Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Time to heft your hives!

Hi Buzzers - this very (comparatively) mild weather will keep your bees more active and so they'll
be reducing the stores more quickly.
Decisions need to be made about how much food they have AND if they are able to reach it.
Bees in cluster tend to move upwards to find stores rather than sideways.
You can quickly lift the quilt and shine a torch down between the combs to see where they are.
Or, as above pic., you can insert the varroa tray (if you have removed it for the winter) and after a few
days check where the hive debris is. Above you can see the cappings dropped by the bees as they unseal
the stores.  This info. + the hive weight will enable me to decide whether to feed them with candy and if so
where to place it.
Remember honey bees can tolerate cold, dry conditions but not moisture.  My hives are double-walled so
condensation tends not to be a problem.  However I do check the roof and insulation.
Left pic. is inside a very damp roof most likely caused by driving rain, not condensation.
Right pic. shows a very dry roof which has been dried against a radiator
in my house.  Having a spare roof is handy as I can work along the row
of hives exchanging wet for dry!
Good idea is to register (free) on BeeBase to be kept informed on
various issues eg. colony threatening pests and diseases.
(online Next "When to inspect".