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Author Topic: how to know if the hive is ok in the winter  (Read 3305 times)
slacker361
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« on: December 26, 2010, 09:48:02 PM »

I am pretty sure i dont want to open the hive to much as the heat loss would be bad, I think..  But here in western PA it has been below freezing now for about a month, and I went and checked the hive, there are some dead bees at the entrance, and the top hive feeder still has plenty of syrup and is still in liquid form , so  I am sure the hive is making some heat to keep that thawed.  But is there an easy way to tell whether I should order one or two nuc next year  ( LOL I only have one hive)
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backyard warrior
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« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2010, 10:12:26 PM »

The liquid syrup does nothing for the bees this time of year they wont break cluster to feed on it. Also the liquid adds moisture to the hive and that isnt  a good thing this time of year.  U can tap on the side and listen to hear if they are buzzing at all.  The best thing to do is leave them bee till spring time.  Wink 
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AllenF
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« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2010, 10:17:47 PM »

Stick your fingers in the entrance and shake the box a lot to see if you can feel any bees.   grin

No really, the next time the temp gets up to 45, 50 degrees, you can quickly check on the bees when you pull that syrup out of the hive.
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Yuleluder
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« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2010, 11:44:34 PM »

I do as another poster stated.  Put your ear up to the hive body and have a listen.  If you cannot hear a low humming noise then gently tap on the box, you should hear the bees.
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bee-nuts
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« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2010, 02:35:09 AM »

I myself am not scared to pop the inner cover open to take a peek on warmer days to see if they still have honey left and are alive.  You will not kill them by doing this.  Best days to do this in my area are when its upper twenty's or into thirty's if lucky enough, no wind and sunny.

You can also put your ear to the side of hive and hear them buzzing.  If you hear nothing give a tap on hive with your knuckle and you should hear a buzz and know they are alive.  If you hear nothing they are most likely dead.  Once you know which ones are alive and dead look at top of hives.  On warmer days you will notice the ones that are alive will have wet tops under snow and dead ones will be froze solid.  Once you have this down you can tell by this alone which ones are dead or alive for the most part.

Some hives that have lots of bees in them, buzz so loud you can hear it plan as day just standing in front of hive.
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Tommyt
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« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2010, 08:16:26 AM »

What ever you do don't put you ear to the entrance and start Knocking delivery
 JP got one in the ear in a Video  shocked
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jhs494
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« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2010, 12:25:35 PM »

I use a stethoscope. You can hear them without tapping on the box. I work my way around and see how high up I can hear them. (neighbors prolly think I am crazy)
I only open when it gets above 50 degrees and then only to add sugar candy if they need it. Last year we had some days in Jan. that warmed up and we took a quick peek.
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Joe S.
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« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2010, 07:56:38 PM »

When temps go up later this week Ill be peeking into the tops of the hives to see where the cluster is located.  If they are at the top, ill be adding fondant as an emergency feed.  if the bees are flying then I generally take that as a sign that I can make a quick check this time of year
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BC
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« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2010, 10:16:25 AM »

Get a metal clothes hanger. Bend it at the end to make a hook. Stick it in the entrance. Fish it around to clean out dead bees that could block the entance inside. If you do it long enough, you will bring the guards out to investigate. Then you will know if they are still alive. All you have to see is just one. While you are fishing, you can also be looking in the entrance with a flashlight. You should see bees moving around inside the floor. Then leave them alone. I find this method better then opening the top and taking a risk of chilling them. Then on a warmer day you can check their stores. This works for me.

I not an expert and don't claim to bee.
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Hethen57
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« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2010, 12:24:23 PM »

I have also found that fishing out the dead bees once or twice during the winter is probably beneficial to hive health because they can start to get moldy.  Unfortunately, I just found two more dead hives over the weekend which were probably the result of poorly performing queens, or queens that were killed during the fall robbing.  They had lots of honey stores, but the clusters were too small to keep the hive warm and they froze in the small clusters.
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-Mike
bee-nuts
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« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2010, 04:15:09 PM »

Provide a top entrance and you dont need to worry about bees blocking the entrance.  A top entrance will also help moisture get out the top.  I find my bees like to cluster next to the top entrance for some reason.  Not sure why this is but they do.  I just checked nine colonies today and half were up top eating fondant in cluster right next to entrance.  Others were still down out of sight.

People are way to paranoid about opening the inner cover to take a peek at bees on sunny, low wind, upper twenty into thirty's days in my opinion.  If the bees can handle twenty or thirty below zero and fifty mile an hour winds blowing, popping the inner cover on a thirty degree sunny day for thirty seconds is not going to hurt them.

Ill leave it at that.  Bash me if you wish.
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rdy-b
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« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2010, 08:30:36 PM »

I use a stethoscope. You can hear them without tapping on the box. I work my way around and see how high up I can hear them. (neighbors prolly think I am crazy)
I only open when it gets above 50 degrees and then only to add sugar candy if they need it. Last year we had some days in Jan. that warmed up and we took a quick peek.
IF you cant afford the stethoscope use a piece of rubber hose-we do this at the farmers market
            for the kids with the observation hive always gets a smile-RDY-B
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Scadsobees
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« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2010, 08:58:25 AM »

Sounds like I do similar to bee-nuts....

First I check the snow at the top.  A live hive will have an indention in the middle as the snow melts from cluster heat.

Then an ear to the hive...has to be a good ear to hive seal, and a tap.

Last, only a couple times a year, I'll lift the top and peek in (I have rim spacers on, no inner covers, minimal hassle and disturbance).  See where the cluster is, quick honey check.  If they are packed up to the top or I can't see some honey in the frame tops, then they need some sugar put on. 

I have 1" holes in the boxes, so ventilation and entrances isn't an issue.

Rick
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Rick
Acebird
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« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2010, 01:38:48 PM »

If you find the bees are not OK what are you going to do anyway?  We are suppose to have a 40 degree day this weekend.  Maybe I will take a peek just for the heck of it.
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slacker361
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« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2010, 06:35:18 PM »

well if they are not ok, i will do mouth to bee resuscitation LOL  no no   it is just to see how many bees i need to order for the spring
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rdy-b
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« Reply #15 on: December 29, 2010, 09:43:47 PM »

If you find the bees are not OK what are you going to do anyway?  We are suppose to have a 40 degree day this weekend.  Maybe I will take a peek just for the heck of it.
  there are many things that you can do -depends whats going on-perhaps move outside
frames of honey closer in so theres a frame against the cluster-or perhaps find a feeder full of rain water and empty
 it-sometimes i switch placement of strong for weak colonies giving them a chance to equal out so they get a even start-maybe they need more sub-or one sure fire way to tell if something is wrong is if they haven't touched there sub and the others finished theres -if the bees are flying take a look might just save them from Doom-RDY-B
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Acebird
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« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2010, 09:03:33 AM »

 
Quote
if they haven't touched there sub and the others finished theres


What is a sub?
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slacker361
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« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2010, 09:22:13 AM »

a sub, some people call then heros or porboiys torpedos , you know those sandwiches subway sells, i just didn't know they delivered to the bee hive......... ok i think he meant substitute but i could be wrong
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Acebird
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« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2010, 09:28:43 AM »

I could be wrong slacker but I made an assumption that you were starting out, maybe with only one hive like us so there isn't much for substitution is there?
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rdy-b
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« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2010, 02:27:18 PM »

  pollen suplament-protien patty-(SUBSTUTE for lack of natural pollen flow)
but in your case Acebird it whould be BANNANAS- Wink  RDY-B
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