Bees still flying in Late December
December 30, 2012 by solarbeez
A long time beekeeper in the bee association warned me to expect 50% winter losses. I thought to myself which hive am I going to lose, the one I’m reluctantly feeding or the log hive?
I realize this is only the beginning of winter, but both hives have already come through hurricane-force winds, weeks of steady rain, and a few recent frosty mornings. The sun finally came out this weekend and to my happy surprise, both hives are still flying, even though the temperature was a mere 50 deg. F (10 deg. C) The log hive is still bringing in a surprising amount of pollen.
I was able to shoot the 2nd part of this video with my new camera that sports a 50x zoom. I don’t have to get as close to the hive now.
Hollowing out the log Constructing the base Bee Beard Gets Bees
Here’s a photo of the bottom board taken the next day…Some more experienced beekeepers say you can tell what’s inside the hive by reading the bottom board. I see flakes of wax, but I’m not sure about the rest of it…
Warre Hive Floor Board…Learning how to read the floor board. The layout of the bars are parallel with the bottom of this board. What do you see?
When it’s cold the bees hang out in the lower left of hive.
Here is Bernhard Zaunreiter’s assessment of my little Warre Hive…
|Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:09 am Post subject:
|It is a very small colony. But since they made it until now, they most probably make it through winter and until Spring. It will be a difficult time in Spring, when the old winter bees die off and have to be replaced with young bees just in time. Just make sure you protect them from robbing in Spring. A big colony will surely assault such a small colony and wipe them out of life. So reduce and watch the entrance.Such a moldy floor only can be found in small colonies. The black stuff on the right of the picture is mold. It won’t harm the bees for now. So no worries. The black dirt ist bug poo, I think the hive has quite some wax moths. The common woodlice are wintering within the hive, but won’t harm the bees much. You could clean the floor board regularily, so you can notice the differences over the time. Once the first stripes and pollen appear on the board, they started brooding. Wipe the mold off with some vinegar, washing and drying it afterwards with a hair dryer.Plenty of stores, so no worries about that. Maybe you scrape open some honey cells from above in Spring, so the honey draws moisture and can be eaten up more quickly, leaving empty cells to lay eggs into. Just some combs at a time. The most critical thingin Spring are empty cells.
You can see his example of a more healthy bottom board here…http://www.biobees.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=88786#88786 (as well as follow the thread)