Opening Hive in Winter

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Gscot 

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From most of the information I have had so far it tells you to leave the bees alone in Winter."Does it do any harm to open on a milder day and have a quick peek?" So far I have opened 3 times, Once to see if they were alive next to feed fondant next to see if they were eating the fondant.
 

Poly Hive 

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Length of string comes to mind.

In general it's best to put your bees down for winter and leave until the traditional Xmas pressie which was candy. and BTW that applied to Glens too.

So by all means feed them but for goodness sake gie them a bucket nae a drammie eh, and be done wi it.

PH
 

Dishmop 

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Thou shalt not fiddle.....:willy_nilly::willy_nilly:
 

Heather 

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To open the hive 'just to peek' is for your benefit (curiosity). Why on earth open, releasing heat and disturbing if they don't benefit???

Open, pile in some fondant, close up. Small colony - straight onto frames, strong colony onto crown board opening.

Open- Oxalic treat, close.

Otherwise- stay in doors and read a book!
 

Vergilius 

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To open the hive 'just to peek' is for your benefit (curiosity). Why on earth open, releasing heat and disturbing if they don't benefit???
I think more like unnecessarily worried rather than curious.

Gscot,

Everytime you open the hive the cluster loses heat. This means that more stores are consumed which could be crucial come March/April... Get it? There should be no need for you to remove the crown board unless you intend to do a midwinter treatment. Stores can be assessed through hefting your hive and then fondant can be put over the feed hole. That is it.

Ben P
 

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The simple rule must be:
"Am I adding value by disrupting the bees" the secondary rule must be "Can I act positively on the info I gather from an inspection". If the answer to one or both is "no" (for what ever reason) then dont inspect.
This will sound harsh but surely you should inspect to improve your care of the bees not for personal amusement.
 

Hivemaker. 

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Bit like R.O.B Manley wrote in one of his books.....would you keep on pulling a plant out of the ground, just to see what the roots were doing.

I suppose you might pull the odd carrot though...
 
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beebreeder 

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Or as I look at it, would you be happy if someone came and lifted your house roof and ceilings off just to look in, and let all the heat go? No so don't do it to your bees. Just my simple way of looking at things.
kev
 

madasafish 

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One of the advantages of a TBH that opening up in winter is such a pia, I have zero inclination to do so.
 
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From most of the information I have had so far it tells you to leave the bees alone in Winter."Does it do any harm to open on a milder day and have a quick peek?" So far I have opened 3 times, Once to see if they were alive next to feed fondant next to see if they were eating the fondant.
You can lead a Horticulture, but you can't make her think!



let the bees alone!!
 

Onge 

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I havent touched mine since late August.

Stuck my ear against the side last week, there still buzzing. :)

I will open each one for about 1 minute after Christmas for Oxalic then leave them alone again until the spring.

Hope that helps.
 

Chris B 

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Well I've just got back from fiddling. My excuse was the woodpecker had already been fiddling. Replaced roof with hole and checked 3 frames of the cluster - no brood whatsoever so reassembled pronto. Fairly confident that means little or no brood in any colonies so I'll be OA'ing asap.
 

Rosti 

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the woodpecker had already been fiddling.
Chris, did you suffer the woodpecker damage with or without protection in place (clearly if you had protection then a re-think needed I guess!). If protected what were you using / what will you be using?

(no evidence of green woodpeckers round my hives so I am currently unprotected hence the interest)
 

Chris B 

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No protection in place I'm afraid. My general strategy is to remove all bees from apiaries in winter if there's a woodpecker history. But this is in the garden. I had a minor problem last winter and now it's come back. Time for the fruit cage netting.
 

Gscot 

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Thanks for the replys and I can see its not adviseable to open in Winter, but I take that except for some heat loss it does,nt really do much harm.You see this is my first Winter with bees and I WAS curious.After catching a first swarm in Aug. Falling off a ladder catching it, my son getting stung 15 times on the face and neck lending a hand, hiving it, feeding heavy for 8 weeks, studying the hive for hours, falling out with the wife for spending too much time with the bees.(Its the dogs The bees And where,s my dinner she says)
Just wanted to make sure all was ok and they were,nt lying dead in the hive cos. we had a few nights with -18 and about 3 weeks with weather that would turn you to drink.(Not just a wee one)
 

Gscot 

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Polyhive Had a go at the SBA site and found you get one or two replys from the same people and its excellent With the uk forum you get loads more replys to think about and confuse you as its coming from Irish and Welsh also.
 

Poly Hive 

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Fair enough. LOL

Gavin posts on here now and again and I keep forgetting to read the SBA site... oops. And yes I am in exile and am an SBA member. :)

PH
 
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Dishmop 

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but I take that except for some heat loss it does,nt really do much harm.

Just wanted to make sure all was ok and they were,nt lying dead in the hive
They probably will be if you keep taking the roof off thier house...where they are all cuddled up trying to keep warm....
 

mister_oxo 

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To open the hive 'just to peek' is for your benefit (curiosity). Why on earth open, releasing heat and disturbing if they don't benefit???

Open, pile in some fondant, close up. Small colony - straight onto frames, strong colony onto crown board opening.

Open- Oxalic treat, close.

Otherwise- stay in doors and read a book!
Hello Heather, I have just had Charles Keen treat our hive with oxalic acid. He has had a quick peep at couple of frames in brood box. Confirmed that I must continue with feeding of fondant as they have no stores. I had a smallish plastic box inverted over one hole in crown board.

He said to get two bigger boxes, make holes in the bottom of boxes (ice cream tub like boxes) fill with fondant. Then stand over the crown board holes. Do this with an empty super on to act as an eke.

Fondant can dry up and go as hard as a lump of sugar?? if not enclosed?? if put on top of frames I loose heat from the brood if I have to see if they have used up fondant??

If fondant on top of frames it is closer to the bees I can see that. I have had fondant get moist and a drop of "syrup" dripped down onto the veroa board I had in place. Easy to just slap a load of fondant on frames ! What is the BEST THING I can do ?

Mike

ps thanks for the *super* pollen meeting and all the tasty grub LOL !!
 

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