Early January Hive Inspection

This weekend I took the opportunity to check on the hive in my yard and see how the bees were doing.

This first week of January has had 3 days above 50*F, two of which were in the upper 60*F!

I placed my camera under the hive, and took a picture looking up through the bottom of the hive. From this vantage point, the bottom brood box looks empty...or at least the frames I could see straight up into were empty.

I was excited to see that the inner cover showed no signs of moisture, condensation or wet wood anywhere. This is good as moisture present in the hive can weaken and even cause the death of a hive during the winter.

Turning towards the top of the hive, lifing the cover I was surprised to see so many bees walking around on top of the frames, and in such a large pattern occupying so many frames.

I looked down through frames 1-8 and there were bees heavily covering both sides of those frames.

I had wondered if they were eating their way though their second  box of winter reserves, so I lifted the back of the hive, as the old beekeepers in the club suggest doing to see if it felt heavy or not. A bit of unscientific approach to determine how much food reserves they had left I though, but did it anyway. It was still very heavy. Not as heavy as it was back in the first part of December, but still plenty heavy.

Wondering how they would react to the sugar candy I made two weeks ago, I broke a piece up and set it on top of the frames.

It only took a brief moment for a couple of them to find it, climb on it and start eating it.

I didn't really intend to feed them any sugar candy, nor do I think they need it since I can still see capped honey in the frames, but I figured since I already had some on hand, and they took interest to it, I would leave them a few chunks and see how much (if any) they consume in another week or two.

How has the weather been where you are? Have you lifted the cover of your hives recently? With these warm (but brief) days of January, I just couldn't resist the urge to put on my veil and go have a look!

Comments For This Post: (2) | Post Your Comments! Hide The Comment Form
Holly says...
Date:   January 9, 2012, 1:50 pm

I haven't lifted the lid in my hive yet.  I do see bees come and go on nice warm days when the sun is out but those days are few and far between.  Since the moisture levels are always high here and there's an east wind, I just listen to the hive by pressing my ear on the side of the box.  I can usually tell where the bees are located by how loud they are.

Mil says...
Date:   January 10, 2012, 9:57 pm

Hi Chris,
Good to hear that you checked in on the bees. One of our hives, a late swarm, is very busy. We are having pretty much the same weather as you, in the 50's, some sunny days. Usually, it would be raining by now.

Our other two hives are pretty lethargic which sort of freaks us out. I'm just hoping that's just there normal winter pattern and they're just waiting for spring to come. They've been around since 2008 and 2009, respectively, so hoping they'll make it through.

Happy new year.

Best wishes,

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