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Author Topic: Winter hive configuration, consolidation?  (Read 475 times)
jazzybeez
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Location: Upstate New York


« on: November 09, 2012, 08:28:02 AM »



We have been beekeeping for 3 years.  We have had as many as five hives and now have one.  Last year we were beaten up pretty badly by swarms so this year we were on a vigilant swarm watch through the spring and summer. Our lone hive was doing very well with a large, healthy and productive population. Mid August arrived and they never swarmed.  We spoke to a friend of ours, an experienced beekeeper, and he seemed to think that if they hadn’t swarmed by mid-August then most likely they were not going to swam at all.  This was just what we wanted to hear.  So we added a few supers went about our business, let them go about theirs and unfortunately, let our guard down.

So in mid-September when we went to do our usual varroa management.  We opened the hive and …...…. what happened to all the bees?  We found the queen, eggs, some capped brood, lots of honey etc. but the population was way down, at least nothing like it was in August  …  we had miscalculated, they must have swarmed.

We again consulted with our friend the beekeeper and he looked at the hive.  He told us that the bulk of our current population was congregating in the upper supers and that in the winter bees move up so if we didn’t flip the brooders to the top and supers to the bottom  the bees would not make use of all the honey in the brooders.  So we took his advice and now we have a configuration of  two brooders on top and three supers on the bottom.  Our question is this, should we worry about consolidating the hive for winter?  Are two brooders, threes supers to big of a space for a smaller population of bees to keep warm?  We live in upstate New York near the Canadian border.  We want to give our bees the best chance of surviving the winter.  Next week they are calling for a couple of days in the mid fifties, probably our last chance to do any reconfiguring this year.  Should we consolidate the hive or just leave it alone?
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Finski
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Location: Finland


« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2012, 08:46:23 AM »

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It looks like your hive should be in one box over winter. It it has only 3 box in summer, it surely not need more than one box.

The winter cluster will be same size as last brood area before broodings stops. Other bees die and those last brood will be wointer bees.

Extra room for winter makes only harm to bees. If you take exrta boxes off, then shake their  bees in front of the hive, they walk in and no cluster will stay out, the box is then good for wintering.

Of course there are colonies which need only 5 frames for winter, and what ever they are.
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jazzybeez
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Location: Upstate New York


« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2012, 10:34:15 AM »

Thank you for your response.

Would there be enough honey in one brooder to get them through the winter?
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Finski
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« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2012, 10:49:02 AM »

Thank you for your response.

Would there be enough honey in one brooder to get them through the winter?

If the hive is insulated, it will be enough.
Of course you must make sure that combs are full.
When hives make cleansing flight, you should sheck with hand, that hive is heavy and it has still food, If it is light, then you give those
capped honey frames to the hive or put the whole box over the hive in March or something.

You should make clear, how you winter the fees with idiotic sure system.

I like at the level of Anchorage and on average 20 kg sugar keeps the hive alive from September to May with very simple system,

- honey off
- reduce the hive to one or 2 boxes.
. shake bees into those wintering boxes
. feed sugar as 1:2 syrup

. insulated hives = saves energy 30% = instead of 6 months the store lasts 9 months.
- good spring build up = good early yield

No wrapping, no empty boxes up or down

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« Last Edit: November 09, 2012, 01:41:27 PM by Finski » Logged

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jazzybeez
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Location: Upstate New York


« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2012, 11:18:55 AM »

Thank you so much for your advice.
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