Checking the hive

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by tommyssally, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. tommyssally

    tommyssally New Member

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    I am new to this. There are a lot of dead bees outside my hives. I live in Maryland and the weather has been very up and down, warm and cold. Can I take a peek inside the hives when it is only 35 degrees F?? I want to make sure they are still alive.
    Thanks!
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    I wouldn't unless it's an absolute emergency. Put your ear right up against the side of the hive and if they're alive, you'll hear them. Lots of dead bees around a hive at this time of year is not all that unusual.
     

  3. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    what perry said tommysally. don't open that lid....if you are using double deeps, (or whatever set up) the bees should be clustered near the top now. listen for them. let us know! :grin:
     
  4. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    Put your ear on the box. If it's too cold it may be difficult to hear them, so rap on the box once. They should produce a startled hum that will not only tell you they're there, but which box they're in.
     
  5. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    I sometimes will forcefully blow a warm breath into the upper entrance, and that often brings one or two guards bees to peek out at me after a minute. Be careful when doing this, however- get ready to retreat fast if they get annoyed!
     
  6. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    Once you determine that they are still alive. Heft test, If the hive is light, feeding will be 1st priority.
     
  7. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Opening the hive breaks the "winter sealing" that the bees have made with propolis. It then becomes a lot more difficult for the bees to maintain their warmth, especially in windy conditions. They might be able to do it, but it will be at the expense of "burning" more honey reserves for warmth.
    BTW, glad to see you back and posting as the spring season starts to wake up. Hope you have a successful season.
     
  8. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    ef, good explanation as to why not to open the lid, sometimes we answer the question and neglect to explain our answer. also, great advice by apis as well, "Once you determine that they are still alive. Heft test, If the hive is light, feeding will be 1st priority. " and i would add, if you haven't already done so.
     
  9. tommyssally

    tommyssally New Member

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    Hooray! Both hives are still alive. Thank you everyone for the advice. It is a very faint hum but they are definitely still in there. Since this is my first year and the nectar flow was earlier than expected I knew that they didn't have enough stores. I couldn't find unflavored fondant so I made some sugar cakes and put them in about 3 weeks ago. I was thinking of feeding syrup in a couple weeks. Don't ask me why I was thinking that though! This is all a learning experience for me.:smile:
     
  10. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    tommyssally,
    :yahoo:.....i am very happy for you, that faint hum is 'music' to any beekeepers ear ♫ ♫ ♫ !

    syrup can go on, temps permitting; especially at night, does not freeze it. if your stores are light and you are unsure of the remaining fondant, on a day above 40 degrees, sunny, no wind, it is possible to quickly slip another fondant patty in there if need be and can't get a syrup pail on because of cold temps or a cold snap. best wishes to you :grin:
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013
  11. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    I think it's too early for syrup in two weeks from now in your area. My advice is don't keep opening your hives when it's not Spring yet. There's some very cold weather still ahead, and you're breaking their windproofing propolis seals.
     
  12. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I would suspect Omie that where he is located in Maryland might play into the when question????? <in this regards ALL beekeeping is local and you need to establish (ie notice) biological specimens in your area that indicate that spring has truely arrived... even when it does here I make special notice of the thermometer at my front door to indicate to me when I can perform certain manipulation and when I am better off waiting.
     
  13. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    Yes, I agree Tec. I was figuring that typically most of Maryland would be highs in the upper 40's and lows in the upper 20's about 2 weeks from now. If so, that would be too cold for syrup feeding I would imagine. But yes indeed, it's always about local.
     
  14. Maryland Beekeeper

    Maryland Beekeeper New Member

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    Hello fellow Marylander. I picked up a stethoscope on E-bay for like $5. It works good and is fun for the kids :)
    How bout them Ravens ! :)
     
  15. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Maryland Beekeeper---welcome to the forum. :hi:
    Glad to have you with us, stethoscope and all.
    Your next purchase could be a thermometer. :rotfl:
     
  16. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    Wrong place for this but can't help myself It ties in with the last posts

    A doctor is walking down the hall in the Hospital when a nurse comes up to him and asks "What's that behind your ear? The doctor pulls it out looks at it and answers "It's a rectal thermometer! Some asshole's got my pencil"