This blog explains how I keep bees. It works for me, it might not work for you. Use my methods at your own risk. Always wear protective clothing and use a smoker when working bees.

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Checking Hives

This is a very nice over wintered colony taken in March. Lots of bees.
This weekend will be a perfect time for the alive or dead check on overwintered colonies.
The snow depth is mostly non existent so getting to colonies should be easy. The forecast is for a good snow, maybe on this coming Tuesday. So time to check this weekend.
Check now while there is time to order replacement packages.
When checking colonies, if you don't see bees on top of the top brood box, check down deep. The bees may have not moved up yet. This can happen on colonies that are heavy with honey. Don't assume the bees are dead until you see a dead cluster.
 I have even had in the past, is to tilt back the top box to see if any bees are under there. It is always a pleasant surprise to see a large cluster under the top box.
Check food stores. The queens should be laying now and honey consumption will increase with the new brood coming on.
Still a little early to feed. But if on inspection there are bees, but their food is almost gone, better to feed syrup than to lose the colony.
A good colony has around four frames of bees. A Carniolan hive if it has three frames of bees right now should be ok.
 If the cluster of bees is two frames of bees or less, consider it dead and get a package to replace it. If you have a five frame nuc box you could put the weak hive in there and let it build up and add it to a hive later in the season.
Pollen patties can go on in about two weeks.