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Author Topic: Anyone overwintering in 3-deep configurations?  (Read 1482 times)
1of6
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« on: October 24, 2010, 06:00:02 PM »

Has anyone seen any positive results overwintering in 3-deep (or more than 2-deep) configurations, especially in colder areas?
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Shawn
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« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2010, 07:44:46 PM »

I am letting two of my hives have two deeps and 1 medium. I am only doing this because the queens laid up into the mediums and I did not want to get rid of two mediums full of eggs.
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AllenF
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« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2010, 08:59:46 PM »

I am in the south, and I have left honey supers on the hive that were not capped or just did not get to take them off before the cold.   I don't think it helps.  2 deeps is plenty to live on.   I know that if the queen moves up into the 3rd box,as winter goes, you will have brood up there in spring.   
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2010, 04:19:18 AM »

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesulbn.htm
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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
Finski
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« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2010, 08:14:27 AM »

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I live in cold climate at the level of Anchorage Alaska.

3 deeps are not needed. If the food will cease, its structure is too cold.

I have polystyrene hives and when I feed hives in Semptember, food is enought to may.

on Average half of my hives has one box and another half two box on winter. Both hives has been in 6-7 box hive in summer.

Simple wooden walls consume 50% more food than insulated.
Insulation will be lost if you keep mesh floor open over winter and wind is allowed to blow inside to the hive.

I have Italian bees. They survive in Polar Circle area too.
 

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1of6
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« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2010, 09:18:36 AM »



Michael, I used a close variant of this.  With all the traffic earlier in the year regarding checkerboarding I decided to try a combination of the ULBN and checkerboarding.  One person had posted about taking the bottom of three deeps in the spring after it had been vacated, and using the empty combs to checkerboard along with the remaining feed above and around the brood nest, also pulling them up (after a safe time) into that top brood box.  I tried this on my hives this year and was very satisfied with the results.

I know with what I saw that it's worth taking a closer look at - I have noticed a marked difference this year - much stronger than normal hives this year, and from what I could tell, mostly supercedure instead of swarming.  I understand the details about running the queen hard this way and using her up in a shorter timeframe, but I've not as of yet seen ill effects from this, actually, to the contrary.

FINSKI – What you say is what I’ve had in the back of my mind for a little while now.  **What worried me late this year** was the fact that the brood nests, once backed down, were only backed down to about 1.5 or 1.75 deeps, with a noticeably larger crowd present.  A hive 3-or-more-deep reduced to 2 deeps just had too many bees bearding out, even during cold rainy weather.  I just couldn't stomach not leaving that third box on there with that large of a population still present.  I guess I could have put an excluder between deeps 1 and 2 to hold the queen above and cause them to vacate that bottom deep (to free it instead up for removal), but taking a deep away from them under these circumstances seemed counterproductive.

I’m wondering if anyone else has been practicing the pyramid approach, and whether size of the broodnest in the fall has been a concern – if so has this tempted anyone into overwintering with a third deep still on the stack?
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Finski
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« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2010, 10:17:07 AM »

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How much you had boxes in summer? If summer bees have not died yet, 2 brood may be too small.

Winter cluster will be the size of brood area in last the brooding month.
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1of6
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« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2010, 11:11:26 AM »

Finski - a few of my first year boxes were 2-deep, but only a few.  Most were 3-deep (second year or older colonies) and I think with the checkerboarding and pyramiding is what really set things in motion early this year.  I thought at one point that maybe I overdid it - these big colonies were consistently harder to work thatn I've seen with my bees in the past.  Wow - go into a bottom deep in a 3-deep configuration, and you'll know mad bees.

Ok, so I need to answer your question a little better.  I had 2 that I pulled up into 4-deep configuration, and them split them, so those are no longer a size concern.  Most of the others were 3-deep configurations for much of the summer.  I did keep what I thought was plenty of supers on them all summer, and pulled a lot of honey throughout - they had a lot on super space to work with all summer.  I'm sure that the folk who aren't fans of ULBNs or checkerboarding would remind me that this was in part the reason why I didn't see any significant swarming, and they'd be right on that note - different discussion for a different day.  **Bottom line answer for the ones concerned in this thread - 3 deep with roughly half the middle brood box in use.**

Perhaps the backfilling bahavior didn't happen as quickly this year.  We've had awesome honey crops this year, but I guess it does take a while to backfill that area.  I've been watching and it is happening, but I guess maybe it just takes a while to cut a large broodnest back to one box.
For whatever it's worth, I did start reducing the number of supers in Mid-august, and took the last off of most hives in Mid september.  We've had an awesome goldenrod and aster flow here too.  Seems to be plenty.  My question in all this is the broodnest size to #lbs to store for winter ratio.  I wish there was a little more concrete answer.

Finski and Mike, I guess to be hosest and cut to the chase, Russian is mixed in as part of my breeding pool.  I've seen in the past how small of clusters the Russians can overwinter with.  With what I've done this year, I think I've changed the game drastically.  Any idea what to expect on the winter side of this experiment?
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Finski
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« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2010, 12:07:06 PM »

Wow - go into a bottom deep in a 3-deep configuration, and you'll know mad bees.

I've changed the game drastically.  Any idea what to expect on the winter side of this experiment?

I have nursed bees 47 years. I use 3 brood box and no excluder. In summer the hive may have 6-7 boxes. The higher hives are mad to nurse. So I move bees to smaller colonies.

Even if the hive has 9 box in summer, it needs only 2 deeps in winter.The number of bees drops sharply when food ceases on meadows . In 3 weeks the hive size drops from 6 brood to 2.

It is important that the hive is minimum size. If it has extra space, respiration moisture condensates inside the hive. The tihgter the wintering room, the warmer the hive and dew point is perhaps outdoors.

I doupt about that WOW. I have never had 3 box wintering hive.
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Finski
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« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2010, 12:15:05 PM »

.  I've seen in the past how small of clusters the Russians can overwinter with. 

Many say that small winter cluster is good. But that kind of colony is the prison of its size and it takes lot of time to get the hive into foraging condition.
It takes 2 monts time when 2-brood wintered hive is ready to forage surpluss honey.
One box wintered hive takes 2-4 weeks more to get ready to forage surpluss.

If my hives are not big enough I join then to get 6-box units.
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1of6
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« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2010, 01:12:05 PM »


It takes 2 monts time when 2-brood wintered hive is ready to forage surpluss honey.
One box wintered hive takes 2-4 weeks more to get ready to forage surpluss.

If my hives are not big enough I join then to get 6-box units.

...And if my memory serves from some of your other posts, you use mediums, so at 6 meds that's about equivalent of 4 deeps...right?

Finski, maybe what I'm expecting to see on my end is the broodnest being decreased down to 1 deep - in years past I think I've seen it earlier - maybe they're behind this year, or maybe I've caused them to be behind by stretching them like that.  It's not what I expected, that's for sure.  Now with the hard frosts here, our goldenrod has finished up and we only have some aster left.  Our cold weather is quickly approaching.  I guess I always have the fallback of seeing if the bottom deep gets vacated and then pulling it if need be, but I'm not sure that I'm going to see that in the amount of time that we have left.  These brood nests just did not shrink on the schedule that I thought they would.

Since we have the last of our good weather this week, perhaps I'll look and see if the last frost has brought a change - Queens should cease laying in this area with the nectar from the aster flow stopping, right?

I've never had this problem before - at least I know I'm carrying enough feed on all these boxes to go through a hard winter.

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Finski
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« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2010, 01:52:54 PM »

.
I use 3 langstroth brood + 4- 6 mediums.  It has room for 80-60 kg honey at one time.
If the hive is full + brood, it may have 120 kg capped honey.

The hive must have room for new nectar, otherwise it swarms and start to hang on walls.

One medium is 15 kg.

3 brood means that the entrance is widely open and the lowest is a pollen storage. 2 brood are full of brood. If I have 2 brood, they move up because the lowest is too cold.

This is my hive on a balance. http://www.mtt.fi/bees/anjalankoski10.htm


It got more weigh 140 kg in 5 weeks. Best days are 7-8 kg a day.

From the beginning of weighing the hive was douple size after 6 weeks.

But, a good yield depends on pastures, and a good foraging power depends on a queen.

.

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