- The hive has a young queen that has not been through a winter yet.
- Hopefully everyone has 9 full frames of honey in their top box for winter stores.
- A 1 " hole is drilled in the top box for winter exit.
- Entrance reducer in with wide opening facing up.
- The hives are protected from north and west, if this is a problem, hay bales can be stacked around 3 sides for a windbreak and a little more insulation.
- Right now if you opened up the hive and took off the inner cover there should be no bees there. They should be down in the lower box. Maybe you can barely see them way down below the top frames. If bees are clustered under the inner cover there is not enough honey in the hive and they will more than likely not make it through the winter.
Bees can take on any subzero weather in Jan usually without any difficulties.
The danger period for colony survival is Feb. The queen will start laying by then and several days subzero weather in Feb can kill any colony if they are not on a frame of honey when it hits. The unlucky hive will starve even if honey is a frame away.
A quick peek in the hive before this type of weather hits, a beekeeper can move a frame of honey next to the cluster and possibly prevent the starvation.
For now the bees will be on their own. Hopefully the work we did in the fall will get them to spring and some well deserved pollen patties.