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The weather in Ontario has been so beautiful this week that I was finally able to do a full bottom-to-top inspection of this hive.

When I first opened the inner cover, the bees were everywhere! They weren’t aggressive, but they had no idea what was happening. After a few minutes, they calmed down and got back to work within the hive.

The bottom board was covered with many dead bees from the winter and I believe they may have still been blocking the bottom entrance, so I brushed them all out and removed the entrance reducer that I previously had in place for the winter. I also removed 4 frames from the bottom box, as it contained old, dark comb. I replaced these 4 frames with new foundationless frames.

Working my way back up the boxes and frames, I finally spotted some brand new eggs. It was a great feeling to see tiny eggs after the winter, and to me, this has indicated that I can finally call this a successful over-winter. Better yet, on my 2nd-last frame, I found the Queen herself! She was just trucking along – doing her thing.

I’m very pleased to see such dedicated workers and a strong healthy queen after the winter. It definitely left me with a good feeling after the long, cold winter.


A short video to show you an update on my bees. Yesterday was the first day that it was actually warm enough to inspect the hive, but when I got to the bee yard, it was too windy to do a thorough inspection. Nevertheless, the bees were out in full effect. This hive didn’t seem to have many foragers coming in, but many bees were circling the air in front of the hive. I believe they were doing orientation flights, as these may be new bees for 2013. (Fingers crossed).

I still won’t consider this a successful overwinter, until I’ve seen new brood with my own eyes. Can’t wait to get inside this hive.

I am giving away the following items:

  • One size Large ventilated bee jacket
  • One Dadant 4×7 smoker with screen
  • One 10″ hive tool

Visit my contests page for more details and to enter now.

The weather this past weekend was beautiful and I decided to check my hive. The temperature was supposedly around 10 degrees Celsius, but it felt a bit cooler than that. To play it safe, we did not open the hive more than just the outer (AKA telescoping) cover.

The good news is that as of March 30, 2013, I still have bees! (Although I don’t want to speak too soon.) I won’t yet consider this a successful “overwinter” until there is lots of forage available and I’ve seen the next generation of worker born and working.

The bees are still clustered at the top of the hive, and those that are making cleansing flights are doing so from the ventilation that I added in the fall, instead of the lower entrance. I guess that’s OK. I’m willing to bet they’ll return to the proper entrance once things pick up in a few weeks.

Back in the fall, I was interviewed by a group of four 4th-year Systems Design Engineering students from the University of Waterloo. They have spent the last several months researching beekeepers and the problems that they encounter in the apiary.

I went to their final presentation to see what they had come up with. The students designed an innovative system referred to as the Beekeeper Effort Enhancement System (B.E.E.S.) that involves cameras, weight sensors and a unique horizontal layout system using Langstroth hive bodies. Here is a quick interview showing what they created.


Update April 8, 2013:

The team from UW sent me their large poster from the display which I have linked to below. Click the image for the large size.

BEES UW poster