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How cold is too cold to open hive


#1

Hello, I’m a new beekeeper in the Kansas City area with two new hives, installed five days ago. For the next week, our temperatures are going to be in the low to mid 40s at night and low to mid 60s during the day. Although it’s hard to tell because the bees are all clustered together, I have reason to suspect cross-combing. But I’m afraid to open up the hive when it’s this cold, knowing how hard they work to keep it warm. So I"m wondering: at what temperature is it okay to open up the hive and do an inspection? If straightening comb is involved, it could take awhile. Does anyone know how long it takes them to build their heat back up if I were to open it, say, at 64 degrees?

Thanks!


#2

A general rule is 55F+ is safe to open hives. I usually like to open between 55-75F. Cooler or hotter makes me a little wary.

It’s unlikely they are cross-combed yet, unless you hung the queen cage from the bars. If so, then they usually attach the first comb to the bar with the queen cage and there’s a chance it will be crooked. You should be safe to pop in there, make sure the last comb (the comb closest to the empty end) is straight. If so, the other combs should be straight. If the last comb is crooked, it probably went wrong before that.

Best,

Matt


#3

Thanks, Matt. I will look in tomorrow to see what I can see. I direct-released the queens on your advice, but in one I was not really sure there was a queen (three bees in the cage, one dead and curled, and none really looked like a queen to me - maybe the dead one was a queen?). THat hive is clustering near the follower board where I had put the syrup feeder. They started building comb on the feeder, so I removed it and replaced with fondant but they’re still clustered in that area and there is some comb and bits of wax clinging to the window. I am really curious to see what they’re up to.

Thanks for the advice!

~Anne