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Author Topic: how to know if the hive is ok in the winter  (Read 3469 times)
slacker361
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« Reply #20 on: December 30, 2010, 05:48:53 PM »

@ acebird, I am a NEWBEE my hive will be one year old in april or may , can remember which, I was pretty happy with the 70 lbs of honey grin grin  I got from them, I hope that I didn't take to much
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L Daxon
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« Reply #21 on: December 31, 2010, 09:23:55 AM »

I briefly got into my two hives yesterday afternoon for the first time since mid-Nov.  Temp outside was in the mid 60s and the bees were flying like crazy.  I set out about 2 1/2  cups of syrup and it was gone in a couple of hours.
Girls looked like they had plenty of stores but I saw NO brood.  We've had a couple of weeks of sub-freezing nights (even down to about 15 degrees) but no days where the highs weren't at least above freezing.  Most days we have been in at least the 40s and I see the girls out quite a bit.
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linda d
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« Reply #22 on: December 31, 2010, 09:35:00 AM »

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I was pretty happy with the 70 lbs of honey

Sounds like a lot to me on the first year.  You didn't take anything from the deeps did you and you are wintering over with two of them or one?
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« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2010, 10:18:06 AM »

two deeps and a medium, I did not take any from the deeps. they also had a ton of brood going into the winter, so I am hoping that when I buy two packages this spring that I will have three hives and not just two   rolleyes
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cam
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« Reply #24 on: December 31, 2010, 03:10:13 PM »

I just wait until a day like today when it reaches 50°. All bees will be flying if the hives are in the sun... lots of bees flying from all hives, so I'm pretty sure no losses yet. Still, March is the critical month IMO. I'll be checking stores and putting patties on at the end of Feb. Candy boards are all still full and basically untouched. I don't like to break the seals on the hive before the hardest part of winter is over.
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bee-nuts
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« Reply #25 on: January 01, 2011, 04:54:36 AM »

If you find the bees are not OK what are you going to do anyway?  We are suppose to have a 40 degree day this weekend.  Maybe I will take a peek just for the heck of it.


This is one thing you could do.  These bees are as far up as they can go and its not even january yet.  They would not have a chance unless the honey fairy came and gave them a honey comb refill.

http://i642.photobucket.com/albums/uu144/mofrapy/201012292324371.jpg?t=1293875131

http://i642.photobucket.com/albums/uu144/mofrapy/201012292324374.jpg?t=1293875131

http://i642.photobucket.com/albums/uu144/mofrapy/201012292324377.jpg?t=1293875130

http://i642.photobucket.com/albums/uu144/mofrapy/2010122923243710.jpg?t=1293875130

I added a full deep of honey, insulation, and felt.  I will come back and give em a hive top feeder with a ventilation hole.  These girls had plenty of honey.  They are seriously hungry.  They are mean too.  They lit me up good a few times last summer.  I was kind of thinking they may have a touch of AHB and kind of expected them to be dead.  I really hope they have no AHB cause they look like they are going to give me some good splits come spring.
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Rosalind
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« Reply #26 on: January 01, 2011, 03:08:59 PM »

bee-nuts, thank you for posting those photos! That is very similar to what my hive looks like now, except my whole entire top deep plus about 1/2 the one below it, is chock-full of extremely peckish bees. No amount of smoke is calming them, they are buzzing at me like mad. They had at least 130 lbs. when I checked in September: two full deeps I could barely lift, plus one that was about 1/2 full in late Sept. I reckoned that would be plenty, but it seems they have eaten everything. I see plenty of dead bees scattered in the snow--am not sure if this is normal die-off (we just had a couple weeks of frigid temps in the teens) and they are taking today's warm weather as a housecleaning opportunity, or what. So I peeked inside, and they are all there right in the top, most definitely very alive and very angry.

We had a late summer, the weather didn't turn truly chilly until almost November. I wonder if they expanded their brood nest in October? There were flowers for them to eat, even in October. Normally this hive is so calm I can work with only a veil, no coat or gloves necessary, and not get a single sting. But boy are they ever hot now! I needed the full suit just to give them an entrance feeder of sugar water, hoping a snack will calm them down enough that they stop buzzing when I walk by...

Anyway, great pics! Thanks again, that is really helpful!
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bee-nuts
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« Reply #27 on: January 01, 2011, 11:13:16 PM »

We had an early winter and cold for November and December.  We had 22 inches of snow a couple weeks ago.  I checked on these the 24th or 26th (cant remember for sure) and saw they needed honey.  When I added this it was 40+ degrees (warmest in probably over a month) and the snow had melted alot.  There was a large pile of dead bees right outside entrance too that I could not see untill snow melted.  Im guessing they did not shut down and kept raising brood.  I did not keep records and I really need to cause Im guessing they probably supercieded late in season and queen went to town or it is something we all hope cant survive up here.  I also took four frames or more of brood from this colony at end of july to make nucs.  The colony was a hive gone bonkers, made lots of honey, but was mean as all heck.  It left well over 50 stings in my jacket and veil when I pulled brood for nucs.  I alway worked it last cause they would follow me all over the yard and not five up.  I never counted stingers but there was well over 50, maybe a 100 or more that one time.



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Rosalind
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« Reply #28 on: January 02, 2011, 11:06:19 AM »

I did not keep records and I really need to cause Im guessing they probably supercieded late in season and queen went to town or it is something we all hope cant survive up here.  
Oh my...Is it like Voldemort, you can't say the name a-H-B or they will show up? I had read somewhere (can't remember where) that Italians sometimes just do this sort of thing, they are not good about winterizing, hence one of the desirable traits of Russians.

Quote
I also took four frames or more of brood from this colony at end of july to make nucs.  The colony was a hive gone bonkers, made lots of honey, but was mean as all heck.  It left well over 50 stings in my jacket and veil when I pulled brood for nucs.  I alway worked it last cause they would follow me all over the yard and not five up.  I never counted stingers but there was well over 50, maybe a 100 or more that one time.

My girls seemed to settle down a bit when I gave them an entrance feeder. I don't blame them, I get snappy too when dinner is late.  Wink


Update: The sugar water feeder was really really helpful in getting them to calm down. I checked today to see how much fondant they ate (half of a big slab, they are hungry), put another 10 lb. of fondant on, and got about three stingers on my jacket. I had Spouse stand by with a sprayer full of sugar water, but there was really no need. Smoke was no help at all though. As soon as I put fresh candy on the top, they went nuts eating it up. Thought I would post just in case anyone else has this experience, so they will know the trick.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2011, 05:04:11 PM by Rosalind » Logged

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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #29 on: January 04, 2011, 09:18:06 PM »

See my comments under Progosticians in the Dark Side of the Moon section. http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,29999.0.html

From what my bees (and chickens) were demonstrating in Sept. and early Oct. I forcasted a long hard wet winter, all of which is coming true along with prolonged periods of below freezing temps.  The fact that my hives had almost full brood nests in early Oct. plus the fact that they were still actively foraging as if midsummer warned of the impending weather forcast from years (50+) of beekeeping.
I took my honey harvest and made sure the bees had 3 boxes of capped honey.  After redistributing the honey crop to fortify the hives for winter I got 4 pints for me.
I'm currently noticing that the bees are still foraging at temps of 35+ on mild days and are very active within the hive except on sub freezing temps.  This means the bees still are in a pre-winter foraging mode even though they have reduced the brood nest drastically.
The amount of dead bees attest to the amount of abnormal foraging and normal cluster loss for for this time of year.

I would suggest 1 of 2 strategies to help your hives survive the winter: 1. (best option) place fondant on the frames above the cluster, the larger the fondant slab the better., 2. (easiest option) Put out warm syrup on any day the bees are flying.  The syrup needs to be warm, the bees won't take it if it gets cold. It should be over 100 F when placed in the feeder.  The bees will stop taking it once it drops below around 50F.  It will take several hours for the syrup to drop from 100F to 50F with weather in the 40-50's F.  Pull the syrup and save it to reheat the next day the weather allows the bees to fly.


From the way the bees are acting we haven't see the worst of the winter yet (they're still foraging when they can), don't have sufficient stores as the unusually cold temps for fall forced them to use up what stores they had. Part of the lack of stores is due to carrying the brood production into late fall due to an anticipated long wet (cold?) winter.

Come spring a lot of bee keepers are going to find a lot of dead outs due to starvation from either lack of stores to carry through the winter or with some stores where the bees died from prolonged subfreezing temps that didn't allow them to access the stores they had.
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hardwood
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« Reply #30 on: January 04, 2011, 09:44:34 PM »

Brian, I need to have you pick some lottery numbers for me sometime...you've been spot on so far!

Scott
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"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #31 on: January 05, 2011, 04:09:49 PM »

Brian, I need to have you pick some lottery numbers for me sometime...you've been spot on so far!

Scott

Not me, I just listen to the Bees, and the cats, dogs, chicken, etc.  They have a lot to say if you take the time to understand them, learning Cat or Dog isn't any harder than learning Spanish or German.  Just call me Brian Doolittle.  applause
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T Beek
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« Reply #32 on: January 06, 2011, 12:43:04 PM »

Besides using my stethasope, Another non-invasive method "IF" Screened BottomBoards are used, on warmer (35 or above) days, I'll remove the trays and use a mirror to look up inside, if its cloudy I'll use a flashlight, otherwise the sunlight is usually enough to get a quick peek and you can check out the mite situation at the same time before returning the tray.

thomas
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slacker361
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« Reply #33 on: January 06, 2011, 03:30:47 PM »

I left my tray off....  should I not have down that?
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T Beek
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« Reply #34 on: January 06, 2011, 03:43:12 PM »

I and many others have had success leaving them open or closed.  I've done both but only for last five seasons with a 50/50 survival with both methods. 

Frankly I don't know what to make of it myself, but I've just got one open bottom Lang right now, my other three Langs have the trays in place which is the position I'm leaning toward at this moment in time Smiley  From what I've read, as long as they're not in a spot that gets too much wind, they should be fine in your neck of the world leaving it open.  That said, I don't think it would hurt to put it back on anytime during the winter season either. 

§¤«£¿æ has a hive that is completly open at bottom, not even a screen.  Haven't checked in there in a while but it was cool to say the least, but I think his climate is much less harsh than mine or yours.

thomas
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