Last weekend we managed to check on all four hives and place some sugar on top of the clustering bees. Each were busy and we had a quick look before closing up. Altogether the top was open for about 20 seconds. One hive did have some condensation under the top cover so we left some additional holes around the tar paper to help reduce this. Come spring we will be checking further for nosema but we are very happy considering this has been the coldest winter in 115 years for our region.
We also managed a temperature reading of one hive before opening. The outside reading as shown was 24 F (-5 Celcius) and the inside shows 80 F (+26 Celcius). Overall the old idea of using tar paper for wind protection and heat build up during sunny days seems to be working.
Photo credits: N.Paul