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Author Topic: Stacking Hives for Winter  (Read 1856 times)
ArmucheeBee
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« on: October 09, 2010, 10:41:22 PM »

We had a terrible summer/fall season and several of my splits are low on honey.  I was thinking about stacking one hive on another seperated by Q-excluders to help them get through the winter.  This would also help me to feed two hives at one time with the one top feeder that I have (I can not spend any more $$ this year).  I also see some advantages for them keeping warm if numbers were low.  Each hive would have 2 mediums, so a total of 4 mediums with the excluder in the middle.  I'd have top and bottom entrances. 

Give me some feedback on the pros and cons.  Would queens fight and try to sting through the excluder?  Also, would I just seperate with newspaper to ease them into the new arrangement.
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Stephen Stewart
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2010, 04:01:19 AM »

Queen excluders will allow the bees through, which means they will make one cluster around one queen and abandon the other queen.  i would not recommend it.  Worse, they may cluster around the bottom queen at the start of winter, leaving the one in the top to die of cold and then work their way up to the top by the end of winter leaving the other at the bottom to die of cold.  The cluster will follow food, not queens.  This is not a good plan.  If you want to combine, then combine with no excluder.  If you don't want to combine, do not put excluders between.  Also do not put double screens between because they will allow all the moisture to move to the top hive which may not be able to handle the moisture.  If you want to stack them, just stack them or put an inner cover between with the hole blocked with duct tape on both sides and staples to make sure it stays.
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Michael Bush
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tecumseh
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« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2010, 08:55:57 AM »

my very old cpu is having a hard time remembering exactly where Rome Georgia is located???  I suspect your winters are not excessively severe no matter where in Georgia you might reside?

what 'MIGHT' work is to use a double screen in place of the queen excluder during the worst part of the season.  you would want to place feeders in both and provide a top entrance on the opposite side of the hive as the front entrance (bottom unit). reversing the hive from time to time allows some leveling of the bee hive's population.  when the weather moderates somewhat in early spring you then replace the double screen with a queen excluder (I would also remove one feeder at this time).  with the QE in place the worker population will somewhat redistribute itself between the two boxes fairly quickly.  by early spring you would want to set the two units apart.... the entrance on opposite sides of the combined hive make setting them apart less confusing (for the bees).     
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I am 'the panther that passes in the night'... tecumseh.
ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2010, 09:09:32 PM »

Thanks for the info.  I was wondering about worker migration and distribution.  If I need to, I'll use the screens.  Last winter was pretty bad for us, about 20 nights of below 20 degrees.
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Stephen Stewart
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tecumseh
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« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2010, 07:44:45 AM »

a armucheeBee snip..
about 20 nights of below 20 degrees

tecumseh:
I would suspect the North Dakota beeks will find this just a bit funny.

good luck...
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I am 'the panther that passes in the night'... tecumseh.
Jim 134
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« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2010, 01:51:09 PM »

a armucheeBee snip..
about 20 nights of below 20 degrees

tecumseh:
I would suspect the North Dakota beeks will find this just a bit funny.

good luck...

     LOL
Location: Athol (tool town) Massachusetts 01331 USA

  At get below -0 for about 4 to 6 weeks in a row (at night time) shocked

     BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
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winginit
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« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2010, 03:08:37 PM »

a armucheeBee snip..
about 20 nights of below 20 degrees

tecumseh:
I would suspect the North Dakota beeks will find this just a bit funny.

good luck...

I don't know about ND bees, but Cincy bees are just plain jealous (until Summer, that is).

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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2010, 10:30:34 PM »

But we had 45 days of 95 degrees or above with >75% humidity.  I lost a hive to heat lat month!!!  My fault but still.  All things are relative to your norms.
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Stephen Stewart
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2010, 11:56:39 PM »

Yea, we usually have about 20 days of -20 F... and sometimes colder...
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Michael Bush
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tecumseh
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« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2010, 06:36:48 AM »

armunchee writes:
But we had 45 days of 95 degrees or above with >75% humidity.  I lost a hive to heat lat month!!!  My fault but still.  All things are relative to your norms.

tecumseh:
same here and same suspect.  in almost every year my summer loss number is way above my winter loss numbers.  some summers, like the summer of one year ago, can be very destructive.   

we likely experience about the same climate.  most times here even a little bit of feed is all that is required to get a hive (no matter what the size) thru a central Texas winter.

my little brain says that if this or that is 'my fault' then there should be things you can do to limit the problem.  I am currently looking into a device common in southern Arizona some years ago called a breeze board plus adding to the thickness of my top covers in the hope that this will limit the heat problem here.
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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2010, 09:24:31 PM »

I use screen tops on all my hives now even nucs due to the heat/humidity.  I still have a telescoping cover but have it sitting on one edge to vent.  I use SBB too, but noticed this year that my two strongest hives with SBB were less active than the solid bottom hives sitting beside them after our night time temps went into the 50's.  They had less brood also, but they had more bees from the summer season.  I put on solid bottoms and within 2 weeks their brood/larvae was back up.  So I like SBB because I have very little varroa (they will cover a board under the SBB, so I have them) problem, but at least in my small apiary the colonies with SBB seem to have less brood when temps drop at night.  Maybe due to the screen on top, too much air flow!!!   Thanks for everyones input.
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Stephen Stewart
2nd Grade Teacher

"You don't need a license to drive a sandwich."  SpongeBob Squarepants
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