Late February hive check

We checked the Clermont hives yesterday and installed the new stand for spring nuc production. There was little to no wind, clear sunny skies, bees flying and the temperature was adequate for a quick brood check.

We found brood in 10 of the 11 hives so the current Clermont loss rate is 9%. The process was to remove the top super and check a middle frame in the center of the second super from the top. Although the day was warm, the brood was not exposed for very long. We worked quickly. We did not confirm the pattern or density nor looked for all the stages; we just verified that there was capped brood.

The BroodMinder equipped hive has been showing middle-of-the-hive temperature in the high 80s F providing data as evidence that there was brood. We found brood in the super above the sensor which is located between the 2nd and 3rd super of the four-super hive. The top sensor is reporting above outside ambient temperature but much lower than brood area temperature. Humidity was higher than normal so the top cover was lifted a very small amount.

The hive with no brood had a few bees, who were likely robbing the capped honey that was still in the hive. The bottom board had a layer of dead bees on it. Since the other hives had at least one frame of brood and the dead hive had no brood and dead bees on the bottom board, our best guess is queen failure. The mite drop board did not reveal a mite issue and there was no indication of deformed wing.

Hives were fed syrup, although there is plenty of a capped food in most hives. Two-frame internal feeders are the feeding option for now. The protein feeder was replenished as it was empty. The bees are using about a cup every two weeks.

All indicators point to reasonable Clermont hive conditions for late February. I hope your bees are doing well.

2 thoughts on “Late February hive check

    • I make my own protein feeders using a 12″ piece of schedule 20 drain pipe. On one end is a solid end cap. The other end is a down spout adapter fitted with 1/2″ hardware cloth to keep out mice and other critters. The pipe and fittings are available at most big box hardware stores.

      I just drop a couple of scoops of protein into the open end and shake it flat. I put the feeder in the yard somewhere convenient for me and place a few bricks around it to keep it steady. Cheap, easy to clean and works very well for me. Hope this helps. Happy beekeeping!

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