Bee colonies are affected by smoke, heat and cold

Did you know that honey bees can suffer heat, cold and smoke stress?

In a difficult environment, colonies can take a long period to recover. Sadly, often they do not recover, and some may die.

If your bee colonies have been affected by prolonged heat or a bushfire, thoroughly inspect each beehive as soon as possible to minimise any losses.

Managing a smoke heat and cold affected apiary
  • Replace damaged hive components
  • Clean up melted wax and honey to avoid the spread of diseases
  • Merge disease-free weak colonies to boost resistance and recovery
  • Reduce the hive entrance to minimise the spread and risk of development of disease and pest infestation
  • Consider re-queening your hive
  • If you notice a sharp decline in the number of workers in a short period, manipulate your hive size to ensure the colony is large enough to maintain the beehive
  • Especially in winter monitor honey and pollen stores to prevent starvation
  • In summer hot weather protect beehives from extreme heat by providing shade
  • In winter good weather conditions and warm weather are not enough for bees to grow honey stores
Tips to maintain the health and welfare of honey bees

To maintain the health and welfare of a bee colony, observe the activities in front and inside of the hive. If the colony is not active, there could be many reasons. Most of the time, it is fairly easy to troubleshoot before it is too late.

  • If the colony is not active check if there are enough food stores
  • Are there enough bees to maintain a beehive
  • Have you noticed ants moving uninterrupted into a hive? That could be a sign of a collapsed colony
  • Is the queen bee laying eggs and what is the laying pattern
  • Investigate and remove the debris at the bottom board
  • On vented bottom boards regularly monitor activity. Use diatomaceous earth or olive oil (depending on your bottom board configuration) to help protect and deter both hive beetles, moths and the development of other hive pests.
  • If possible use a vented bottom board instead of a non-vented one. Helps air circulation and reduces a bee’s effort to cool down the hive in summer
  • In my personal opinion keep the entrance reduced most of the time (3-5 cm) to reduce intrusion and infestation with pests
  • Protect your hive with a tiny container filled with oil to trap Small Hive Beetles (SHB) and thereby protect healthy honeybee colonies

How much water does a bee need?

Provide a plentiful water supply for your bees. By some sources, a hive can use between 1 to 4 litres of water per day during hot weather—place water in your backyard near the hive.

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