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Author Topic: Number of supers and enough honey/pollen till spring  (Read 608 times)
gdog
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« on: September 11, 2013, 09:19:07 AM »

I have heard that you should knock the size of the hive down but won't the large number of bees eat the limited amounts of honey that is there and they won't make it till spring?  I need a better understanding of how this is all done. Thanks
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OldMech
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« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2013, 12:18:18 PM »

The size of the hive needs to correspond with the amount of bees.

   Less bees means a smaller cluster. In a large space, they cant get to the stores and starve with their heads buried in the empty cells inches from food. That same small group of bees in a smaller space can heat it better, allowing them to move more to reach the stores. Smaller amount of bees need LESS space and stores to make it through the winter.  A few bees in a large space will likely see them starve, as i said, inches from food if they cant break cluster to get to it.

  In general, I winter with two deeps or three mediums. In a perfect situation those two deeps or three mediums are packed full of winter stores, pollen and honey.
   IF.. i had a late swarm, and the number of bees is not large enough to fill those two deeps or three mediums, then a deep, or a medium is removed to reduce the size of the hive, WHILE making sure the stores they have fill the space they will inhabit. If they had extra frames of stores (Honey/Pollen)  freeze them, and if they run low on stores come spring you can return the frames to them, swapping out empty frames to keep them going until the flow starts.




   
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2013, 01:50:31 PM »

>I have heard that you should knock the size of the hive down but won't the large number of bees eat the limited amounts of honey that is there and they won't make it till spring?

You need to leave enough for the number of bees.  That depends mostly on the number of bees and somewhat on the race of bees.  Some are more frugal and some are more extravagant. 

http://www.bushfarms.com/beeswinter.htm#Feeding
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
Orlando
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« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2013, 02:00:07 PM »

When is the best time to do this?

Are you actually getting rid of bees or just space and honey?
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gdog
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« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2013, 03:58:01 PM »

I run deeps as brood areas and mediums as brood areas on my hives. Plan on going to all mediums. 

If I have deeps should I have at least two deeps on that hive a total of three the brood deep and two honey? Or just the brood and one honey?

Same as for the mediums.  A medium for the brood and two mediums on top or the brood medium and one honey medium? I don't want to see them starve out.
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mdax
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« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2013, 04:00:01 PM »

Isn't the answer completely based on geography?  A friend up north said she needed at least 4 supers of honey to make it till spring while folks here said they could get by with one...
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2013, 09:00:11 AM »

>When is the best time to do this?

Usually at harvest time people adjust the size of the hive.

>Are you actually getting rid of bees or just space and honey?

No, not getting rid of bees.
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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
T Beek
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« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2013, 10:19:00 AM »

By eliminating excess space bees are forced to fill every available cell with honey/pollen for winter.  With egg laying minimized there are empty cells to fill.  Reducing space keeps honey where it is needed by bees throughout winter......if all else goes well  Wink.
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Orlando
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« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2013, 06:59:04 PM »

Approximately when do most northern beeks harvest?

I am in lower hudson valley NY and realize conditions can be extremely variable....just thinking gross approximation.

My thoughts were after the goldenrod blooms are finished Huh
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OldMech
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« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2013, 09:34:59 AM »

that depends on your area as far as the flow, and the stores the bees have, AND the type of bees you have.
   I leave the supers on until the goldenrod flow is done, which , is about any day now..  then pull the supers.. "I" get what is in the supers.
   I do not touch what they have stored in the brood chambers I left on.

  I know some beeks that take every drop of honey they can scrounge, and then feed syrup like crazy to replace it. I don't like to do that. I feed 2/1 syrup, but its only to supplement what they have, not replace it.

I am also switching to all mediums, but still have some deeps.. so I leave two deeps, or three mediums, and let them backfill with the remaining nectar / pollen in the area for a couple of weeks, then start feeding 2/1 syrup AWAY from my hives with a bit of honey-B-Healthy.
   I know ppl say outside feeding causes robbing.. But putting a few feeders out about 60 - 80 feet from the hives HAS in the past almost instantly stopped any robbing. It is ONLY my theory that it gives those robbers something else to focus on, and or reduced the desire to risk their lives to rob when something good is available so close.

   I do a check on the hives before winterizing to see how well they did, and try to make sure they have full stores. Every frame filled with pollen/honey/syrup. Adding back the frozen frames etc. I make notes which hives are best off, which seem a little light.
   I winterize and leave them alone until...  Say, Mid January we get a 50 degree + day that is sunny.. even here in Iowa that does happen. One January my wife and I were horseback riding and it was 67 degrees. Sometimes we dont get a good day like that until early March. Sometimes we DONT GET a decent day, in which case I have to watch the weather and PICK a day and go with it... 
  I pop the inner covers and look to see where they are at. If they still have stores I put the cover back on and leave them alone. If they are in the top box and stores are low, I put newspaper on the top bars and pour granulated sugar on it. then cover it up and leave them alone.

  My Italians usually need sugar. My Carniolans are 50/50 sometimes they do, sometimes they dont. My Feral bees usually come out of winter with excess stores.
   Some people use candy boards through the winter.. I tried it, and apparently dont have the necessary cooking skills and ended up with a mess.  There are recipes out there for making boards with out cooking the sugar mixture.. but, I dont see much benefit to those over the granulated sugar. I like the moisture absorption of the granulated sugar.

   Everyone does things differently, everyone has their own tried and true method. Figure out what you like, what you are comfortable with and go with it.  Beekeeping is a learning experience, its heartbreaking, and its thrilling. It is expensive at times, and its rewarding at times.  When you do something that fails, and you lose bees, it hurts, but dont let it make you quit, let it teach you not to do that again, and the painful reward of that is, you just learned, and got better.
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MsCarol
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« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2013, 09:59:04 AM »


[/quote]
   I know ppl say outside feeding causes robbing.. But putting a few feeders out about 60 - 80 feet from the hives HAS in the past almost instantly stopped any robbing. It is ONLY my theory that it gives those robbers something else to focus on, and or reduced the desire to risk their lives to rob when something good is available so close.

   .....but, I dont see much benefit to those over the granulated sugar. I like the moisture absorption of the granulated sugar.

 

That theory makes good sense. By feeding away from the hives, it would be much like the bees finding a "hot source" of nectar. They should be too busy to risk trying to rob their neighbors.

As this climate is rather "moist" during the winter months, should I have to feed late winter, I am remembering the news paper and granulated sugar trick.
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gdog
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« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2013, 11:36:56 AM »

What I plan on doing is if my brood box is a large or medium I will keep it and leave behind two of the same as the brood, full of honey stores and see how that goes. I have plenty of honey supers on them right now. The golden rod is flowing nicely. I don't want to have too many supers so they have to heat such a large area over winter and freeze out.
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