Cold Weather and Inspections

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ROACHMAN 

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With all this cold weather over the past 2 weeks (hasnt got much above 11-12 deg in Wiltshire) I havnt been able to open up the hives.

Theres been cases of swarming on this forum and im getting concerned as I dont know what my bees are up to.

Ive set up some bait hives just in case, would it be a risk worth taking to go through them tomorrow, the temp is only going to be about 12 though !:confused:
 

Chickenlicken 

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I usually am happy to go through a hive quickly if it's warm Enough to wear a t shirt comfortably. I am in wilts and went through my girls around 12 today. Thought it was warm enough not to chill brood, providing I go through the hives without wasting time.
Clint
 

VEG 

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If my bees are flying I will inspect. Problem is if you dont look at them the first warm day and if they are in swarm mode off they will go.
 

Swarm 

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It depends on the site location IMO. An open, exposed apiary site may feel too cold compared to a sheltered one that is a bit of a sun trap.
I understand your concern, I've only done one inspection and then we had this cold snap. If it's favourable this weekend I may do some quick inspections but certainly won't be lifting all frames .... Not unless we get some serious sunshine.
 

enrico 

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I'm with you swarm, here in mid Wales it is still quite chilly but a neighbour opened hers today and sure enough .... Sealed queen cells..... Keeping my fingers crossed that mine are not going same way!!
 

Flapback 

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Was in the same position today; only +12 but bees flying well out to OSR 150m away. So decided to take the chance, no QCs yet but BB (National) jam-packed - they're on brood and half and still have enough space. Will leave well alone now until the temp increases.
 

johncorne 

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same problem here in Berks. I've 4 hives on the OSR, but it is on the top of the hills and exposed. Managed one inspection while the bees were busy - shut up quickly as rain arrived... waited till that stopped... halfway through 2nd hive the rain came back, so I waited anothere 30 mins and went home for a cuppa! Hard to know which risk is greatest!

Jc
 

plumberman 

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2 of my lot with queen cells- if sunny and they are flying, I'd definitely be inspecting.
 

ROACHMAN 

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Think its sunny tomorrow and 12 deg but a cold northerly wind, Trouble is to check for queen cells you really need to do an in depth inspection including shaking bees off the frames. Dont think ill go that far, ill have a quick look - better than nothing !
 

susbees 

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The hive I failed to go through yesterday due to their snottiness were better today: two half drawn supersedure type cells - one each end of the brood nest and a few empty cups further in. Reduced strength and supered...and clipped the queen for good measure: new policy to clip queens with intentions...

Supered another colony as a guesstimate....and two more risky atm. Big cherry trees humming and quite a few bees messing about in the dandelions covered in pollen.
 

Chickenlicken 

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same problem here in Berks. I've 4 hives on the OSR, but it is on the top of the hills and exposed. Managed one inspection while the bees were busy - shut up quickly as rain arrived... waited till that stopped... halfway through 2nd hive the rain came back, so I waited anothere 30 mins and went home for a cuppa! Hard to know which risk is greatest!

Jc
Wow you're brave! Checking on bees in changeable weather while on our. Lol - my bees can get pretty nasty with that combo.
Clint
 

susbees 

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It depends. The four I did the previous day only the one I mentioned was a problem, the other three were chilled. Ten minutes after we finished we had thunder and hailstones...
 

MJBee 

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This current cold/cool spell has been with us for almost 14 days. I have managed to have a quick look at most of mine during the odd brief sunny spells but two were outstanding.

13 days since inspection:eek: Temp 12C big cumulus clouds with bits of blue between. Waited for a blue bit and dived in - double brood National top brood 9 frames of wall to wall brood in all stages 2 sealed queen cells and 4 open cells with larvae and royal jelly - too late? Bottom brood 6 frames of brood and HRH:). So the iffy weather had put them into swarm mode but had also kept them at home. Removed all the queen cells (sealed and open) to give me a bit more time. I have all the kit ready and will AS them on the first decent day.

The other hive - single brood commercial, 7 frames of brood in all stages a few queen cups, two with eggs and one with a larvae and royal jelly - all destroyed and again will AS first chance.

This iffy weather has posed the problem - do I inspect and risk chilling the brood and stroppy bees or do I leave them alone and risk them swarming the first sunny afternoon? Decisions decisions. I suggest that with 1 or 2 hives AND able to be on site the minute the weather improves you could leave them now and AS as soon as the weather improves. But with 9 hives spread over 3 apiaries I would lose swarms:banghead:
 

ROACHMAN 

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Went through mine today - Temp was only 11 deg - glad I did, queen cells with 1-2 day old larvae in one hive

Artifical swarm tomorrow morning
 

johncorne 

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I managed a full inspection of the 4 on OSR and need not have worried - the cool weather seems to have slowed HM down abit, with no signs of swarming.

Jc
 

BBG 

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Be quick and use two cloths.

BOL :)
 

MuswellMetro 

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Did a few today, quite late, it requires two people, split the brood off the front at the floor and tilt the brood on the rear edge 30-45 degrees ( dont do it warm way as the frames move)

then the other beekeeper looks under for play cups and queen cells....not infallible but gives and indication of the state of play they are in

no queen cells/play cups on frame bottoms, well possible none in the rest of the box, take a risk and leave for another few days

lots of play cups or charged cells on bottom of frames, then inspect either then and there or need looking at first next day and 7 days thereafter

quite quick and it was getting late, prioitises the hives that need immediate inspection if time is tight
 
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BBG 

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Think its sunny tomorrow and 12 deg but a cold northerly wind, Trouble is to check for queen cells you really need to do an in depth inspection including shaking bees off the frames. Dont think ill go that far, ill have a quick look - better than nothing !
Don't shake!

Shaking = Damage to Queens in cells!!!! ;)
 

buzzalot 

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Queen cells!

Found sealed queens in 2 out of 3 of my hives, I dared not do an artificial swarm as -2 tonight, I put Supers on each of them 2 weeks ago so thought I would be safe, Supers are full!
 

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