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Author Topic: My winter dilemma ~ help please  (Read 839 times)
Flygirl
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Location: Anchorage, Alaksa

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« on: February 23, 2009, 07:38:35 PM »

HI all ~

I checked my 2 hives yesterday as it was a nice, sunny & warm day in Anchorage.  One hive has bit the dust but the other was alive & buzzing!  Since it was warm in the sun (? 40's) I cleaned out the dead bees on the bottom board hoping that it would give them a chance for a cleansing flight.  No activity.

I had a top feeder on & lifted the cover to see cold & moldy sugar water. So I removed the top feeder & replaced it with a clean styro-feeder & re-filled it with fresh batch of food.  I covered the top of the hive with a thick towel to retain heat while I switched out the top feeder.

Here's my question ~  Was it too early to check the bees & start feeding?  I checked them today & there was a few dead bees floating in the top feeder & only a few that I could see making their way to the food.  We probably have a another 4 to 6 weeks of cold/cool temperatures & now I'm worried I chilled them when I switched out the top feeder?

My other question is ~ how do you have a top entrance when you have a top feeder in place?  I'm worried they can't get out of the bottom because of the body pile-up but with a top feeder you can't have an entrance without the bees accessing the food & drowning....Enlighten me please.  Flygirl
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iddee
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« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2009, 08:09:58 PM »

In your climate, I would dry feed, not wet feed. A sheet of newspaper covering 80% of the top frames and a few pounds of granulated sugar piled on it. Get the liquid out of the hive. Condensation alone will sometimes be enough to kill the bees, let alone adding to it.
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JP
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« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2009, 08:13:55 PM »

I second what Iddee said above, remove the feeder and dry feed if they need feed.


...JP
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Flygirl
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« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2009, 01:11:17 AM »

OK ~  thanks!  That's what I'm going to do on the next warm sunny day.  FG
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gmcharlie
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« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2009, 09:48:03 AM »

I would get rid of that feeder right away (my self)  and use it only for summer.  When its cold they cant use it.   Buy a cpl pollen patties  and place them right on teh top bars.  The cluster can move up to it and use it right away,  and if you use a 4% pollen  your brood will start sooner.   Be sure not to let them run out though.   I am guessing  at how long before spring in your area,  but I figure 1.5 patties per month until the pollen starts.   


As for chilling them,  its only a real problem for the brood.  if you don't have brood yet  you will be fine!    the question is how close do they have food?  you might want to move a frame or two closer.
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Flygirl
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Location: Anchorage, Alaksa

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« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2009, 12:53:24 PM »

Thanks Charlie ~

I'll do that today.  I have some of the patties & I'm not sure why I didn't us that instead of the feeder??  I'm a new bee keeper & stupid, I guess.  I'm bookworm so I always look everything up before I do it  but this forum has much more functional & "real" information.

All the info on the feeder says it 's a good insulator for cold climates.  Maybe that means when it's empty?  I've had problems with the top feeder so I may ditch them & go back to the jar or pail?

Thanks again ~ appreciate your comment!  FG
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gmcharlie
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« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2009, 01:24:00 PM »

I use top feeders a bit in the warm months,   they are a pain to seal up to keep bees from drowning,  that cheap foam tape put on the edges seems to work for me (so the lid seals against it)
The problem with any liquid feeder in the winter is access.  The bees are clustered and can't/won't work to the ends  and go up.  usually it dosent freeze because of heat from the cluster,  so being plastic it also condeses and drips on the cluster.    They say the foam is better,  but I don't know  I goo back to a standard vented top cover and here in IL  I use a screen bottom  with cardboard.  Our winters are vary mild  and almost never have  more than 2 weeks with below freezing weather.  which is nice as my cluster can move to the feed stores real easy.    AK is another issue.....

  The patties on the other hand sit right on top,  and the whole cluster can move to them real easy.  There is a lot of debate on plain patties vs pollen content and when too feed which.  I personaly start pollen 6 weeks (42 day brood cycle to mature) before I want foragers.  So for me  we have apples and such in mid march  so I start Feb 1 with 4% pollen.   The pollen starts the queen laying  whereas  any plain feed does NOT stimulate brood production.

I am new to this forum also,  and Love it...  had bees for a while and this is the first site that like you said has all levels of experinces and skills...  I am also haveing a blast...........
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