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Author Topic: Should I leave honey supers on my hives throughout the winter?  (Read 2240 times)

Offline fern

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Should I leave honey supers on my hives throughout the winter?
« on: October 20, 2007, 08:27:14 PM »
I'm a beginner at this and am just figuring it out as I go! I have two healthy hives and did not harvest honey this year. I do plan on it for next year though. My question is should I leave the honey supers on for the winter? One hive is just one deep and the other is two deep. I'm planning on wrapping both hives with tar paper as well.

Offline hooyaman

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Re: Should I leave honey supers on my hives throughout the winter?
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2007, 08:52:52 PM »
Fern, if you don't leave any honey supers, your bees will starve.  Also honey is what the bees use to keep the hive warm.  Its like fuel for them.  Here in Southeast Missouri the winters are mild, but I always give my bees 50 to 60 lbs of honey to last them through the winter.  I feed them one gal of syrup in the spring and 2 gal of syrup in the fall to keep them going. Up there where you live bees would use more honey, since the winter is more intense.  Maybe some other beekeepers on here that live in the north can tell you how much honey your bees will probably use.  The best of luck !!
                                                                                                                               

Offline Brian D. Bray

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Re: Should I leave honey supers on my hives throughout the winter?
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2007, 09:17:05 PM »
I'm a beginner at this and am just figuring it out as I go! I have two healthy hives and did not harvest honey this year. I do plan on it for next year though. My question is should I leave the honey supers on for the winter? One hive is just one deep and the other is two deep. I'm planning on wrapping both hives with tar paper as well.

If you have more than 2 deep boxes on, remove the excess. There isn't anyplace, that I know of, in the lower 48 that really needs more than the equivalent of 2 deep boxes full of stores to over winter. More than 2 boxes will create to much space for the bees to effectively heat and that will lead to heavy stores consumption which can result in hive loss due to starvation later in the winter.  If you have supers, especially supers the same size as your brood boxes, pull them, freeze the frames of honey and refeed back in January or February.  Be sure to thaw the frames completely before putting them in the hive.
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Should I leave honey supers on my hives throughout the winter?
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2007, 09:44:21 PM »
If the boxes are empty, bes sure to remove them.  If they are full, you can leave them if you like.  If you want to harvest them, just make sure there is enough weight in the rest of the boxes to get them through.  The hives should weigh about 150 lbs or so all total.
Michael Bush
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My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Offline budsbee

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Re: Should I leave honey supers on my hives throughout the winter?
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2007, 02:56:53 AM »
what if the honey is uncaped should i take the supers off and put them in the freezer. and feed it to them is the spring. thanks

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Should I leave honey supers on my hives throughout the winter?
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2007, 09:54:28 PM »
>what if the honey is uncaped

There's nothing wrong with leaving it if it's capped or uncapped.
Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen