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Opening up and checking Hives in Colder Months


As a new beekeeper, Just asking how often should I check the hives in the colder months?
I have 5 hives now, all in brood boxes, no supers until spring.
I like to check every few weeks depending on the weather.
My location is Mount Tamborine, so it can get quite a lot colder than the rest of SE Queensland.


Hi Jasper, how cold does it get? I would think that you could avoid the cooler days when inspecting. I have to open my hives in spring to do the usual brood checks and swarm prevention even though it is well below 20. If I don’t, I couldn’t inspect during most of spring which is the most important time for swarm mitigation.


I do my hive inspection every 7 to 10 days but when it is less than 22c I hold off till a warmer day and less breeze. In 3 weeks a lot can happen, especially in the Spring when you would have swarming and not know about it till after the event.


Over winter try hefting the hive to check for stores. If they are low just open the top long enough to put a feeder in. Try doing this in the warm part of the day and work quickly but smoothly. Close the hive as soon as you finish.



Our bees close up shop for winter so I leave my hives alone from October to April


Hi Dan,
The minimum is about 8 or 9 degrees, from June to August.
Most months are in the early 20 degrees.
So very comfortable weather.
Just the same, I would rather not stress the bees, hence the question about Winter inspection regime.


In which area are your hives?


Hi Jasper, yes I looked up the weather stats for Fern Street, Mt Tamborine and yes, it looks very nice. As you say, there are usually some days in winter each month that are over 20 c so that is great. I reckon the bees will like it there.


Hi have some tips for you. Face your entrance away from cold W-SW winds. Reduce the entrance. Only inspect during warm weather & try not to open the brood up.

Don’t be honey conscious during spring. Be swarm prevention minded. You will still get honey, as I do while swarm preventing.

A strong colony can start preparing to swarm a mere 4 weeks after the shortest day up here in Buderim.


All my hives are facing NNE.
As an ex ocean going boater, I was alerted to the best aspect for the entrance.
The swarm prevention will be a new challenge.
I may well be asking about this subject when Spring starts.
Luckily, a few weeks ago, I was asked to remove a swarm that had caused the residents of the area quite a lot of concern.
At first I thought it was going to be a hard job, but I fluked when I found the queen and managed to get her into the container for removal. The rest of the swarm were coaxed into the same container. Drove back to the mountain with a few dozen stragglers flying around inside the car…


Northern hemisphere. Uk it says in my avatar