Re: [TopHive] Re: northwest damp winter for top bars
- About the bees eating some weeks some not....
It might be that it was too cold for them to leave their cluster to get to.
In other words the food may have been to far away when it was colder that
they could function out of cluster.
There have been cases where there was plenty of food but the bees starved on
account it was too far for the cluster either to the sides or up or down.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Phil Chandler" <totnes@...>
Sent: Friday, March 07, 2008 11:02 AM
Subject: [TopHive] Re: northwest damp winter for top bars
>> The hole in the front of the hive is about an inch an a quarter
> around but now that you mention corks, there doesn't seem to be any
> harm in putting a few more in. That way we can have the spring honey
> rush without a traffic jam.
> Hi Jacqueline - I use three holes about an inch or so across, placed
> centrally, low down in the sides of my TBHs - see
> http://www.biobees.com/index.php?photos and they never seem to get too
> jammed up even in a full flow. Corks work well for closing one or two
> of them off in winter.
>> Soon as we have another cool damp day when they're not buzzing in
> and out so much we'll drill a few more holes (unless someone tells me
> why that's not a good idea).
> Suggest you use a brace and bit (don't know what you call them in the
> USA - maybe an auger? but hand powered, anyway) not a power drill -
> they definitely won't like that!
>> Being that they didn't seem to have much reserves, I supplemented
> with a spoonful of our hives' honey through the winter. Some weeks
> they ate it, sometimes they didn't get around to it, so I'm guessing
> they had enough.
> That's a good guide!
>> BTW, I was told by a gentleman at the USDA bee service that it is
>> important not to give honey from other areas to my bees because
> nearly all the honey the USDA bee dept. has tested has spore in it
> and that can be easily passed along to a healthy hive. Not that that
> would bother a human, but it's perilous for a hive to have spore
> introduced to them that way. I save honey from my bees just for that
> purpose -- to give back to them in winter if they need it without
> worrying about jeopardizing their health.
> That is good advice: never give your bees anything but their own
> honey. My habit nowadays is to take very little honey at the end of
> the season, leavin them plenty to overwinter, then take most of the
> rest in the spring when they no longer need it. That way I don't have
> to worry about them in winter.
>> To feed the rest of my TBs, I cut a 5" length of thin but firm
> plastic off something I used for cutting vegetables. I got a tiny
> saucer, filled it with honeycomb, then put it on the plastic and slid
> it inside the hive. I can easily pull it out to check and see if
> they're eating it or are out of it. If it's empty, I put more in.
> Sorry, I had to have a little chuckle of this! The thing is, if they
> are hungry and have no stores, the odd little saucer won't really cut
> it - they need honey by the pound - or several pounds.
> Good luck and enjoy your beekeeping - do drop in to our Top Bar Forum
> Phil Chandler
> The group archive and other pages can be accessed at
> Yahoo! Groups Links
- Wow. Thanks fellow beeks. I'll go get out my hand drill, Jim. And Phil,
I'll thank my lucky stars they had enough honey to get through winter
and next year fill a BOWL with honey if it's needed.
Any suggestions on how to add honey to a TBH that has a screened bottom?
I won't need to use more this year but will be helpful to know for when
I saw a bee today who had gigundo yellow leggings, full of pollen. I'm
guessing it's from the spruce trees around here. The rosemary plants are
full of blue flowers and I have even seen a few dandelions peeking out.
The trees are just starting to bud.
Friendly Haven Rise Farm
- I've observed that if I refrain from exhaling while looking up into
the bottom of my hives, the bees remain calm. I believe it's our
breath which alarms them.
--- In TopHive@yahoogroups.com, Jacqueline Freeman <thefreemans@...>
> One of my hives this year had a problem. In a fierce wind-rain
> the hive's top blew off and the insides got completely drenched. Myhive
> husband found the hive first thing in the morning and carried the
> down into our garage. They were soaked.had
> I knew if we didn't get them dry that they'd be dead in a day. We
> another hive body that we used as our spare swarm catcher so Idecided
> to move them into that. Normally I wouldn't disturb them in any wayand
> during winter but this was an emergency.
> I knew I couldn't just move the bars into a new enclosed hive body
> have them dry out enough. I figured if I did that, they'd just getmoldy
> and the bees would die from fungus. Since we switched to the topbar
> hives last year, I'd been watching all my hives and worrying thatthey
> were retaining too much moisture through winter. Out here inwestern
> Washington nearly every day is damp and it stays that way for halfthe year.
> I told my husband to pull the wood bottom off the new hive body. I
> to the fabric store and got some polyester mesh that has openingsmade
> smaller than bees. I wanted the mesh to provide air circulation to
> reduce dampness accumulating.
> When I had langstroth hives I used a French Bottom Board that was
> of narrow plastic tubes that let mites slip through the spacesbetween
> the tubes so they fell out of the hive. The tubes were spaced closecould
> enough together that bees couldn't fall through or other predators
> get in and it worked quite well.fall
> I am thinking the mesh might do something similar, let any mites
> out of the hive. And it provides good air circulation to protectagainst
> moisture buildup. While it gets cold here and sometimes evenfreezes,
> dampness is more of a problem than cold.quite
> This all happened about two months ago and they seem to be doing
> well. One problem we had was that there is no "front porch" forthem to
> land on since we took off the whole bottom when we replaced it withthe
> mesh. Instead we drilled a bee entrance hole midway up the front of
> hive body. On warm spring days I'm seeing them go in and out ofthis
> pretty easily.have
> Although I haven't disturbed the hive by opening the top to look, I
> stuck my head under the hive and had a peek at them. They seem tobe
> doing quite well, although seeing my head underneath seemed toupset
> them (immediate magnified HUM) so next time I check from the bottomwith
> a hand mirror.bottoms?
> Has anyone else been using mesh or anything more open on their
> For the weather in our area with the constant dampness, I can seethis
> is an accommodation that's probably more useful here than mostother
> areas. And how about the single hole in the front? Once we get intofull
> spring, I'm thinking I maybe ought to put in another hole toaccount for
> more traffic. Is that a good idea?
> Friendly Haven Rise Farm
- Bees will zero in on the carbon dioxide you emmit when exhaling that is
why so many are stung in and around the face. They don't like bad