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Author Topic: Procedure for winding down hives for the winter  (Read 911 times)
OzBuzz
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Location: Melbourne, Australia


« on: April 26, 2010, 06:28:51 PM »

Hi Everybody,

With the colder weather approaching i was wondering what the propoer procedure is for winding down the hives for winter? What are the indicators that we shoud start doing this? what preparation is involved? How many frames of honey should there be in a hive etc?

Any advice would be much appreciated
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philinacoma
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Location: Coburg, Vic, Australia


« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2010, 08:02:10 PM »

My 2 cents...

Indicators:
1. It gets cold.  cheesy
2. Not as much traffic in and out.

I was told 3 full frames, but supplementing with sugar syrup is advised. This should be done while they are still active. I have left them with more than 3 frames as I want to go down the 'natural' path which avoids using sugar syrup. (I will make the exception if bees I have collected would struggle to survive without the assistance)

Some keeps recommend:

1. Decrease the size of the opening.
2. Put match sticks under the lid for ventilation. (concerns over humidity and mould)
3. Drop the height of the hive stack to allow the bees to manage the temperature of the hive easier.
4. If you have a queen excluder, you must remove it or you won't have a queen come spring.
5. Kiss them goodnight. Kiss

Sure to be more, but that's a start.
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Mardak
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Location: Napoleons Victoria


« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2010, 12:46:09 AM »

The Beeks around here and Geelong reckon take your box down to one. Make sure there is some brood in this box. Keep the main frames in the middle of the box. Lots of honey in frames on either side of the cluster, reduce the opening to reduce drafts and heat loss. They should cluster for the winter then. The box does not need inspecting for many weeks due to you knowing there is honey for stores and you want to reduce any temperature drop. I will see what happens after winter.

This Sunday in Castlemaine is a build equipment session and wax dipping of boxes. BBQ lunch in between. Have guilt three boxes to dip for the experience. rolleyes rolleyes
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sas_marine@hotmail.com
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Location: maryborough, qld, australia


« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2010, 07:19:58 PM »

reduce the entrance to 10mm/1cm even a 2cm hole is too big and create a bad draft inside your hive, also reduce down to one box with honey on the outsides and brood in the middle, try your best not to open the hive as you just let valuable heat out, i use toilet paper believe it or not to reduce the entrance and also i use toilet paper and i stuff it in the ventilation holes at the top of my box as hot air rises and this is typically where it escapes, the good thing about using toilet paper is that the bees can remove it themselves when it starts to warm up, but each time you go to check on your hives i usually take toilet paper with me just in case ive had a lot of rain for example and need to replace a bit, but apart from that, thats all, dont keep your hives bigger than one beacuse with bees dwindling they wont be able to manange a double or triple hive!! regardless of how big they were in spring, simply there is just not enough pollen Tongue
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OzBuzz
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Location: Melbourne, Australia


« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2010, 08:49:38 PM »

Thanks guys for all of your thoughts and feedback... i've reduced the box down to one - there is lots of honey stores and pollen and the hive is still strong. The queen is reducing the brood nest size beautifully and the workers are backfilling with nectar. I removed two medium supers that i put on a few weeks ago - they had started to fill the frames with nectar and there were a few capped cells but i just set them to the side to let them rob the nectar and take it back to the main hive... The lid doesnt have ventilation holes (i bought the hive like that) and the entrance is currently only about 9 - 10cms long. There is still a lot of activity in the hive so i won't reduce it yet but when the more consistent colder days come in and they reduce their foraging i'll cut it down in size. Some people have said i should put a mat on top of the frames under the lid... does anyone do this? I don't have an inner cover...
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