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Author Topic: Undrawn frames going into winter  (Read 846 times)

Offline alkaline19

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Undrawn frames going into winter
« on: September 11, 2012, 12:35:52 PM »
I have a hive which was started from a 4 frame nuc back in May. I am a new beek, so all of the frames were undrawn (a combination of Mann Lake PF-120s and foundationless). It grew nicely into two 10 frame deeps over the course of the summer. However, the top deep only has 7 of 10 frames drawn out - there are 3 undrawn plastic frames on the outsides. I highly doubt they will become drawn before the first frost.

My question - should I leave the undrawn frames in for the winter, or maybe insert a piece of rigid insulation or...? Any advice gladly received. Regards, Alkaline.
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Offline Finski

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Re: Undrawn frames going into winter
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2012, 12:58:45 PM »
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It depends how many frames the hive needs for summer.

It needs only amount what it had brood frames now before end of brooding brake.

If you had 6 frames brood, you need 6 frames for winter.


So you must have enough ready combs because they have made their brood only to full drawn combs.

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Offline Parksguyy

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Re: Undrawn frames going into winter
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2012, 01:31:00 PM »
New Beek here as well, but I didn't get my nucs until the end of June.  I have two hives that have not drawn out the end frames in both the upper/lower brood chambers and maybe one or two others in the top brood chamber are not drawn out either.  I'm not overly worried going into winter this way, its my understanding that the bees are always apprehensive about filling out those end frames anyways.  I did manipulate my frames during the summer when possible to force them to drawn out all the frames.  The weather is starting to change here (Ottawa, Ontario), cooler nites and only mid 20's during the daytime.  I did notice yesterday, that the bees are getting pollen from somewhere, lots of it on their legs.  I started to feed 2:1 as well yesterday, noticed a couple of frames in my buddies hives that were completely empty of honey ... so maybe things are drying up for the season.  The bees will backfill those frames in no time I suspect.  Just my own observations as a first season beek.

Offline BlueBee

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Re: Undrawn frames going into winter
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2012, 10:32:50 PM »
The bees will fill those outer frames with pure honey once there is enough bees in the hive.  However if they don’t get it done this fall (and it sounds like they won’t), it’s not a big deal.  I don’t find my winter bees clustered over the outside frames very often anyways.  I think they use that honey more for raising spring bees, than for surviving winter.

As for frames that are undrawn, I have left hives/nucs like that in the past and have not had a problem.  This late in the season, the bees aren’t going to comb out much more.  If the undrawn frames are plastic (PF120s) I would leave them be.  The pests can’t hide in them or destroy them whereas a piece of foam could be problematic (ants, wax moth burrowing, bees chewing, etc).  I would put the foam about the outside of your hive instead.   

Offline MTWIBadger

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Re: Undrawn frames going into winter
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2012, 11:54:59 PM »
Alkaline
I feed my lighter hives in the fall internally and try to get them to fill out all the frames.  I feel I need both deep supers as full as possible to get them through the winter. 
You could make some sugar frames and place them in the hives.

I agree with Bluebee that insulating is important.

Offline Finski

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Re: Undrawn frames going into winter
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2012, 12:18:28 AM »

  I feel I need both deep supers as full as possible to get them through the winter. 

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You must feed the combs full. Otherwise bees do not cap the food.

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Offline BlueBee

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Re: Undrawn frames going into winter
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2012, 12:37:03 AM »
The problem the original poster has is a lack of drawn comb on 3 of the frames in the upper box.  It’s unlikely they’ll drawn 3 frames and cap before winter at this point.  The sugar frame MTWI Badger mentions might be worth trying in this case.  As Finski and MTWI suggest, it is best to have food available throughout the entire top box.  It is best not to have gaps in the food!

Offline T Beek

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Re: Undrawn frames going into winter
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2012, 07:17:58 AM »
Exactly;  It is our job as Beeks to eliminate empty spaces as we (and bees) prepare for winter.  Two or three empty frames in a 2 deep set up is acceptable IMO and if there is comb on them then introducing a sugar mix (or honey if available) into those frames cells is appropriate.

Personally, I use 'Follower Boards' in both my Lang and LONG Hive set ups (created from normal frames with sides) for this very purpose.  It enables me to squeeze bees down to the space they require for winter and eliminates empty spaces.

t
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