2012 08 04 Winter checkup

Hey, it's been a while, late last season I dropped my camera (if you ever try to take photos inside a hive, use a cheap camera, as the buildup of wax, honey, propolis  on the  thing is a bit scary. Also, don't rest your camera on the top box and start work....it makes a bad noise when it hits the ground...) and while there were a few bee checks late last season, nothing particularly interesting....

Normally, you wouldn't open a hive in winter, just let them be, the inside of the brood box is kept at around 31degrees by the girls all year round, the grubs are vulnerable to cold temperatures. Recommended minimum of 18 before you think about opening it up.

So, it's the last month of winter,I've been hoping to peek into the boxes for a while..... Clear-ish cool-ish day, forecast top of 16C, still, and the sun feels warm....I put a thermometer out in the sun, 25 degrees...time to have a look. Hell, this ain't no European winter, where they are snowed in for months on end....

Long shadows for mid-day...

That's Metropolis on the left, Other on the right. 
I had left the queen excluders in both of them, though I was taught you should take them out over winter, so that they can gravitate up if they want to, and the QX wont hinder them. I just left it too late last autumn, suddenly it was too cold to open up and take them out, so I left them as they were.

Metropolis is busy, much gathering going on while the sun shines. Pollen for the babies.

Under the lid, water poured off the underside, massive condensation in there.
Mould under the lid, and all over the place. Oops.

The hive mat protected the middle of the box, but the top edges were sodden, and a couple of the frame lug-end things were soggy-rotten.

First frame I pulled out, plenty of honey, but all the edges covered in mould.

One of the frames from the middle, looking a lot better, but still damaged.
The bees were very passive today, unexpectedly.

A closer look..

I put an extra box of prepared frames on top (3 now), and put some wedges under the lid, to help it breathe.
I was thinking about shifting things around in there, taking a couple of frames up, but I figure I'd soon  need to get in there and replace those damaged frames, for now just try to get it dry in there. Also, I wanted to just close it up quickly, a bit rude, considering. I also put a bit of corrugated iron over the whole thing, when I was finished, to keep direct rain off it. Hope it dries out. Not sure if the bees will sort out the mould. I guess we'll see.
Over at Other, things were a lot better, there had been little evidence of traffic out of this one, but I figured they were a different type of bee, and they were just kicking back, waiting for spring proper. Canasta. Jigsaws.

No condensation issues here.

The top box (of 3) was completely empty, and very few bees to be seen.
Saw some white powdery colour on just one frame, in a corner, didn't look too serious.

In the middle box, plenty of honey. 

A freeloader. I guess the bees have trouble defending against these cockroaches. Second time I've seen one in a hive.

Lots of honey. Probably 3 or 4 frames I could have grabbed right then, and the other 4 were close. Weird that they had not even started to fill the upper box. Conserving heat? If the third box wasn't there, I think they'd be crowded, in terms of honey storage. With spring coming, they'll need more space, so I leave the top box on, but swap a few frames around to encourage them up.

I closed it down, I didn't go into either of the brood boxes, didn't want to chance my luck any further.

++++++++++++++ ooooooooooooo ++++++++++++++
Last Year:
Jonas : 30 
Adrian : 1
Edis : 6
Jazmina : 3

This Year:
++++++++++++++ ooooooooooooo ++++++++++++++

2010/11: 34 litres
20011/12: 49 Litres so far.
2012/2013: 0 Litres

Resuming transmission

Here's a collection of photos from the last few bee checks at the end of  last season....

Metropolis and Other

hologram? 3d?
no, this is what your camera does after you drop it on concrete....

Metropolis and Other



We were hoping that this one would be full of honey, and were ready for a harvest, but while there was a lot of honey there, not enough.

 this was the fullest frame we found

 plenty of brood