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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Friday, January 25, 2013

Two Beekeepers with a Facebook exchange about thermometers in the hive

  •  I had installed a thermometer with a removable probe in my hives. I checked the temps yesterday when it was zero degrees outside -- it was 87.6 degrees where the probe was inside the hive. The cluster must have been nearby. It just amazes me how warm their clusters are!

  •  Dawn, where did you get the thermometer and how did you place it in the hive? Sounds like something I'd like to give a try. Thx, Di
     Diana, I picked up indoor-outdoor thermometers with removable probes at Menards (less than $10 each). I drilled a small hole in the center of the moisture board, inserted the probe, and plugged the hole shut with the probe inside. I ran the plug end of the probe out through the slightly propped telescoping cover just far enough so I can plug in the brains of the unit when I want to take a reading. I covered the plug end with plastic when not in use so I don't have to de-ice it before using. Seems to work well for now. Once we get the next thaw, I plan to check honey stores and check/adjust the probe location in the hive. Let me know if you have other questions about it.

  •  I was using the thermometers to help me determine whether I still had two colonies wintering over. When I took the initial reading it was 0 degrees outside: the Carniolans were at 87.6 (yeah!), but the MN Hygienics were only 12 degrees. While I'd like to believe that the one probe wasn't anywhere near the cluster, I've been suspicious that my Hygienics weren't doing well this winter. I haven't seen them near entrances, haven't seen dead bees or debris in too long, and their moisture board has looked dry for a while. In contrast, I often see the Carnis' guard bees near the upper entrance, an occasional dead bee on the hive stand, and evidence of moisture exiting the hive. Hopefully we'll get a warm day here soon so I can inspect the hives.