June 29, 2013 at 9:23 pm #257823ruthyMember
I checked on my bees today after leaving them for about 5 weeks. Its winter here and my garden can be very damp in the mornings as we have a mist that comes up the valley and sits over the garden for a while and then goes off. When I went in today there were hardly any bees in the top box. They were all down in the brood box. Also there was some mildew on the front and back frames particularly on the corners. In fact the whole top box looked damp and abandoned. I’m not sure whether to take the top box off completely and leave just the brood box. My main worry is the mildew and also that the whole super is vulnerable to pests getting a hold if it’s so empty. It’s an 8 frame hive, a couple of frames are capped with honey, most still have unripe honey in and there is one frame in the middle that is empty (A sticky I put back in last time). If I take off the top box will this leave the brood box cold as less insulation? Also will I be taking away their food/honey? One thing I have done is remove a piece of styrofoam off the top- I had a piece of Styrofoam to sheild from sun but I think this might have added to moisture being collected as it hangs over and maybe traps moisture instead of letting it have an air flow. Any advice gratefully received. I’m also going to post on D2E plus email my bee buddy.June 30, 2013 at 3:48 pm #533126ruthyMember
just to let you know I have taken the top box off! : )June 30, 2013 at 4:47 pm #533127GirlFridayMember
I would keep an extra close eye on this hive. I had one that went like that and it ended up being as a result of American Foulbrood disease and i had to burn the entire hive.
When the nights start getting below 10 deg C I close up some of the entry way with strips of corflute and sticky tape- the girls can still get in and out but it makes it easier for them to keep the hive warm. I also put sheets of coreflute over the top of the frames between the boxes- not to cover the entire top of the frames – I leave about a three inch gap so the bees can still move between the boxes but once again, it helps them keep the heat in the hive. They do tend to put propolis all over it but thats not a big deal. I remove it in Spring when things start warming up again. I was told a general rule of thumb was that a hive needed at least 6 full frames of honey to sustain them over Winter. When I do the last rob before the Winter Solstice I make sure they have 6 full ones.
Good luck with your beekeeping 🙂
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