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Author Topic: Opening hive in winter  (Read 1211 times)
bee-nuts
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« on: December 21, 2009, 10:55:30 PM »

It is supposed to be 32 degrees at my location this Christmas.  Is it safe to take a peak under the inner cover for a few second to see if my bees are ok?  Any info appreciated. 
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Thomas Jefferson
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« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2009, 11:24:46 PM »

what will you do if they are not?  with that question in mind, my answer would be leave them alone.
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« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2009, 11:36:29 PM »

Yes,  like Kathyp said, Leave then alone. You can put your ear to the side of the hive body and lightly tap on the side and they will let you know by the humming sound that they are in there. Unless you have some urgent reason they should not be opened for very long and only above 40 degrees. Every time you break their winter seal you are causing them to use extra work and there precious stores to re seal the cracks. my put.doak
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bee-nuts
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« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2009, 02:14:16 PM »

Good points.

I mainly want to see if they ate up the sugar I gave them on the sugar board feeders I made, but I guess I should just wait till end of February, or March or some freak warm weather.  I am very worried a couple will not have enough stores though because October was to cold to feed properly.   

I
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The moment a person forms a theory, his imagination sees in every object only the traits which favor that theory

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Keith13
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« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2009, 04:14:23 PM »

The other morning coming back from duck hunting I saw something that might be relevant here. Along this road a commercial beek has hundreds of hives. the temperature was around 30F. This guy was harvesting honey off of the hives. He had all of his hives open as he was making his way down. Now he being a commercial beek he might have to open them when he can even though it might not be best for his hives or bees. Just thought I would let ya know what I saw take it or leave it.

I personally do not mess with my hives  when it is below 45F unless I really must do something that just can't wait

Keith
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Bigeddie
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« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2009, 04:22:04 PM »

Get every thing ready and set by the hives, pop the cover and feed if you have to,if not close it up. It should not take but 30 seconds to put on a pre cut piece of newspaper and dump on 10# of sugar. Beats the hell out of letting them starve don't you think?
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bee-nuts
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« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2009, 04:28:37 PM »

I dont know wkhat that guy was doing but I knnow there are some commercial guys who shake out all the bees and harvest everything.  There is a guy in my area who does this.  I guess he runs a couple hundred hives.  He buys packages in spring, does not treat or feed.  He shakes out all the bees come winter and takes everything.  I guess the logic behind it is you dont have to spend money on treatments or feeding and you spend no time winterizing them for winter.  

The guy could have also lost everything to CCD and is recovering what he can.

Im going to wait for a day around 30F, sunny and no wind if I get it or better and I will take a peek.  I have built a wind break and covered it with felt.  I insulated my hives and wrapped them in felt.  I have top and bottom entrances and candy board feeders on them.  I will post a pick here soon.  I would now but I have to go to a holiday get togetherhere soon.  I will probably put a pic or two on the net and post a link tonight.  I will take some better pics also when I get a chance to go to my apiary on a warm sunny day so I can share my winter set up.  I have no idea if what id did was bad or good at this point but I guess I will find out soon enough.
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The moment a person forms a theory, his imagination sees in every object only the traits which favor that theory

Thomas Jefferson
bee-nuts
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« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2009, 01:12:53 AM »

Here are some pics of what I got going on.  I want to open the hive like shown in theses pics.  I did not take any pics while wrapping the hive so you can not see the half inch fan fold insulation under the felt.  I was going to put insulation above the inner covers but I decided that they would have enough insulation with snow on top of hives.  I love these feeders. 

Here is a link to the pics.

http://s642.photobucket.com/albums/uu144/mofrapy/

enjoy the Christmas storm.

Bee-nuts
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The moment a person forms a theory, his imagination sees in every object only the traits which favor that theory

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GaryMinckler
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« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2009, 06:56:44 AM »

Hives looked like they're wrapped up pretty well.  There is ventilation though right?  I'm only going through my 3rd winter (no winter losses yet) and only use one wrap from the bottom of the telescoping cover to the bottom of the hive. I'm considering getting away from wrapping altogether. A wind break is always good. I'm worried about my winter stores as well and am also waiting for a good day to put on some dry sugar which I've never done before.  Undecided
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2009, 07:11:10 AM »

If you have no reason to open them  (such as removing apistan strips or putting a pollen patty on) leave them alone.  How would you like it if you were camping out in the winter and someone removed your sleeping bag or blankets to see if you were all right?
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
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