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Author Topic: Winter food store check-up & questions  (Read 1364 times)

Offline 2-Wheeler

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Winter food store check-up & questions
« on: February 16, 2007, 12:22:07 AM »
After a particularly harsh winter (record snow cover, record snow depth, record cold temps) we had a relatively warm sunny day reaching about 50 F and went to check the condition of the bees and of food stores.

First, I don't know how many I should have this time of year, but it seems like a healthy crowd. (We didn't open the hive competely to avoid the chill, but looking down from above.)  Here's a picture:



We also pulled one of the deep frames part-way up to check for honey stores. We could still see plenty. This frame is the second frame from the southern-most side of the hive.


Questions:  We decided not to feed at this point. Is that the smart choice?

We also noticed that the wooden-frames seem to have warped in the cold to the point where gaps have formed between the two deeps. I would have thought the bees would fill these gaps with propolis, but it doesn't appear they have. Cracks on the north side seem to have some bees stuck (yes dead :-( in the cracks. On the South side, the seem to working on the gaps. See the pictures:
NORTH SIDE:


SOUTH SIDE:


For now we placed some Duct-Tape over the cracks to cut down the drafts as we still have some near zero weather yet this winter. Is there anything else we should do to keep this from happening? (The hive has good top ventilation and a SBB).
-David Broberg   CWOP#: CW5670 / CoCoRaHS #CO-BO-218
Blog: http://beesandblooms.blogspot.com/
My Weather: http://www.leyner.org/
My Flickr Album: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dbroberg/

Offline Zoot

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Re: Winter food store check-up & questions
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2007, 12:38:30 AM »
I've learned my lesson about mid-winter inspections; A week or so back I merely tapped both of my hives to get the re-assuring hum of living bees. Also lifted both hives (distressingly light). It was a rare moment when it was sunny and maybe 30 F. Later that evening the temp. plunged to single digits as it has most nights. The following morning I observed 20 to 30 bees frozen solid in various postures around the top entrances. Obviously my "tap" caused many bees to break cluster and investigate. I cringe at the thought of how many died overall.

Offline thegolfpsycho

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Re: Winter food store check-up & questions
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2007, 01:58:58 AM »
Looks in decent shape to me.  I probably wouldn't have pulled the frame up.  Just give the boxes a heft and see how heavy they feel.  Looks like a bit of dysentary cropping up.  Keep an eye on that.

Offline Kirk-o

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Re: Winter food store check-up & questions
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2007, 09:28:57 AM »
Looks good dude
kirk-o
"It's not about Honey it's not about Money It's about SURVIVAL" Charles Martin Simmon

Offline rayb

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Re: Winter food store check-up & questions
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2007, 09:37:44 AM »
Quote
   Looks like a bit of dysentary cropping up.  Keep an eye on that.   

Are you referring to the streaks on the boxes? If it is dysentary, what should he do?

Thanks, Ray

Offline Finsky

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Re: Winter food store check-up & questions
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2007, 09:43:39 AM »
.
Hive seems quite normal, was it  dysentry or nosema. It cannot be done anything.  It is very clean inside the hive.


Offline 2-Wheeler

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Re: Winter food store check-up & questions
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2007, 07:32:57 PM »
Thanks all for the replies and the reassurance. Our worst fear is going out and finding that they have ran out of food or have starved. We'll keep an eye on the droppings. It was low 50s today and they were out in droves again, but no real changes in the streaks on the sides. Hopefully it was just their sense of "relief" after holding it for a month of horrible weather.
-David Broberg   CWOP#: CW5670 / CoCoRaHS #CO-BO-218
Blog: http://beesandblooms.blogspot.com/
My Weather: http://www.leyner.org/
My Flickr Album: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dbroberg/