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Author Topic: Winterizing Step by Step for New Beek NYC  (Read 1916 times)
emergencygirl
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« on: October 12, 2009, 07:40:19 AM »

Moved my bees from the Bronx 30 miles NW of the city to Chestnut Ridge where the winter temperatures can go to 0'F with wind gusts of 30mph and 15 inches of snow.  I got the bees the late in the Spring and since we had such a rainy season, only recently added another full size super. Right now they are sitting a half foot off of the ground in a yard on top of wide slats with the back tilted a bit forward.

1. When should I put in the entrance reducer and mouse guard?
2. Should I place the hive on something much higher so that the snowfall doesn't reach the lowest super?
3. Should I move the hive from the middle of the lawn to up against the shed so the wind doesn't blow the hive over?
4. Should I build a square wooden box around them to shield them from the wind?
5. Should I wrap the hive in something more than tar paper, such as quilted plastic with ventilation holes?
6. When would I use pollen bee food? Now? During the winter? Where do I put in in the hive?
7. What's the best feeder to use so that the bees are not disturbed in the cool weather?
I've been using a division board feeder thus far.
I was looking at a poly top feeder and a plastic top feeder which seem pretty similar and one only needs to lift the lid to refill.
I was also looking at the entrance feeders but those seem more fiddly because you have to remove them from the hive, block the entrance, take the tubs off, refill them and replace them back in the hive.
Then I considered the two gallon feeder pail but was concerned about the feeder plug getting stuck. Does anyone use these? How often do you change the plugs or clean them in the winter? I get that you place these pails upside down on the inner Cover with screen plug over the inner cover hole, but where do you put the top telescoping cover? Or don't you put the cover back on?

That's about all my questions for now. Am open to more suggestions in case there is anything else I need to know about winterizing the hive that I've left out. Hope you can help and thanks for sharing your knowledge.

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Robo
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« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2009, 08:08:35 AM »

1. When should I put in the entrance reducer and mouse guard?

Mouse guards about a month ago. As usual, I'm running a little late and had to evict a couple of mice last weekend when I was making the rounds.  Luckily they can't get thru my slatted racks, so no damage to the comb.  I have started reducing my entrance 2 weeks ago, but I'm probably 10-20 degrees colder than you.
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2. Should I place the hive on something much higher so that the snowfall doesn't reach the lowest super?

Actually, the snow provides insulation and shielding from the wind.   Just keep the entrance clean and they will be fine.
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3. Should I move the hive from the middle of the lawn to up against the shed so the wind doesn't blow the hive over?

You could, as long as they get sun.  BUT,  short moves are tough on the bees to re-orientate,   so you would be better to just build a simple wind block.
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4. Should I build a square wooden box around them to shield them from the wind?

You only need to build it on the prevailing wind side, actually a 'V' shape pointing into the wind works good.  Still gives them plenty of air circulation.
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5. Should I wrap the hive in something more than tar paper, such as quilted plastic with ventilation holes?

If you are going to wrap, tar paper is fine,  it allows heat transfer from the sun on nice days. 
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6. When would I use pollen bee food? Now? During the winter? Where do I put in in the hive?

Wait until early spring when they start to raising brood.  Put it right on the top bars.
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7. What's the best feeder to use so that the bees are not disturbed in the cool weather?

I prefer candy or dry sugar
http://robo.bushkillfarms.com/beekeeping/emergency-feeding/

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I've been using a division board feeder thus far.
I was looking at a poly top feeder and a plastic top feeder which seem pretty similar and one only needs to lift the lid to refill.
I was also looking at the entrance feeders but those seem more fiddly because you have to remove them from the hive, block the entrance, take the tubs off, refill them and replace them back in the hive.
Then I considered the two gallon feeder pail but was concerned about the feeder plug getting stuck. Does anyone use these? How often do you change the plugs or clean them in the winter? I get that you place these pails upside down on the inner Cover with screen plug over the inner cover hole, but where do you put the top telescoping cover? Or don't you put the cover back on?

I would not recommend feeding syrup during the winter, introducing too much moisture in the hive can lead to dysentery.  But when you do feed syrup,  my preferred method is an inverted jar/can.  It is the only method (for syrup) that allows the bees to feed without breaking cluster.

http://robo.bushkillfarms.com/beekeeping/feeder-compare/

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Michael Bush
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« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2009, 10:52:40 AM »

>1. When should I put in the entrance reducer and mouse guard?

Last month.

>2. Should I place the hive on something much higher so that the snowfall doesn't reach the lowest super?

You'll just put them more up in the wind.  Instead make an upper entrance either with a notch in the inner cover or shims over the inner cover and slide the telescopic cover forward.

>3. Should I move the hive from the middle of the lawn to up against the shed so the wind doesn't blow the hive over?

If you like.

>4. Should I build a square wooden box around them to shield them from the wind?

If you like.  I wouldn't.

>5. Should I wrap the hive in something more than tar paper, such as quilted plastic with ventilation holes?

I wouldn't.  Sealing in moisture is a bigger issue.

>6. When would I use pollen bee food?

Spring and late fall it may be useful.  They ignore it the rest of the time.

> Now?

If it's warm enough.

> During the winter?

No.

> Where do I put in in the hive?

I don't.  I put it out in the open in an empty hive.

>7. What's the best feeder to use so that the bees are not disturbed in the cool weather?

Bees don't take feed in cool weather.

>I've been using a division board feeder thus far.
I was looking at a poly top feeder and a plastic top feeder which seem pretty similar and one only needs to lift the lid to refill.

Feeding should have taken place a month and a half ago or so.  The best thing now would be dry sugar.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm#drysugar

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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
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emergencygirl
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« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2009, 10:51:18 PM »

Whoa, thanks! How much dry sugar? 3 lbs? More?
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2009, 06:41:04 AM »

I put 30 pounds or so on mine...
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
emergencygirl
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« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2009, 08:39:16 PM »

Forgive me, on one hive at the same time? I better go get a lot of sugar.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2009, 07:17:00 PM »

>Forgive me, on one hive at the same time? I better go get a lot of sugar.

It depends on the weight of the hive.  But if it's 30# light, yes, on one hive.  One hive needs about 75# of sugar to get through the winter here.  The empty box etc. weighs fifty pounds or so if you have two ten frame double deeps (or four eight frame mediums) plus a top and bottom.  So the whole thing should weigh about 125# (assuming a full sized cluster etc.).  So if it's only 95# I'd put 30# of sugar on.  If it's more than 125#, I wouldn't put any sugar on.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
Davepeg
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« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2009, 07:40:41 AM »

Where is Chestnut Ridge are you located?  We're right on the NJ \NY border off RT45.  Just some good information to know, the Waldolf school on rt 45 holds beekeeping classes a few times a year.  In April they have a beginners weekend that is pretty good, even as a refresher.  We (hubby and I) have gone to a few of the classes.  Also a fellow up in New Paltz that holds classes that are excellent.  If you need more information, let me know.

How are the hives doing since the move?
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