If you’ve been keeping bees for a year now (or more) you might be wondering what you should be doing at this time of the year. Is it time to do a full hive inspection? Did any of my hives die? Depending on the weather where you are there will be different answers to what you should be doing right now.
If the weather in your area is still cold, windy and/or rainy it’s not time to do a full hive inspection. Just like you, bees would prefer the roof of their home wasn’t pulled off when it’s nasty outside! That said if you get a rare warm day in a string of cold ones you should feel free to peek into the hive to see how your girls are doing. Likely you’ll be feeding them sugar water (you probably have started this already) and might be getting a feel for a hive that is on its last leg or has already died completely.
If your weather is warmer it could be time to do a full hive inspection. Hopefully you’ve checked out our Basic Beekeeping Video as there’s too much to a hive inspection for us to talk you through it here. Remember though, you don’t want to do this if your nights are still very cold or if the weather is nasty on the day you’re planning on your inspection. Taking off the top lets out the heat and that’s not OK when the nights are still chilly.
If you are doing a full inspection this is a great time to make mental note of any equipment that might need to be replaced. Have a frame that seems to be falling apart or some other piece of the hive that isn’t looking great? Take notes so you can have these pieces ready for your next full inspection.
If you’ve had a hive die you’re probably figuring that out now. Our Beyond the Basics Video will help you do a hive autopsy. Not only will this teach you what you need to know about diseases (do I need to burn all of my equipment?) but it will also help you learn from any mistakes you might have made so you’ll be more successful next winter.
Did you lose any hives this year? Have you been able to peek into your hives? Let us know what’s going on in your bee yard by replying below!