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When to check on queen cage in cold weather


#1

Hi, thanks for the advice.

I live in MI, USA, we are currently in the 40s if we’re lucky most days, 20s overnight. I installed my 3lb package 3 days ago on a nice afternoon in the mid 40s. I checked through the window yesterday and saw bees having lunch under my slightly elevated top feeder. 2 questions:

-when should I check to see if queen was released? I’ve read 3 days (today) and I’ve read a week. today its supposed to make it to the low 40s in the afternoon. in a few days it might make it to 50. Should I care about temps or timing?

-how long will it take them to go through a gallon of 1:1 syrup? There isn’t much of anything to forage and apart from when it does warm up, they’re not really leaving the hive much anyway.

Thanks for any advice.


#3

Marcos,

I’d keep the visit inside very brief at the 40’s. If you go in and she’s laying brood this could chill any brood. I am guessing your bees are clustered still at that temp. Try to not pull the brood apart n keep the crownboard partly on … If it’s windy at all i’d personally wait. The workers are still able to care n feed her in the cage. 50’s are nice but I’ve had to go in when it’s cooler (40’s). But keep it very brief, just in n out !! Then button it up. Dee, Dawn or Villi will probably pick up on this post n comment too. Good luck on the temperature back there.

Gerald near Seattle.


#4

It will take you only a few seconds to see if she is out and to remove the introduction cage. No need to look to see if she’s started laying. Have a look in a couple of weeks weather depending and then only quickly.


#5

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#6

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#7

I think 3 days is good. If she is not released, then either release her by opening the little door on the cage, or carefully poke a hole in the candy so that the bees can chew through it faster. I would always choose a warm day if possible, but you need to make sure that the queen is out, whatever the temperature.

Only your bees know the answer to that. I have seen a gallon used in a couple of days sometimes, other times it hasn’t been used even after a couple of weeks.


#8

When faced with a similar question I ask myself, “If I open the hive and see something amiss, is there anything I can do about it on a day like today.” If the answer is no, I don’t open the hive.
I really hate it when myself asks me that.


#9

thanks everyone.

are they drawing much comb at all in this temp to worry if the cage is still in there unnecessarily and getting in the way of nice comb?


#10

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#11

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#12

i don’t have any willows on my property but yes I think they might be in bloom or very close to it. We’ve had enough warm days that a lot of buds are kinda partially open.


#13

So I wasn’t going to open the hive but when I checked on them today I noticed syrup dripping from the bottom board and was worried that I had drowned them all. Thankfully I hadn’t but there is a lot of errant syrup on the top board and bottom board. They were all clustered around the queen -I couldn’t see and didn’t try to find the cage. I really just wanted to make sure they weren’t all lying in a pool of syrup. There was still half a gallon left so I guess it didn’t all come out but I think the 1/8" holes I drilled based on a recommendation are a bit too large. I moved the paint can to the side on some blocks and not directly over the top feeder hole.

Thoughts? I’m gonna go back next week when it’s in the 50s and locate queen and refill the syrup.

Successful first lighting of my smoker! So there’s that. Of course I didn’t need it but…newbie.
M


#14

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#15

Peeking in the window I see the bees in the top cover hole, but no activity by the feeder. This worries me.

All 8 frames are in.

Bottom board is all the way up against the mesh if that’s what you mean.
M


#16

I presume you are calling the white plastic slider “bottom board”? If it is in the top slot, you have it perfectly placed for now. I wouldn’t worry about the lack of activity. If it is too cold for the bees to want to build wax, they won’t need much food either. :wink:


#17

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#18

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#19

A 6 watt terrarium heater. Is that something a beekeeper could use to over winter hives in cold climates, to ensure the colony survives the winter? How would it be cost wise?


#20

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#21

While we are talking of feeding syrup.
A good way of giving a colony a quick feed in an emergency is to fill one side of a frame with syrup and put it next to the bees.