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Author Topic: Honey for winter?  (Read 2492 times)
Queen Bee
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Location: NC


« on: September 05, 2004, 01:14:54 PM »

The middle of Aug. I robbed the hives, took of all the supers and left two hive bodies (both full of either honey or brood/eggs) and treated for the first time ( I have varroa mites)... I used the menthol towels. Well, it has rained every day since then--any where from a drizzle to inches per day. Yesterday was perfect and time to inspect hives--clean out/ off bottom boards and retreat. When I entered them I was amazed at the lack of honey/pollen in the brood box! Had lots of eggs, brood, larva and bees garlore.

Will they have time to fill the frames back up or should I think about feeding them? We have about 3 arces of buckwheat, clover and there are many fall /last summer plants in full bloom.
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Anonymous
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« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2004, 10:17:27 PM »

Queen Bee,

Since I live in Southwestern Pennsylvania I can't give you a definitive answer to the specific circumstances in your area, however, I believe I can give you some hope.

Two of my hives (one from a nuc and one from a swarm, both of them from late July) have just finished filling their bottom hive bodies and just started drawing comb in the top hive bodies. Since they have the rest of September and possibly the first week or so of October to prepare for winter, I fully expect them to finish drawing the comb in the top hive body and store enough supplies in them to make it through our more severe winter here.

Our goldenrod and aster have just started to bloom and the bees are busting butt bringing in nectar and pollen. I would expect that in your slightly milder climate that your bees should be able to fly well into October to bring in stores for the winter. Besides that I would expect that your bees would require less than the 80 - 90 lbs of honey that our bees typically need to make it through one of our winters up here.

Since you say that you have a couple of hive bodies full of brood and bees It doesn't appear that your queen has gone into winter mode yet and has cut back on her egg laying to the point that it is time to start worrying yet.

Look into the bees in a couple of weeks and see if they haven't started laying up stores for the winter. If they haven't done so by the third week of September then it would be time to consider feeding them a 2:1 syrup to help them prepare for winter.

Hope this helps.

P.S. I typically leave my supers on until the end of September or the first week of October to take advantage of our fall flow. I only have two hives that I over wintered from last year and I expect to get at least another 40 -50 lbs of honey from each of them yet. So far this year I've gotten a little over 180 lbs from the two of them.
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Queen Bee
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Location: NC


« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2004, 05:00:14 PM »

Thanks! I have 13 hives and didn't want to start feed them!

Debbie
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Bee Boy
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Location: Illinois


« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2004, 09:19:44 PM »

Ok I know that the amount to over winter varies from place to place but could anybody give me a approximation of how much honey my girls will need to make it through the winter? I live in northern Illinois, and they have one deep jammed packed with honey, is this enough? Or do they need more? Thanks ya'll!
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Bee Boy
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« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2004, 09:07:36 PM »

BeeBoy,

It appears from your location description that you are either in zone 4 or 5 of the USDA plant hardiness map. Based on this my thoughts would be that you may need a little more stores for your bees to winter on than the 80 -90 lbs that I normally winter mine on.

I would recommend that you have around 12 full deep frames of stores for your bees. If you live in an area where there is a lot of goldenrod and aster in the fall you should keep in mind that the honey from these two sources tends to crystalize fairly rapidly and your bees may not be able to use it until early spring when they can obtain water to mix with it to reliqiufy it. Therefore, I would suggest that you feed them a gallon or so of sugar syrup to top off their stores. The sugar syrup shouldn't crystalize for 6 months or so and should be available for the bees during the winter.
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Bee Boy
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Location: Illinois


« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2004, 09:09:00 PM »

So should I leave the super they are filling on for them too?
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Bee Boy
Anonymous
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« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2004, 06:47:26 PM »

If you have just one deep hive body (approximately 60 - 70 lbs of honey) for your bees then I would recommend leaving one full super (approximately 25 -30 lbs of honey) on the hive for the winter. Even so, you will have to watch them closely in the early spring to make sure that they don't run out of stores once they start raising brood. It may be necessary to feed them some syrup early in the spring to prevent them from starving at that point.
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Bee Boy
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Location: Illinois


« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2004, 07:00:46 PM »

man I was hoping to get some honey.....
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Bee Boy
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« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2004, 07:08:41 PM »

Bee Boy,

You can harvest some of the honey as long as you feed the bees some syrup after you harvest it and before the bees prepare for winter. If you take the honey off before the daytime temperatures drop down into the mid 60's you will still have time for them to store a 2:1 syrup for winter. In your area I would guesstimate that to be about the end of this month, no later.
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