Yes its true, its time to inspect, do mite counts and decide if you need to treat.
A few Beekeeper friends told me about their Bees being grumpy – normally nice Bees – suddenly feisty~!
Recommendation is to add a water source right near your hives.
We use light blue trays – Bees love blue – we add some sticks and stones…oh and water.
We also have another tray which has accumulated earth, leaf-litter and debris from falling trees, the girls really love this tray – my thoughts are that its because it has some minerals which the Bees can use to keep healthy. We left a mineral block out for Louise (our angora goat) who didn’t even look twice at it…but the Bees, after a rain shower, I noticed they were all-over it…and this continued even after the rain….who’dda thought ay?!
We use meshboards on most of our hives to prevent this occurrin’. Meshboards provide air which the Bees can circulate (hot and cold) in and out to create good ventilation, and ‘no’ the meshboard does not mean your Bees will get cold, even if you leave it on all year round.
Our kiwimana Meshboard has an inspection tray which can be easily slotted-in, if you feel its too wet or too cold for the colony.
Recommendation: Meshboards can be left ‘open’ all year round.
There is always the weather-affect. Bees are so in-tune with the weather and know when storms are coming, so if you suspect a storm is on its way, avoid an inspection that will create a fear within the colony as rain is a killer of Bees.
Bees can become ‘grumpy’ if they are not inspected regularly – through Summer – go into the hives fortnightly, move capped or nearly capped honey frames up and add new frames so there is plenty of room.
Over-Smoking; an older Beekeeper said that the Bees can sometimes react to ‘over-smoking’, he says ‘…smoking the Bees should be a gentle one or two puffs to start and leave them for a couple of minutes, then open the hive. Only puffing over the frames every now and again…’
Handy hint; when opening up the hive, take lid off BUT LEAVE the hive-mat on, place lid upside down on the ground and then re-stack hive going down to the first box and start your inspection there.
Inspect from the rear or side of the hive, keep their entrance clear, don’t obstruct with hive gear and beekeeping equipment, keep out of their flight-path while working the hive.
WORST CASE SCENARIO
Gotta love Bees – they keep us constantly challenged and are always one step ahead of us!
Happy January 2014…