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Author Topic: Overwinter in Two or Three Boxes?  (Read 847 times)
The Bix
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« on: August 21, 2013, 01:34:38 PM »

I have three Warre hives and the resident colonies are currently in the middle of building out the combs in the bottom boxes.  One of the colonies is building out the third box and the other two are building out the fourth.  I have nadired and not supered the boxes.  Everything I've read, which isn't much, says that I should harvest from the top and over winter the colonies in two boxes.  If the girls haven't finished filling up the bottom box with comb, what should I do?  

I am tempted to have them overwinter in three boxes--two full of comb and stores and the bottom with partial comb, stores and brood.  What would you do?

Thanks!
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Oblio13
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« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2013, 01:44:39 PM »

I don't think partially-filled or even empty boxes on the bottom hurt anything, since heat rises. If anything, an extra box keeps the cluster high-and-dry, away from the drafty entrance, and is prepositioned for spring.

Right now it looks like my two Warres will be overwintering in three and four boxes, respectively. They've drawn comb in all of those, and I figure they can store and care for it at least as well as I can. If they make enough honey on the fall flow I'd like to harvest a box or two, but right now they're both pretty light.

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The Bix
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« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2013, 11:28:14 PM »

Thanks Oblio13...I was thinking the same thing...what could it hurt to leave everything together as is?
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Oblio13
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« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2013, 06:44:08 AM »

The only potential problem I can see is if you split your hive in the spring. If you have two boxes, when you smoke the bees down from the top box you know she's in the bottom box. If you have three boxes, you can't be so sure. It's not a serious problem because you can just move both lower boxes. (Ordinarily you'd move the one lower box and then add another underneath it.)
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2013, 07:36:12 AM »

I think you really need to think in terms of how much stores for how many bees.  If you have a large cluster, three would be appropriate.  If you have a medium sized cluster two would be appropriate.  If you have a small cluster one might be best...
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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
Oblio13
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« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2013, 07:23:51 PM »

Just went through my two Warre's. The first has one full box of honey, one partial box of honey and brood, and two boxes of empty drawn comb. I think they're in good shape for winter and ready to boom in the spring.

The other has one full box of honey and brood, and two boxes of empty drawn comb. I think they'll be okay by the time cold weather hits, they're pretty active and hopefully we've got another couple or three weeks of Asters blooming.





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