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Been offered a hive to night at the Christmas fayre


I was offered a hive to night at the Christmas fayre and selling my goodies.

Owner has ended up in hospital from bee stings and has to give up after 3 years.

I want to go inspect them before I bring them to my place; apart from the usual checks, varroa, treatments, and other hive checks, brood, queen right, food for winter, I’m concerned the weather at the moment is a little cold and wet.

Any suggestions from beeks in colder climates apart from get in and out quick, on a mild day; ie how can I tell if it s the winter cluster a good size and how many bees should be in a typical wintering hive.

It’s in a national - I have some national kit, I was wondering if I should split it into a double Poly nuc to keep better over winter?

Any thoughts?


There is also an opportunity to do some school visits came out of tonight and a ladies pamper night for my products - lots of peeps interested in the flow Hive I had on display


Spring is the time to be doing all the stuff you mention.
I wouldn’t be opening any hive up now.
The bees are in winter mode now with all crevices propolised up. The last thing you should be doing is cracking the crown board and as for splitting them…don’t. You will stress the queen-less half immeasurably and there will be no bees in it come spring inspection.
Can’t they keep the colony for you till spring? Have you a friend that can bee sit in their garden till next year.
You can’t do anything about the winter cluster size now. Make sure their is plenty of insulation on the crown board, pop some insulated fondant on and treat with Oxalic after Christmas, dribble if you must but a vape is better.
Good luck
Oh and by the way, the Winter sales are the time to make sure you have double the kit you are actually using at present to do all those artificial swarms that are heading your way next May.

PS what pamper products are you doing?
I looked into that as I have soooo much wax but the legal loopholes were astounding.


Legal loop holes - as far as I’m aware selling at craft fayres is different - put me in the right direction.

The bees are owned by a chap who’s wife had the stall next to me - may get some school work out of it going into schools and talking about bees which is one project I was wanting to do…

I have 6 nuc boxes prep’ed for the spring with wax starter strips. Got all the frames at the honey show enough to do either Lang or National and with the clever little piece of cardboard they can be either.

Also people I knew from when my lad went to school there remember me and will send any bees swarms my way. - didn’t sell much but the getting my name out there and contacts was worth it.


Was not going to make 1/2 queen less just thinking of putting all the 11/12 National frames in an insulated poly nuc to keep warmer and would be double height to accommodate the number of frames - no QX

Sorry if that was confusing -

I was thinking of asking him to keep them at his place until Feb/March and wait for a warmer day - if he stays away from them he should be OK. Need to go and see the set up.

Also would want to vap at Christmas (from underneath) - I have a blow torch and kit I made for doing that with so long as he has a SBB


That would work but you’d still have to open the hive.
Just wrap the hive up and put some Kingspan on the crown board.
Some people are having a quick look at their bees end March so as long as it’s warm enough…15˚

As far as selling cosmetics (anything like skin cream, soap and lip balm) you still need to abide by the regulations regardless of where you sell.
Candles just need a safety label…all candle making suppliers sell them
Her’s a link to start

With swarms, don’t put them straight in your Apiary. You need somewhere to quarantine them for a few weeks.

Hope this helps