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Author Topic: Warming up hives  (Read 1214 times)
afretired
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« on: November 20, 2007, 02:26:54 PM »

Two of my hives have not been doing very good.  I requeened them late in the year and they never really got over the hump.  While doing my routine PMIs on the hives I noticed one had some minor problems with  wax moths in three of the frames.  So I pulled out the contaminated  frames before the moths spread to the others and also had some problems with ants.  Well I got passed the troubles but the colonies just didn't have enough mass to make through the winter.  One in fact just kept getting a little smaller as time went on.   This one in particular was down to a double fist size cluster. I have a hive top feeder in the hive but each time I checked, the bees just stayed clustered on the frames, and didn't seem to eat. And there was no activity out of the hive. Well, with the cold weather, things was looking bad, so I had to do something.  A buddy had several old waterbed heaters he didn't need so I moved the hives up to my maintenance shed where I could keep them in the dry and also where I have electric current. I then folded up the water bed heaters where they would fit in the hives, and placed the thermostat down between the frames and plugged them in and set the control to 85 degrees. The very next day it looked like spring time around the hives, there were bees flying in and out, working up a storm. I took the lid off for just a quick peek and bees were crawling all around the hive. I don't know if it will save the colonies or not, but right now things are looking up.

Dave
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JP
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« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2007, 02:48:19 PM »

That was a great idea Dave. When the numbers have dwindled in a hive it creates extra space that can be really bad because of draft problems etc... You might consider putting the bees in a nuc to help them be more contained and this will also help them keep warmer since their numbers are down. Good luck.
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Ken
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« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2007, 05:23:29 PM »

If you only have a small amount6y of bees you may want to reduce the empty space in the hive or move them into a nuc box.
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Old Timer
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« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2007, 06:17:03 PM »

It is a good idea but I would not recommend it. After you put them in a smaller box that they can protect from wax moths easier, take out the heater and put an entrance reducer in the entrance. The extra heat that you are giving them will cause them to eat more stores than they normally would. They don't need the heater and combined with feeding may cause them to start laying brood. You don't want them laying a bunch of brood right now, it takes too much pollen and nectar/honey to raise brood that they will need this spring for building up. You want them to cluster when it's cold and you don't want them to be so active and using up all their stores. You can always overwinter them on top of another hive for some radiant heat.

It sounds like they were doing what they are supposed to do when it's cold before you messed with them, other than not keeping the moths out. They are supposed to cluster and eat very little. If using heaters were beneficial don't you think all the bee supply companies would be selling them?
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JP
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« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2007, 10:50:42 PM »

Oldtimer I see your point but Dave mentioned that the bees were hit hard by waxmoths, well he said minor but I think the moths did more than supposed because the lack of numbers, so it seems building their numbers, and feeding them might be a good thing to do to keep this hive alive, and the heat can only help give them a boost. Just my .02. Dave, do you have a queen in this hive? I know you said you requeened but have you seen her recently?
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Finsky
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« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2007, 11:23:54 PM »


I  had  same situation. Varroa had weaken the colony and it is now two fist.
It did not took winter food.

What I did:

1) I restricted the hive to 3 frames.
2) Those food frames I took from other hives, which have plenty.

I have no trouble about wax moths. but if you have too much space for bees, in peripheria frames suck moisture and they start to ferment.

To heat over all that size of hive is a risk.

I heat with 3 W heater and I take it to dark firewood shelter.
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afretired
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« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2007, 09:23:22 AM »

I requeened these hives at the end of August, and at that time I restricted the entrance down to about 1/2 inch.  The new queens I received from Dan Purvis took right to the hive and started laying real good.  Then the trouble with the ants and moths set in and the hive just wasn't strong enough to combat the trouble. To top it off we have had an extreemly dry summer and there was  not much of a fall flow for the bees to work.  As a result of this I had no choice but to feed them through the winter since the stores were so low. Since I am going to have to feed them, wouldn't it be better to build their numbers up to a sustainable level if possible?

Dave
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Finsky
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« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2007, 09:56:52 AM »

Since I am going to have to feed them, wouldn't it be better to build their numbers up to a sustainable level if possible?

Dave


If you have brood in other hives, take capped brood frames and aid with them those tiny colonies.

.
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JP
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« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2007, 11:22:50 AM »

Dave, if they have a queen, and you need to check, the bees will have more drive and determination to go forward with things. Without a queen they get sluggish and hopeless. I know I'm referring to them like people, but its true. I would: check for queen, feed, and like Finsky says if you can add brood to bolster numbers, I would. Build this hive up as strong as you can to give them a chance once winter sets in for good.
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"Good friends are as sweet as honey" Winne the Pooh

My pictures can be viewed at http://picasaweb.google.com/pyxicephalus
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My Youtube videos can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=JPthebeeman&aq=f

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