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Author Topic: Winter survival plan  (Read 3749 times)
Mason
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« on: August 18, 2009, 01:24:21 PM »

My hives are free of pest and thriving.  Queens are laying and everyone seems happy.  I did not have any reserves to rob this year due to a late start and heavy rain.  Tons and tons of bees and the frames in all brood boxes and supers are built out.

I am planning to feed as necessary but was wondering if, when and how I should take some of the supers off and reduce the size of the hive down to just brood chambers or should I just let them thrive and maybe go for a split in the spring?

I am just thinking ahead.  What should I expect as the weather cools and how should I react to it?

Mason
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Finski
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« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2009, 03:33:46 AM »

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When nature stops blooming, bees however search for food and foragers die on their journeys.
The size of colony reduces sharply.

The size of winter cluster will be tha size of brood area in late summer.

If your hive has been 4 langstroth, probably it will winter in one box.
If size has been  6-7 boxes, winter cluster needs 2 boxes, but not more.

When you take honey off, dont put boxes back.
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Mason
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« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2009, 02:41:49 PM »

I know I am going to need to reduce my hive size.

Here is my dilemma.  I chose to not rob my bees this year due to (what I believe) is not enough reserves.  I was really focused on getting some frames built out and learning etc.

How do I go about reducing or taking off the supers?  On the advice of this group I removed my excluders.  So some frames have brood,  others have honey,  some just comb and some partially built out.

When I remove the frames do I have to keep them in the freezer all year or just a couple of days?  Where or how should I store them? 
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annette
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« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2009, 05:54:47 PM »

On the frames with the brood.  The brood will emerge and the queen will not lay anymore on those frames.  The queen will start to go down below to the bottom super by the fall and and the bees will just store the honey up above.

I have this same thing happening in my hives right now. I have brood all over the place right now and so I am going to wait another month and then when I go and check the hives I usually find that the queen has stopped laying up above. After I am sure I have left enough honey for them to get through the winter (which in my neck of the woods is only about 35-40 lbs), then I start to remove frames and bring the hive down in size. I freeze my frames first for a few days and then I place the whole super into trash bags.  Two trash bags and I duct tape them really good.  No problems so far with any wax moth getting into them.

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Finski
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« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2009, 11:36:44 PM »

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Autumn is coming and during two weeks I start winter feeding.

When I have taken honey away (I take all) I have put brood frames in the bottom box.
On sides I put foundations or white combs that they do not take mould.

If brood frames are 8 or less, it will winter in one box.  If brooding is 12 frames it will need 2 boxes.
With that information I situate pollen frames for winter. Pollen frames will be on sedes of winter cluster.
Along wall they will catch mold.

So I have 2 box hive which upper box almost without brood. I feed to it 25 kg sugar.

If bees have only one box and brood, it is better to start feeding  but I must wait that brood has emerged.

Finally before ending the feeding I weight hive with bathroom balance . I put balance in one side.
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Finski
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« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2009, 11:45:43 PM »

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When you feed the hive, you must feed so much that combs are full. Otherwise bees do not cap the store.

When I feed on average  20 kg sugar, it tákes one week to feed and then it takes 2 weeks that bees cap the syrup.

Dont make long the feeding. Bees start brooding and that is not good for wintering. It is better feed quickly. So it stuck the laying area.

I have 8 litre feeding box, plastic. Bees take 18 litres syrup in 2 days but then I wait a week that they clear up the mesh in the hive and dry up the stores for capping.  

Feeded sugar deppends on how much you left honey into the hive.

If the hive has a brood box full of brood and I must srart the feeding I put an empty box over the brood box and feed the hive full. Bees store the food in upper box and cap it.

Normally bees start wintering in the area where is the last brood. That is why I put brood in time to lowest box.

With those feeding hives survive from September to May.
I have insulated styrofoam boxes. Mere  wood box consumes 50% more wintrerfood..

I live at the level of Anchorage Alaska Just now day temp is 20C and night 10C.
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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2009, 10:55:42 PM »

Mason

You and I are in the same boat.  I live an hour above you in Rome.  Started 7 hives this year and not much reserves have been made so I left everything for them.  I am feeding 3 nucs right now (internal) and until last week was putting out about 1/2 gallon of sugar water for open feeding for the 4 big hives every other day.  I know that's not much for feeding but it did stimulate them.  I hit it right because the fall bloom started last week and they were ready to go.  Building new comb, bringing in loads of pollen.  I had three hives last year (first year) but all died in Jan.   As they thin out just start moving honey frames down and consolidate.  We will have bloom into October.  I just read one study which said open air feeding in fall lead to greater winter survival than feeding internally.  So I plan to put out chick feeders in Oct.   I put mine about 200 yards from the hives, but I have lots of land.

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Stephen Stewart
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Finski
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« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2009, 05:44:45 AM »

Mason

  I just read one study which said open air feeding in fall lead to greater winter survival than feeding internally.  So I plan to put out chick feeders in Oct.   I put mine about 200 yards from the hives, but I have lots of land.



I cannot believe that! I have never heard that you feed for winter outside. It is clear nonsence.

In autumn, don't beed anything outside. There will hige robbing and bees kill each other. And neighbourse bees join the party.

Second, in internal feeding bees consume 25% of sufgar when they process and cap the syrup.
If you feed outside, there is awfull flying here and there searching the syrup dwell.

There is no problem in feeder box survival. If the colony died, it is brooding in winter, mouse or something else.



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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2009, 03:38:37 PM »

Here you go Finski
http://www.honeybeeworld.com/misc/syrup/feed.htm

You can take it up with these folks, they have far more experience than me.  You'll find the info way down the page after the blue part about pumps and such.  They did the study and it worked for them.  I'll do my own and see how it works for me.  By the way, you do understand that in north Georgia we only get down to freezing periodically.  Nights can be in the 20's and 30's F, but days go up into the 60's.  So our bees are prone to flying in December and January, where as yours may not see daylight for 3-4 months.  Last year on one day it was 22F that night and 74F by 3pm that afternoon.  That is common for us.
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David LaFerney
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« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2009, 08:00:01 PM »

That article isn't really all that specific, but I think that they are really saying that open feeding is better than opening hives in cold weather, and that it is better than nothing - if managed correctly. 

It does say that they saw instances of hives that had hive top feeders and access to open feeding and robbing would not be interested in the feed inside of their own hive.  I'm wonder if this might be because they already see it as money in the bank since it's already in their possession.  Who knows.

I'd imagine that by the time you are to the point of feeding bees using drums full of syrup at a time you're going to know what you want to do. 

I think that the article is about bee keeping in Alberta Canada, so it's probably more similar to Finland than Georgia.

I could be wrong - I just skimmed it real quick.
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Finski
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« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2009, 11:22:19 PM »

Similar to Finland and African Sahara is that bees gather honey store in summer for bad season.
It will be capped and eaten later.


I take their winter stores away and change it to sugar. In Germany sun flower honey is as cheap as sugar and that is why they keep the honey in and give a little bit more sugar to fill wintertore.

There is no mystery in that.

Secret of wintering is that the bee stock has proper to that area where you live.

Our bee researcher had 10 Anatolian queen last summer and wintered them. One hive was on balance whole winter. It consumed so much sugar that it was equeal 80 kg in winter when normal is 25 kg. Five of hives died in winter.

I know that Australians feed hives in open, but it is stupid thing with me .

I know hoppiests who feed whole summer and winter bees and give pollen at Christmas. That is not beekeeping, it is toykeeping.

When I feed bees in September, they are in peace up till April. Then I start patty feeding to get early spring build up for early yield.





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Finski
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« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2009, 11:32:52 PM »

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Secret of good wintering is that the hive has not brood. Feeding every now and then encourage laying and that is not good for wintering.

Wintering bees are those who do not nurse larvae.

Syrup feeding is fast and you must feed so much that cells are full and bees cap it.

One langstroth box will be full with 2 days feeding. It depends how much yuo leave honey and how much they have brood. If they have brood, give the rest winter food when brood has emerged.

You may give empty box too over the brood box and bees make winter store there.

Keep the hive warm that they may cap the syrup quickly.

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Finski
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« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2009, 11:38:33 PM »

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If you have big hives and small nucs, you may take capped winter frames and shake nuc bees on ready capped combs. A small hive is slow to cap stores because hive is cold.



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Finski
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« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2009, 11:46:27 PM »

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HIVE MOISTURE

The moisture of give comes from respiration of bees.

When bees consume 25 kg sugar, it generates 10 kg water.

The winter cluster is warm (23C) and respiration air will condensate onto cold surfaces.
When the space of cluster is small, the condensation point goes outside of hive and the hive will be dry.

Fast bottom and a small upper entrance is very good.
If you have mesh floor, it need not upper entrance.

I tried mesh floors and noticed that it consumed 50% more food than fast bottom. It depends how windy is the place.

Bees must be in fresh air over winter. If you have a shelter, where is no wind, bees are easy to get nosema.

Many  over winter bees in cellars. The temp must be under 7C, dark and electrict ventilation.

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Finski
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« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2009, 11:49:47 PM »

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How far in  north

Our Helsinki is at same level as Anchorage.

Some keep bees on Polar Circle and even more north.

They keep mostly Carniolans but Italians too.
They keep in cellars or in open air.  Hives are so far that they have yet even varroa.
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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #15 on: August 27, 2009, 03:05:12 PM »

I was just going by this quote from the article:   <If colonies surviving the winter is an indicator, then open feeding has a huge positive impact here in Alberta, since open fall feeding can reduce colony loss to virtually nil. This is proven time and again when some yards are not fed and return losses up to 100% compared to the 10-20% loss in yards with feed. >

I thought I would try it since I tried internal feeding last year and then all three hives died out.  This is only my second year so everything is an experiment and all info is taken in.  I have 40 acres so I can put out my feeders a great distance from the hives which in my experience has led to little robbing, but feeding within 100 ft. has caused robbing.  My hives died out last year due to few bees.  I had only about 200-300 going into January.  Question:  How do you insure enough bees going into winter?  Thanks for all this good info and sorry for taking over the thread with a quote.

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Stephen Stewart
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David LaFerney
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« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2009, 06:07:51 PM »

I had only about 200-300 going into January.  Question:  How do you insure enough bees going into winter?  Thanks for all this good info and sorry for taking over the thread with a quote.



Do you have any idea why your population was so small?  Was it normal during the summer?
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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #17 on: August 30, 2009, 09:36:24 PM »

They were from a cutout in July so they were not established.  It still leaves me "shell-shocked" as to what will happen this winter.  So I am looking into to all the methods for keeping them going.  Thanks to Finski for that great info.
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Stephen Stewart
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Finski
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« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2009, 06:24:10 PM »


I tried internal feeding last year and then all three hives died out.

 This is only my second year so everything is an experiment and all info is taken in.

I just say thjat don't do that "experience". You propably get rid off you bees again.

I started my feedin yesterday and one boxes hives are feeded in 2 days. Non of them will die for internal feeding.

 
Quote
My hives died out last year due to few bees.  I had only about 200-300 going into January.  Question:  How do you insure enough bees going into winter?  Thanks for all this good info and sorry for taking over the thread with a quote.

Impossibe to say why. VIf the last brood had varroa much, it destroyes hives quickly.

Nosema kills colonies so that you may have handfull of bees in spring.
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