Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,077 Posts
I have an Ulster type OB hive with no bees in it today. From time to time I have put a frame of bees in it to take to a school or for other presentations. I am teaching a basic bee keeping course through our local community recreation department starting in mid-February. I have a colony that I'm pretty sure will not make it through winter since we're having such a more sincere than normal winter at that. My dilemna is that I don't really have a good place in the house to keep a OB hive long-term. Read - there ain't no way I'm gonna drill a hole in a wall for an outdoor connected tube. Here come the questions:

1. How long can one keep a OB hive inside safely without them traveling to the outdoors? The Ulster hive has a frame w/ ladders feeder that I can fill from outside without having to open it up. I can place four frames in the bottom along with the feeder frame and the frame above the queen excluder. Is that enough room for a few weeks that could extend into a few months?
2. As I mentioned, we are in the throes of a tougher than usual winter, they have no business going outside anyway - is it a problem keeping a colony locked into an OB hive for a few weeks?
3. If I can get them through February & March in the OB hive, I will have a colony to show the attendees at my courses.
4. I could probably ensure their survival if I can keep them in an OB hive for the next few months, with occasional outdoor wandering if we ever get a day that has decent weather. Normally we have occasional days in mid- and late-winter that allow flying activity.
5. Suggestions? Keep them in the basement in a dark, cool room? (the only place I have is coincidentally my mead 'lab' room. Keep them in the garage, where it's cold, but nothing like 'outdoors' cold?

Thanks for any good suggestions. I'm pretty sure my wife will shoot me if I put a hole in a wall for an exit tube, although I have a built-in cabinet along a basement wall I maybe could put an exit tube through the rim joist, but that's a long shot gamble pulling that one off.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,046 Posts
Why not build a filler piece to go into an open or partially open window? Then put your exit tube through a hole in that filler peice. Then when you are done, you can remove the filler and have no permanent hole in the wall, etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,077 Posts
Since our windows are all casement-type any filler would be a small engineering feat. Having casements cracked open combined with our prevelant winds is a gamble on losing a window. I'm still thinking with recent lows in the teens to -5°F the bees won't want or need to venture outside for some time. I am concerned with indoor temps the queen would start to lay heavily and cause a space problem even in an Ulster. If I can get them through the next couple of months inside with minimal outdoor visits, it could work. But is this technically feasible?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Is the hive stored up with pollen. If so she may lay a bit. Mine hasn't done anything in a month or so and is lean on pollen. I plan to feed some in a month or so. They will use more stores so a need to feed SW.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,077 Posts
They're not too pollen bound, but there is some in a frame or two. My real concern is what risks do I place the colony at if they are cooped up for weeks on end with no access to the outdoors while the OB hive is inside and cozy in our home?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,099 Posts
I do not want to hi jack the thread but, I have a similar question. If you keep a observation hive inside. Will the bees think it is warm enough to go flying? Or will they realize it is cold when they get to the opening. I would be worried they would not realize it was cold until they were too far away to get back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Hi from Jack,

The bees will look out the door and then decide. Some will take the big plunge never to return but for the most part, if it is too cold, they will turn around and return to the hive.
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,120 Posts
>there ain't no way in [email protected]!! I'm gonna drill a hole in a wall for an outdoor connected tube.

There are many ways to get a tube going outside without drilling a hole in the wall. A typical sash window just needs a one by four under both the window and the storm window and a hole such as this:
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/ObservationHiveTube1.JPG
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/ObservationHiveTube2.JPG

With any window, you could remove the glass and replace it with plywood or a sandwich of plywood and fiberboard or styrofoam.

>1. How long can one keep a OB hive inside safely without them traveling to the outdoors?

Not long before they freak out, especially at 70 F with no way to know that outside it's -20 F... I have kept bees in confinement in observation hives for two weeks but they were dwindling and had to be fed pollen and syrup or have a steady supply of capped honey. Still they crawl frantically on the glass at times and this will shorten their lives considerably. Bees need to be quite and still to live the six months they need to for winter.

> The Ulster hive has a frame w/ ladders feeder that I can fill from outside without having to open it up. I can place four frames in the bottom along with the feeder frame and the frame above the queen excluder. Is that enough room for a few weeks that could extend into a few months?

If the cluster easily fits and if they have a steady supply of syrup it could work, if they had access to the outdoors to know not to try to leave...

>2. As I mentioned, we are in the throes of a tougher than usual winter, they have no business going outside anyway - is it a problem keeping a colony locked into an OB hive for a few weeks?

But they need to know that they can't go outside anyway or they will worry themselves to death trying...

>5. Suggestions? Keep them in the basement in a dark, cool room? (the only place I have is coincidentally my mead 'lab' room. Keep them in the garage, where it's cold, but nothing like 'outdoors' cold?

If you can get them somewhere totally dark (like darkroom dark) and cold enough to cluster, like 40 F or lower, then you might keep them quiet enough for that.

> I do not want to hi jack the thread but, I have a similar question. If you keep a observation hive inside. Will the bees think it is warm enough to go flying?

No.

> Or will they realize it is cold when they get to the opening.

Yes.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesobservationhives.htm
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,077 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I think Michael Bush answered my biggest fear - how long can they be kept with no access to outdoors? I do maybe have a long shot alternative to a pemanent hole though the house rim joist, we'll see how that one flies past management.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top