Friday, February 5, 2010

Still alive and kicking!

Getting very nervous after reading about hive deaths on the forums, I decided to go out and take a peek at the hive. The thermometer read several tenths over 40 degrees F, so I decided I would at least lift the lid off and peek under the inner cover. I took the hive tool out. Though it was cloudy and a bit windy, the temperature was nonetheless the warmest we have had in weeks.
When I got to the hive, I noticed a couple new dead bees on the landing area. There had been a few bees on the way to the hive, on the fresh snow. I pulled back the fencing I had put around to discourage critters, removed the styrofoam and wood blocks from on top of the telescoping cover and lifted it. I was very surprised to see 50 to 70 bees crawling about on top of the inner cover! There was a small pool of water near the slotted opening of the inner cover. My guess is this is from water that has moved up through the hive, condensed in the cooler air on top of the inner cover and possible had been frozen in cooler temps. Bees were getting much needed liquid nourishment from this. Satisfied that I did not have a "dead" hive, I quickly closed things back up. I tried tipping the entire hive to try to determine weight but it wouldn't budge. I take this to mean it still has a lot of weight to it, which would be good news.
The temps are to plunge again mid-week next week, unfortunately. After that, I hope for warmer weather so I can again resume some feeding. I am feeling much better about things, especially since I read about a number of people losing their only hive. Keeping fingers crossed.


  1. I saw that most of the hives around here have black tarp/tape? surrounding the box for the winter. Maybe to warm the boxes?

  2. Yeah, they suggest the tar paper here too. It's the same stuff you put on a house roof under the shingles, not so much for solar gain as for water/wind protection. I decided to do the styrofoam instead, giving a little more warmth.