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Author Topic: Fall Inspection and Question?  (Read 2584 times)
Irina
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« on: September 18, 2012, 02:58:24 PM »

Hello Everyone,

I have one concern while I am preparing my hives for the winter.

I have two hives, and this is my first season I harvested A LOT OF HONEY (a lot for me) from one hive and some from the second one. Took total of 28 medium frames of honey. Happy, Happy! My fourth year of beekeeping. Just wanted to share with you…. Early season honey is very light, sweet and smells like flowers. Late season honey is dark, a little bit spicy and has texture like a marmalade/jam… very tasty.

Last three days, night temperature was around 37 F… so past Sunday, I decided to do my Fall inspection getting ready the hives for the winter. Day temperature from 70 to 80 F, but it is getting cooler every day.

Both hives have the similar good conditions; a lot, lot of bees and good activity. I think they are still bringing the nectar and definitely pollen:
-   Bottom Deep box (10 frames) has brood in the middle and some honey and pollen storage, not a lot.  Most parts of the outside frames are empty. I am planning to remove the deep box in the spring just to go only with the mediums. Since it has brood and pollen, I don’t want to remove it now.
-   Second medium box from the bottom has brood in the middle; honey and pollen storage; some frames are partially filled. Total honey/pollen storage from  4 to 5 frames
-   Third medium from the bottom has brood in the middle honey and pollen storage; some frames are partially filled. Total honey storage from 4 to 5 frames
-   Forth medium from the bottom – almost full of honey

I usually leave a plenty of honey for the bees for the winter season. However, I have a concern about the number of boxes – total of 4 (one deep and 3 mediums).  I did not want to remove any boxes since three of them still has brood, and the top box is their food.
I do insulate them in November. Usually, we have a very cold winter.

Do you think my hives are too big to go through the winter? Any advices please???
Thank you. Irina
I obtained most of my beekeeping skills from this forum!
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Irina, NB

"Always learning"
Finski
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« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2012, 04:42:41 PM »

.
Difficult to give advices because your have written  your way onto stone.


It is a woman who turns man's head, but who turns woman's head. Never heard.
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indypartridge
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« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2012, 06:19:25 AM »

Quote
Do you think my hives are too big to go through the winter?
No. If they are full of stores, they should be fine. I know a number of northern beekeepers who overwinter in 3 deeps.
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D Semple
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« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2012, 08:44:16 AM »

.
Difficult to give advices because your have written  your way onto stone.


It is a woman who turns man's head, but who turns woman's head. Never heard.


Finski, you drinking vodka again?    huh  huh
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Finski
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« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2012, 09:02:54 AM »

. I know a number of northern beekeepers who overwinter in 3 deeps.

i live here at the same level as  Anchorage Alaska but NO ONE here over winter in 3 deeps.
Professionals over winter in one deep.

It is very important to reduce the wintering space about to 1/4 that of summer size.
The last brood area rules how big is the winter cluster.


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Irina
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« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2012, 01:12:14 PM »

Sorry, I forgot to mention at the beginning... I would welcome everyone advices besides Finski.
Thank you.
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Irina, NB

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derekm
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« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2012, 03:07:07 PM »

insulate early during the warm days and beware of dehydrating your bees over winter by over obsessing on keeping them dry. Top vents let out the water and humidity they need. During winter they need to drink. A warm roof and areas that collect a little water off to the side will help.

 Beaware that bee evolved to overwinter in nests  with no top vent and insulation levels 10 times greater than a standard wooden hive.  That means -20C winters are not a problem to bees in their natural habitat, they dont even need to cluster.
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If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
BlueBee
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« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2012, 03:42:32 PM »

Finski has good advice, when he wants to give it!

Like Finski, I think it is a bit of a waste to winter over in so many boxes.  However if you want to do it no big deal, just insulate them as Derekm suggests and they should be fine.  My bees in insulated hives quite often just stay in the bottom box. 

As for when to start insulating, anytime is fine in my opinion.  My bees are in super insulated boxes year round.  Even on 100F days, they were inside 1.5” to 2” thick insulated boxes.  I believe they really appreciate all that foam in the fall as they can extend their season just a bit more and dry the nectar faster.  We were in the upper 30s last night.  I sure enjoyed my insulated clothing this morning!

If you want to consolidate down to fewer boxes, I would probably just pull that top box and insulate.  That will give the bees a good month of time to fill the deep and 2 mediums with nectar.  If there’s not much in bloom there (goldenrod and asters) then feed 2:1 sugar water so they can fill the deep + 2 mediums.

No matter what you do (pull 3rd medium or not), you still need to get the bees to fill out the 1st and 2nd medium so there are no empty spots for the winter cluster to get stuck on and starve.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2012, 03:55:29 PM »

After re-reading your OP again, I might change my suggestion.  If you do plan to move to all mediums next year, I suppose I would probably just leave all 3 medium boxes in the stack and hope the bees move up into the mediums over winter and brood there in the spring (and not in the deep).  Come spring, you would really like all 3 medium boxes to have brood and hence I would probably keep your 3rd box on there just for that purpose.  Yes, it is a waste of honey IMO, but since your goal is to move to all mediums, I would probably accept that less than ideal setup for this winter.  Good luck and insulate well  Smiley
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Finski
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« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2012, 04:44:02 PM »

Sorry, I forgot to mention at the beginning... I would welcome everyone advices besides Finski.
Thank you.

yes. I never give advice to winter bees with honey. It is global wasting.
You should extract the honey and give them to poor families.
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Vance G
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« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2012, 03:54:18 PM »

Finski's advice is good enough for me.  It may not all apply, but I am far enough north that much does.   You said that pollen was critical to wintering.  Do you feed pollen or are you blessed with abundant availability and the bees that will store it?  I am feeding suppliment now and will start again one brood cycle before it will be available in my area.  Would you express your thoughts on that sir?
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Finski
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« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2012, 02:11:52 AM »

.


I like that "sir"

I use 3 brood box system. In practice bees gather the lowest box full of pollen in mainyield July. They store pollen somewhere and lowest box is naural place to it. It is a buffer too against cold air against brood area.

With that pollen store they rear winterbees in August.
Nucs  are often short of pollen because they have not enough foragers when pollen is abundant. Often nuc bees are smaller than normal hive bees.

Before winter feeding I press bees into one or two boxes.  I try to situate my hives on side of good canola fields and natural pastures. I avoid  dry sandy  wood area and tidy cultivated corn and hay fields.

When pressed into small volume I transport hives to my cottage yard and feed them.

Italian bee is such that it consumes pollen stores to end. So it has big winter cluster. So the cluster size depends on the amount of pollen. Carniolan bee leaves goodstores over winter and it starts early build up with that store. When feeded with patty Italian build up is as fast.

I have tried once to make colonies with pollen patty and electrict heating before autumn. It was 6 hives and build up was amazing. However they all became sick and almost died during winter. They really need genuine pollen.

If pastures have not pollen, the hives stop larva feeding. It is natural sign to bees that autumn is coming.

.honey is valuable
 20 kg honey is value  140 euros. Value of sugar is 20 euros. What idea is to feed  120 euros to the hive!   The only reason is a wrong understanding.



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BlueBee
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« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2012, 09:45:58 PM »

This time of year, my bees are hauling in lots of pollen again.  Still lots of things in bloom here for the bees to pick from.  Interestingly, one of their favorite pollen sources in my fall (and late fall) garden are the dahlias.  They completely ignore them until September, then they go madd over them.  Dahlias usually keep going strong until we get a hard frost (26F).
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Vance G
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« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2012, 10:54:37 PM »

OK Finski!  Don't get too cocky about the Sir.  It is a matter of respect and in spite of being an irrascible old pain in the butt, your knowledge is to be respected.  And I thank you for your comments, Sir. 
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bernsad
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« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2012, 11:15:14 PM »

Irrascible. There's a word that doesn't get used often enough. Has a good ring to it don't you think? grin
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Finski
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« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2012, 11:18:05 PM »

OK Finski!  Don't get too cocky about the Sir.  It is a matter of respect and in spite of being an irrascible old pain in the butt, your knowledge is to be respected.  And I thank you for your comments, Sir.  

Don't worry. Modesty has never been one of my goodness.

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Vance G
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« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2012, 11:49:18 PM »

Well riddle me this,  I just did a sugar roll and found I have a terrible mite infestation in my overwintered hives.  I know I should ahve found this out a monthy ago, but I didn't.  They are doubles and pretty well stuffed with honey.  About four frames with sizeable amount of sealed brood and a frame or two uncapped and winding down for the season fast.  I need to knock the mite load down now and don't thing I should wait til they are broodless to drizzle Oxalic.  I am leaning toward Apistan or Api life var.   I have been experimenting with  various controls that don't seem to have done the job.  The bees have been on 4.9 mm frames since I got them as nucs April 2011.  I have sacrificed drone brood  frames.  They had a brood break where I took a nuc from them last spring and made them raise a new queen.   Last spring I fed Oil of Thyme and Oregano for a brood cycle with Lemon grass oil to speed their taking it while raising brood.   Must have just been a fine year for mites. 
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Finski
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« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2012, 03:49:03 AM »

.
You seems to do much work with your mites. Much vain work.

Api var is thymol based 75%. Eucalyptus oil 15%.

In autumn treatment should be 3 weeks because thymol or formic acid does not affect on capped brood.

The efficacy is about 70-80%. Then in winter oxalic acid trickling knock down the rest of mite
when hive is broodless.
.


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Vance G
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« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2012, 10:14:19 AM »

Hey, you called me a fool so politely!  You must be changing your ways!  Fortunately, it is a warm fall and the weather forcast predicts I have time for three treatments.  Thanks for your input.  And I meant Apiguard NOT apistan
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bernsad
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« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2012, 06:41:12 PM »

Last spring I fed Oil of Thyme and Oregano for a brood cycle with Lemon grass oil to speed their taking it while raising brood.

How do you prepare the oils and how do you feed them to the bees, please?
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Vance G
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« Reply #20 on: September 24, 2012, 10:33:05 PM »

I would put 15 drops of each and 5 of lemon grass oil (per 3.8ltrs) in a blender with a a couple cups of 1:1 syrup.  Blend it on highest level for five minutes and emulsify the oil into the syrup and mix that syrup with your feed.  If you do not emulsify the oil it just floats on top of the syrup.  WARNING!  Buy your own blender or whatever you Aussies call them.  I used wintergreen the year before and my wife still points out to me every time she uses it, that it still smells like wintergreen!  Just get your own at a used goods store.   
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bernsad
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« Reply #21 on: September 25, 2012, 01:30:13 AM »

Thanks for the info Vance, and yes, my wife would be ticked if I ruined her blender too! grin
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Finski
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« Reply #22 on: September 25, 2012, 01:49:00 AM »

Last spring I fed Oil of Thyme and Oregano for a brood cycle with Lemon grass oil to speed their taking it while raising brood.

How do you prepare the oils and how do you feed them to the bees, please?

oh mine....goodnessss

first thing: feeding sugar in spring does not add brooding.
Second: those oils do not help  bees. What they do is that they may spoil early honey yield.
The are no advices which recomend to  do this way.

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Finski
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« Reply #23 on: September 25, 2012, 02:03:31 AM »


I obtained most of my beekeeping skills from this forum!


It is necessary that everyone reads some beekeeping books. They MUST be quite new.
To read Brother  Adam Stories does not work.

To follow beekeeper forum arvices will ruin all beekeeping.
90% of forum advices are carbage.

When you nurse hives, one way is enough to do it. You need not try all 5 or 10 anternative tricks on your few hives. You need not try all what guys feel nice to try.

I have nursed bees 50 years.  99% out of forum tricks are such that I have never needed.

I have met much guys who do not undestand much about bees but bees stand many kind of beekeepers. It is more bees' ability to adapt than beekeepers' skills.

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Vance G
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« Reply #24 on: September 25, 2012, 10:57:37 AM »

You are absolutely correct about the bees surviving us, who are a clumsy symbiont.  Thankyou for your patience in explaining these things.  We do not try new things just to make you mad or kill bees.   Patience!  And thankyou for explaining.
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