Winter cluster

By | January 27, 2013

Although you shouldn’t need to look into your hive over winter, and due to cold / wet / wind its inadvisable, you can do very quick focused checks on a warmish, clear, still and dry day.

Saturday was just that day, and I wanted to put my mind at rest by actually seeing the bees. I opened the hive, and only got a few minutes before a dozen or so assertively started¬†asking me to ‘PLEASE CLOSE THE DOOR!’

I was relieved to find them active, with plenty of stores, and clustered in the middle of the hive, as my previous symptom checks suggested.

The tightly clustered winter colony.

The tightly clustered winter colony.

I didn’t bother to check through any of the center cells for brood, nor verify the existence of the queen. I’m happy to let that wait until things warm up more, as a long thorough colony check could harm the colony through breaking up the cluster, and letting too much warmth out / too much cold in.

Had I been a little more organised, this would have been an ideal time to administer an Oxalic Acid treatment, for varroa mite management. However I’m hopeful that my previous symptom checks indicate I don’t have a large varroa infestation, and missing an oxalic acid treatment won’t have too much impact.

In short, I’m feeling pretty confident to get through my first winter!*

*Only then, will I consider myself a real beek.


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