Remove Snow From Landing Board?

We just had the first accumulating snow fall of the season in St. Louis area, and a several beekeepers were asking at the recent club meeting whether they should remove the snow build up on the landing board or not.

Snow on Landing Board

The concerns ranged from bees not being able to get out of the hive for cleansing flights to bees suffocating in the hive with the entrance being blocked.

My response to the question of is it necessary to remove the snow is "probably not".

If your hive has ventilation through the top, outer cover, or screened bottom board then you're OK to leave the snow piled up, they won't suffocate.

If you're in the middle of a cold stretch where the snow isn't melting outside, it's probably too cold for the bees to get out and take cleansing flights anyways, and they're not actively trying to get out .

If the outside temperature suddenly warms up and your hive is in the shade where the snow isn't melting, it wouldn't hurt to help them clear away the snow so they could get out sooner.

However if you're like me and just anxious for spring to arrive so you can at least do something with your bees, go ahead and clear the landing board off.

It gave me something to do while I watched the kids sled through the yard.

Comments For This Post: (2) | Post Your Comments! Hide The Comment Form
beegineer says...
Date:   January 26, 2012, 4:10 am

I noticed that the plastic sheet has been removed from the screened bottom board do you use it at all or leave it out

Chris (Show Me The Honey) says...
Date:   January 26, 2012, 7:40 am

There is great debate (at least in our local beekeeper's club) about whether to put the sheet in during the winter time, or leave it out. Some believe putting it in helps stop the draft of cold air from entering the hive from below, while others believe the flow of fresh air helps keep the hive from building up too much moisture and condensation. It's been said that the cold air does not effect the bees as much as high amounts of moisture does.

After hearing one of these debates, with no clear winner (at least in our debate there wasn't), I decided it's up to personal preference (or experimentation).

My hive is surrounded by a fence behind, and brush/trees on each side that act as wind blocks, so I decided to leave the bottom open during the winter to see how it works out.

I have used the sheets, though, to test for mite drops.

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