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Author Topic: Beekeeping Beginners Course Awesome, and could use . . .  (Read 1995 times)
thomashton
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« on: October 30, 2004, 01:56:03 AM »

A section on wintering.

Of course I'm new and have been reading everything here as well as other sites, but I would love to see in the course here a section on wintering. I know how busy the Beemaster is, but he has made things very understandable and I'm just getting bits and pieces about wintering on the forum.

Thanks for responses oor whatever can be offered.
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After 18 months of reading and preparation, my girls finally arrived on April 11th (2006)!
golfpsycho
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« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2004, 02:27:35 AM »

Overwintering your bees is a very climate specific excersize.  In the Salt Lake Valley, they recommend 70lbs of stores to get them through.  Some of the other members have mentioned numbers upwards of 120 lbs, while Beth, and some of the others down in the bannana belt seem to get by with about 30 lbs.  Finman leaves about 10 lbs of honey, and feeds about 50 lbs of sugar, so you can see it is very climate dependent, and also dependent on management style.  Some bees, like Carnolians are claimed to use much less stores in their winter cluster, while banded Italians keep raising brood much later in the season.  It is a learning experience to say the least.

I would recommend you also search and read George Imries pink pages.  He gives a timeline for colony management, although it is specific for his region, he has some very definite management techniques to maximize yield and health of your colonies.
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Finman
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« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2004, 04:49:40 AM »

Quote from: golfpsycho
Some of the other members have mentioned numbers upwards of 120 lbs, while Beth, and some of the others down in the bannana belt seem to get by with about 30 lbs.  Finman leaves about 10 lbs of honey, and feeds about 50 lbs of sugar, so you can see it is very climate dependent, .


When I used 3 cm thick timber wall in my hives, without insulation, winter food consumption was 50% more than now in polyeteen boxes.

In Finland winter food must be in hives 9 moths, and somewhere bees  get food half a year.
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thomashton
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« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2004, 08:43:06 AM »

Thanks guys. I was also looking for info on things like:

Do you insulate the hive? If so with what?
Do you keep the bees trapped inside the hive during the winter, or do they come and go?
I read a little about putting menthol in at wintertime. Is this to keep out disease/parasites?

General wintering info like that. Thanks.
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After 18 months of reading and preparation, my girls finally arrived on April 11th (2006)!
Anonymous
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« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2004, 10:22:56 AM »

Insulation is one of those things that are location specific. Here in Southwestern Pa. nobody that I know of uses it. The coldest temps. we ever get is probably about -10F.

You don't keep the bees trapped in the hive during the winter. A bee can contain up to about 40% of their body weight of waste during the winter, but on warm winter days the bees have to be able to get out in order to make a "cleansing" flight to eliminate this material.

I've not heard of using menthol in the winter time for any reason. You use menthol in the fall when temps. are at least 70 degrees in order for the menthol to vaporize. The menthol is used to treat for tracheal mites which are in the bee's breathing tubes, therefor the menthol has to vaporize in order to be of any use.
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golfpsycho
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« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2004, 11:08:35 AM »

George Imrie, along with others, claim cold weather doesn't kill a healthy colony of bees.  Insulating the hive reduces the heat the bees must produce, and in turn, reduces the amount of food they need to generate  heat.  Insulating the hive can also keep it from warming up on a marginal day, so it becomes a management style that you will have to weigh the benefits of personally. There are frequently beekeepers that claim their bees died from the long cold winter.  But many of us believe there is a problem other than cold that killed them.  Whether it is tracheal mites choking them, PMS and colony collapse from the vorroa mites, Nosema or dysentary from poor food source, or starvation.  

Selection of bees is important for climate, and while many cold climate beekeepers swear by Carnolians (smaller winter clusters, less stores consumed, fast spring buildup) it's hard to go wrong with banded Italians.  They've been around for a long time, they are normally a gentle, easily handled bee, and given a chance, make a pretty good honey crop.  Some things you are going to just have to try for yourself and see how they work into your style of beekeeping.

As a field biologist, getting a timeline like the one George has produced, and adjusting his style for the flows and sesaonal changes where you will be keeping your bees should lead to a great beekeeping experience for you.
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Finman
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« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2004, 12:01:51 PM »

Quote from: thomashton
I read a little about putting menthol in at wintertime. Is this to keep out disease/parasites?

.


Some use menthol in order that winter sugar does not fermentize with yeast. But this is something to do with magic tricks.

Menthol is used in Finland for varroa during couple of years, not for winter.

Some think that menthol is like aspirin, good for all indefinite.

Beekeping is full of tricks  wink
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