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Author Topic: Wintering Bees in Northern MN  (Read 1655 times)

Offline leechmann

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Wintering Bees in Northern MN
« on: July 21, 2010, 10:38:40 PM »
Last year, my first year of Bee Keeping, I attempted to winter 7 hives. I lost all my hives in Feb. and March. I have 29 hives this year and I'm looking for a better alternative. My question is, how far south is far enough. My son in law was recently stationed in Levenworth Kansas. Wondering if I found a place down there, if I would have a better survival rate.  I am interested in chatting with some bee keepers from that area, and anyone else that would be able to offer up some advise.

Thank You

Offline AllenF

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Re: Wintering Bees in Northern MN
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2010, 10:57:15 PM »
29, dang.....   They should make it anywhere with enough stored food.

Offline podius

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Re: Wintering Bees in Northern MN
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2010, 10:13:15 AM »
In Feb/March they appear dead, but they are just motionless-frozen, but still alive. Case in point. I had a nuc this spring that I thought had been frozen out, all the bees looked black like they had been rotting for awhile. So I rummaged through and found the queen and was looking at her. I had her in my hand and was looking around at other things, then she started to move. Her color came back and I caged her and made a new nuc. As of now, I've gotten 2 splits and 2 swarms from that one queen, so don't write off the bees OR open the boxes until late spring.

What else...
I put my hives in groups and use insulated tops. I use sheep wool as my insulation and it works great. Don't give them too much room in the winter. It's tempting to leave an extra box of honey on, but that will just be more area to loose heat.
John VT
Spooner, WI(Northwest WI-up in the nose)
equipment---All medium 10 frame boxes, top entrance's, no foundation frames and mann lake pf 120's (7 hives)

Offline charlotte

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Re: Wintering Bees in Northern MN
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2010, 03:40:16 PM »
I too use insulated tops.  I use a piece of foam board with regular insulation over the top of it.  I also like to put a piece of newspaper with dry sugar on top of each hive, as well as a grease/pollen patty with wintergreen oil in it for trach mites.  Usually there is sugar left & they have consumed most of the grease / pollen by early spring.  I figure the newspaper absorbs any excess moisture & the sugar is good insurance just incase of a cold snap in early spring & I can't get in them.  It is also a good idea to have some wind protection, trees or pallets stood on end, whatever, especially on the north side.  Some people here even keep them on pallets, then move them into a shed.  The key with that is to be sure that is is dark, because if it warms up & is light in there they will fly.  Sometimes it is colder inside a shed than outside, so I haven't tried that method...plus they won't take cleansing flights either.  I guess it works for some people though.  Good luck.
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