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Author Topic: What should inside a hive look like during the winter?  (Read 885 times)
glennj3cub
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« on: December 09, 2013, 12:09:44 AM »

I looked into the hive two weeks ago, very little bees to seen from the top. I have three supers on the hive, the top one only has about 4 frames inside, I never robbed them because I did not need that much honey yet.
Does the honey need to be removed now (will it go bad inside the hive)?
Back to the subject. The bees I saw were cold and clumped together, most of the bees were in the bottom and second super. They could hardly move I suppose due to the chill in the air. It warmed up this weekend and they are busy again. Should I take another look on a warm day and make sure they are doing OK ?

Thanks
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Vance G
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« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2013, 12:44:59 AM »

Now my bees at below zero farenheit are going to be in a tight cluster hopefully out of sight in the lower brood body.  If the cluster is at the top, all I will be able to see are the bees between the frames.  I would never leave four frames on a top box because it probably does not have enough room or feed to support the bees for any length of time.  I think I can safely say, Always have a full box on top.  Bees cluster at 45 degrees F and not knowing where in the country you are it is hard to tell you accurately what inside your colony should look like.   Would need more information and your location before folks can help you much.  The honey does not go bad in the hive.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2013, 01:06:37 AM »

Agree with what Vance said.

If you are going to be peeking in on your bees in the winter, you might consider putting a sheet of clear plastic over the top box in your stack.  You can then peak in on the bees without really disturbing their environment much since the plastic sheet keeps the drafts out as you look.  Once the hive cools down, the bees will cluster into a ball like shape with the sphere being intersected by the frames inside the hive.
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iddee
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« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2013, 08:04:47 AM »

If the temp is not above 55 F., you should never open it unless it is an absolute emergency. Curiosity will kill the hive along with the cat.

Also, if the top box has empty frame space, meaning you have only 4 frames in a 10 frame box, you will have a mess come spring. NEVER have less than a box FULL of frames.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2013, 11:17:52 AM »

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10framer
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« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2013, 01:27:16 PM »

i don't think 'd like seeing all that condensation.   
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Joe D
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« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2013, 08:53:32 PM »

Glenn on questions like this to get a good answer you will need to give location.  Also what size frames and number per super,(8 or 10).  Is there three supers all together or three supers on top of the brood chamber.  Not trying to get down on you, just stuff to give a better answer.  Good luck to you and your bees.




Joe
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Orlando
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« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2013, 10:19:58 PM »

I would think everytime you look in, you are losing valuable heat, chilling the bees, and not accomplishing anything. Even if the bees are not doing well I doubt you could fix anything in the winter (cold climate regions). Probably breaking the propolis seal as well and maybe inviting drafts.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2013, 01:53:48 AM »

i don't think 'd like seeing all that condensation.   
That's what happens when you don't have a top vent!  Word to the wise, use a top vent  Wink

In my little nuc, the bees glued the clear plastic to the wood and hence I wasn't really letting out any significant amount of heat in the minute or two that I looked.  If you're experimenting with different hive configurations (I have done a lot), then it is pretty valuable to be able to see what is really going on inside a hive in the winter.  Lots of people (beeks) will report this and that about winter ventilation schemes.  Well, sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words  Smiley
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2013, 06:58:14 AM »

Now isn't the time to be looking inside the hive...

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.  Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."--Groucho Marx
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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