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Author Topic: Final inspection  (Read 1478 times)
WayneW
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« on: October 19, 2008, 10:45:55 AM »

I did a final inspection this morning (it was in the low 30's and the girls were quite lathargic) and to try out "the mountaincamp" method for feeding sugar as winter feed and moisture control.

Hive consists of 2 , 10 frame deeps. I have been fighting VM since august with powdered sugar shakes. Some times the mite counts over 24 hours were very low, sometrimes they spiked into the 100+ region. I wasn't expecting them to make it through winter (and stilll have my concerns as last mite count was higest ever) but i did get a nice suprise when i opened the hive.

The top deep was extreemly heavy and had 10 fully drawn and capped frames of honey  shocked. One got damaged when i pulled it to inspect because of burr comb drawn between the frame and the hive body. Also, more was damaged from my lifting the upper deep to have a look in the brood chamber (burr between the bottom of the top frames and tops of the bottom frames.) The girls got to cleaning up the mess quickly  grin

Looking in the bottom box didn't make me feel as good as seeing the honey did. I didnt pull any frames in the brood chamber, (i didnt want to break the winter cluster) but looking thru from above didn't reveal many bees  Sad  ....hard to guess numbers, but definately nowhere near what there was when i aquired the hive. Back then, in july it was litterly bursting with bees, 10 frames covered solid everytime i opened it up.

I pray they make the winter with so few numbers, perhaps the suagr shakes did their job when it was needed, and the girls will survive.
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Cindi
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« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2008, 10:53:19 AM »

Wayne, during the wintertime clustering, the bee numbers are reduced drastically.  The winter cluster can be quite small and I hear of people speaking of a baseball sized winter cluster.  You will never see 10 frames of bees during the cold part of winter, they are all in a ball, so there may be lots of hope.  Those mite numbers are a little daunting though. Time will tell that tale.  Good luck and keep us posted on how things are doing.  Leave them alone when they are clustering, there is no need to go in the colonies again, once you are satisfied that they have enough food, until springtime.  Have a most wonderful and great day, Cindi
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bmacior
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« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2008, 06:58:30 PM »

Was it in the 30s when you did your inspection? huh   Being a newbee myself, I thought you weren't to get in the hive if it's below 50.
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WayneW
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« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2008, 07:45:52 PM »

Was it in the 30s when you did your inspection? huh   Being a newbee myself, I thought you weren't to get in the hive if it's below 50.

I would never attempt a full inspection in temps this low. I was in there only to make certain i even had bees left, due to the battle(S) with Varroa Mites and to setup the dry sugar feed. Hive wasnt open for 10 minutes, so i'm sure they're fine. Now they get to be left alone until march or april. Wink
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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2008, 08:23:04 PM »

I think what bmacior is saying is that when you open the hive in low temps, just opening the hive (even for 5 seconds), all their heat goes straight up and out, so they have to work really hard to get the heat back up once you close, this would cause them to have to eat more of their stores.  BUT i am new too.  is that your point bmacior?
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Stephen Stewart
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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2008, 08:25:50 PM »

I just thought something.  With all the cordless thermometers now, you could put one in your hive and when it gets to 64 degrees you know they are moving and it's safe to enter!!   i might try that.
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Stephen Stewart
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bmacior
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« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2008, 10:28:01 PM »

Yep, that's what I was thinking.   A thermometer sounds like an idea.  However the bees don't heat the entire inside of the hive, they just heat the cluster itself.  The rest of the hive is the same temperature as the outside air.

http://www.westmtnapiary.com/winter_cluster.html
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wharfrat
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« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2008, 09:35:52 AM »

This post brings more questions to the mind of another newbie....

It's not really winter yet..there are bound to be more days in the 60's at least in Pennsylvania. I'm in Virginia, and it should get to around 70 today.

Won't the bees break from the cluster on the nicer days to come???

Thanks for the help.

Pat
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Scadsobees
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« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2008, 10:02:01 AM »

There is a difference between a hive inspection and a quick check.  You can do a quick check even into the 20's.  Sure, it isn't great for the bees, and you don't want to do this very often at all.
I would consider a hive inspection when you are pulling out frames to check the frames, and you do NOT want to do this when it is colder than the high 50's, 60's.

In fact, some advice for treating with oxalic acid trickle is to open the hives when it is in the 30-40s and they are clustered, opening the top and bottom box breifly and trickling the acid water on them.

I'll pop off the cover occasionally during the winter just to check on where they are and how they are doing, but only briefly.

Rick
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Rick
wharfrat
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« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2008, 10:23:28 AM »

Sorry to pipe back in here everyone..but, it's 45 degrees outside this morning and my bees are quite active flying around like crazy. Coming and going.

Any more general temperature guidelines with regards to bee activity from you veterans would be appreciated.

Best regards, and sincerely hope I haven't hijacked this thread.

Pat
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2008, 07:24:03 PM »

>Any more general temperature guidelines with regards to bee activity from you veterans would be appreciated.

I've seen Italians who wouldn't fly until it hit 50 F.  I've seen dark ferals who would fly in any weather short of freezing and do quite a bit of work on a 40 F day.
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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2008, 08:56:18 PM »

"However the bees don't heat the entire inside of the hive, they just heat the cluster itself.  The rest of the hive is the same temperature as the outside air."

Right, but they will not break the cluster until the outside temp (air temp in the hive) is over 64, thus the thermometer tells you when it is 64 inside the hive so you can go in--we don't need to know the temp of the cluster.  Just a note, the inside of the hive and outside may not be the same temp due to the lag time of moving and/or stale air.  If you have a SBB then there will be minimal lag time. 

"but, it's 45 degrees outside this morning and my bees are quite active flying around like crazy"

Are they in the sun?  That would make a difference, especially if their little, bee bodies are dark like MB said.  I was outside this afternoon when it was about 65, but I was in the sun and burning up, had to move to the shade.
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Stephen Stewart
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2008, 10:08:46 PM »

>Any more general temperature guidelines with regards to bee activity from you veterans would be appreciated.

I've seen Italians who wouldn't fly until it hit 50 F.  I've seen dark ferals who would fly in any weather short of freezing and do quite a bit of work on a 40 F day.


Yeah I've had my bees fly on a clear sunny day in mid-winter with 38 F temps.  The key is clear and sunny.  I think if I checked I could find them Flying, though only for short periods, in temps below that as long as the weather was clear and sunny.  In February I see a lot of bees bringing in pollen on sub 40 F days.
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