the combs are nearly built out on the empty bars, one or two more can be added in and so on.
Thanks for your post, Delta Bay! One of the hives was "corrected" this evening. The other will have to wait until tomorrow (or maybe i'll just keep it the way it is an an experiment). Needless to say, i wish i had better clarity on this issue before Saturday's inspection! But at the risk of repeating myself yet again, we live and learn. :)
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