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I have a couple hives I think need some assistance, but given the cold weather, I'm not sure if it would be good to open them to assist.

Issue 1:
One hive I peeked in and there was condensation on the underside of the telescoping outer cover right above the oval hole in the inner cover - about the size of a softball. I looked under the inner cover real quick and it was pretty much dry. I have a screened bottom board, but I slid a sheet of thin wood under it to block most of the draft. Should I open the bottom up a bit to provide more draft or prop the outer cover open a bit to allow more outflow - or both?

Issue 2:
I have a hive that went into winter strong and when I heft the back of the hive, it still feels pretty heavy. I peeked in the outer cover and there were quite a few bees on the top of the inner cover - one came at me so I closed it back up before I got a good look. I'm not sure if the whole cluster is up top or if some had just broke cluster since it was around 40 that day. Today it is below 32 so I don't want to open the hive, but I could hear bees right near the top. If the cluster is there, should I risk opening the hive at this temperature to try to give them some dry sugar? I don't want to open it if I don't have to, but I don't want them to starve either. It is not supposed to get above freezing for the next 10 days at minimum.

Thanks for any advice in advance!

C.J. Foster
 

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Hive 2 sounds like they need something to eat. I would put a sugar block or fondant on it asap. If it's cold and the bees are on top I wouldn't open it up long enough to put sugar on it. Just something I could slide in quickly. I prefer fondant. Bees seem to do better on it for me.
 

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As camero7 said, give them sugar in some form soon before this next cold snap comes in early next week, otherwise it will get too cold to open the hives up and you risk losing them if they're starving. For condensation issues on the inside of the cover, put 2" of foamboard on top of the outer cover and put bricks on it to hold it down.
 

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I have a couple hives I think need some assistance, but given the cold weather, I'm not sure if it would be good to open them to assist.

Issue 1:
One hive I peeked in and there was condensation on the underside of the telescoping outer cover right above the oval hole in the inner cover - about the size of a softball. I looked under the inner cover real quick and it was pretty much dry. I have a screened bottom board, but I slid a sheet of thin wood under it to block most of the draft. Should I open the bottom up a bit to provide more draft or prop the outer cover open a bit to allow more outflow - or both?

Issue 2:
I have a hive that went into winter strong and when I heft the back of the hive, it still feels pretty heavy. I peeked in the outer cover and there were quite a few bees on the top of the inner cover - one came at me so I closed it back up before I got a good look. I'm not sure if the whole cluster is up top or if some had just broke cluster since it was around 40 that day. Today it is below 32 so I don't want to open the hive, but I could hear bees right near the top. If the cluster is there, should I risk opening the hive at this temperature to try to give them some dry sugar? I don't want to open it if I don't have to, but I don't want them to starve either. It is not supposed to get above freezing for the next 10 days at minimum.

Thanks for any advice in advance!

C.J. Foster
Re Issue 1: can you throw together a quilt box real quick and get it on? Mine are made with finished 1X4, just a simple frame made with #8 screen attached about 1/2 inch from what is the bottom. You also use any cloth that breathes. I bought the cheap cedar chips at Walmart, and put about 2 inches in the frame. You could also use shreaded newpaper, about 2 inches.

Place this on top of the inner cover, and just under the outer cover. Put popsickle sticks or some other shim on one side to allow some ventilation. This will reduce the amount of condensation forming on the outer cover.

This has worked well for me this winter.

Phil
 

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Issue 2: You say that the hive still feels "pretty heavy"....if you think there are stores remaining in the top box where they are, it makes some sense that is why they are there and if you have any confidence at all that they have a frame or two up there based on your estimate of weight, I'm not sure I'd get too anxious to open it up in the cold your going to see in the next little while....
 
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