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Author Topic: Wintering hives  (Read 7515 times)
BEE C
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« on: August 08, 2006, 04:57:47 PM »

Hey everyone,
I had a rookie question about wintering.  I have some nice extracted frames that I would like to add back to my hive today.  I have four and three boxes on each hive.  I know in a couple of weeks I will have to reduce the size of the hive down to two boxes, so my question is how should I arrange this?  I have frames with mostly pollen, honey capped with pollen and brood frames.  Can I leave the extracted frames for brood frames? I assume if I put them into the hives like that they will clean them out and rebuild them for brood frames?  I Fed one half covered with comb and pollen back to them already as I had taken out frames for extraction and had an extra.  Is there some sort of order to wintering frames.  I just assume its like in the spring?
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2006, 10:23:09 PM »

Putting the supers back on the hive and letting the bees clean out the residue is one way of doing it.  Placing the lot out in the open will usually start a robbing frenzy.  If they dress the comb in the process so much the better for next year.  Put them on the hives for a few days and then remove them.  It is better to have excess stores than not enough.
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BEE C
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« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2006, 10:38:01 PM »

Thanks brian, I put the extracted super on top of the one hive with three brood boxes (smaller one) and put the remaining few frames onto the larger hive.  It started to rain here this afternoon, so this should give them something to do...
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Finsky
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« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2006, 01:30:31 AM »

Quote from: BEE C
 I know in a couple of weeks I will have to reduce the size of the hive down to two boxes, so my question is how should I arrange this?


You live on other side of globe but I suppose that wintering is near like in Finland.

First, insulated boxes woud be good in your area. It protects colony in winter and accelerates much spring build up.

Second : not too much sace for winter. Moisture condensates easily in empry places and they get mold.

third: ventilation in winter


It is not sure yet does hive need for winter 2 or 1 box.  The winter ball will be as big as brood area in late summer. If you have  12-14 frames brood, hive needs 2 boxes. If brood frames are 8 , one box will be enough.

My hives are still full of brood and queen continues laying. Just now I keep pollen frames in lower box and I know that before autumn bees consume most of store.

I put in the first week of September hives in feeding condition and take the rest honey away.

Rest of brood frames I put in lower box. Winter ball starts there where is last brood. Feeding start a bit brood raising.

On the side of brood in lower box I give white frames. Old frames get mold easily in winter.  

On the side of wall it is usefull put a foundation. It helps hive's ventilation.

In upper box from wall I put  foundation, empty frame, pollen frames and in the middle  4 empty frames which will be full of food. Against wall pollen will get mold. If pollen is in lower box, bees do not get it in spring from cold box.

So I feed to 2 box  20 kg sugar as syrup. To one box hive I feed as much as it takes during week.

If you feed too early, hive has too much brood and they cannot fill the center of hie.

Quote
Is there some sort of order to wintering frames.  I just assume its like in the spring?
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BEE C
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« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2006, 03:36:43 PM »

Thanks Finsky,
Even though your on the other side of the globe, Its helpful to know what arrangement you use for your frames going into winter.  i.e. pollen upstairs, etc.  Those are the kinds of tricks of the trade that help a newbie.  It gets about 15 below zero here during winter only for a few weeks.  Moisture is going to be the challenge for me during winter.  I have an idea of what kind of winter wrap I need to make, but the upper entrance I have is cut out of the inner cover lip.  I don't know if thats enough.  The hives will also be in my hive hut, so I'm not sure what effect that will have on the hives, colder because of no sun exposure, or warmer from a wind break effect.  Thanks for the info.
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Finsky
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« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2006, 03:49:55 PM »

Quote from: BEE C
The hives will also be in my hive hut, so I'm not sure what effect that will have on the hives, colder because of no sun exposure, or warmer from a wind break effect.  Thanks for the info.


You do not need hive wraps because hives are inside the hut.  Sun does not help during coldest winter. Wind shelter is very good. Upper entrance is essential that moisture flows from hive.

Mouse is bad and you must protect against them.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2006, 10:28:32 PM »

Bee C.
I believe you are still south of London's longitude, I know I'm only about 50 miles south of you and I am.  I have never had to "winterize" a hive by wrapping with tar paper or other insulation.  Just button down the hive by reducing the entrance size as the weather turns bad.
When I was a Kid back in the 60's I had a lot of contact with beekeepers from the lower mainland and all used the same methods we did here in NW Washington.  The climate etc., is pretty much the same with the major variant being a slight delay in bloom onset.
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Finsky
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« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2006, 11:22:34 PM »

Tar paper gives very few insulation. Canada have had a good research about wrapping materials.

Tar paper is against water.  We use here tar paper even if we have insulated hives bodies. It is old habit and makes often no sence.  It was used 50 years ago and it is used with stryrofoam hives.  I don't.

My friend has made  a shelter from stryrofoam board. He piles hives inside the big box. It has open bottom. Hives produce so much warm that some autumn hhe has difficuies to keep temperature under +5C.
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BEE C
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« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2006, 04:07:12 AM »

Mr Bray and Finsky,
Thanks for more info.  I think I might try not wrapping the hives.  One less thing to do this fall, more time to work on getting the rest of the firewood in....Dr Bee my instructor uses a piece of hard foam insulation between the inner and outer cover.  I might try this as it makes sense to keep heat from escaping as much as possible upwards.  I have a lip cut out of my inner covers for an upper entrance.  Now the outer cover fits over the inner, so the outer cover has to be pushed far ahead to not block the upper entrance.  Is this enough of an upper entrance do you think?  I saw some ventilated hive designs on the web which use a short upper chamber with vent holes.  In winter apparently they are reduced anyways, but I was curious, how big of a hole is good for an upper entrance in winter? What do you two use for an upper entrance?  I assume my equipment is pretty standard?
                                                                 thanks. steve
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2006, 04:18:14 AM »

Just remember that excess moisture can cause more winter loss than tempature will.  Ice in the hive can be deadly.  Some venting is necessary even if all you do is drill a small hole or two in the inner cover frame.
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Matz
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« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2006, 04:29:04 AM »

I use styrospan foam insulation built into all my covers. Centered hole cut out for top feeding (save the cut out wood and use for plug) and a dato groove (top entrance) on the front bottom of the cover 2"x3"x3/8"depth with a swivle piece of metal to close up in summer months. The styro insul is 1.5" thick and has an R7.5 value which sure helps for our long cold winters up here. Wrap the sides with R7.5 and throw a R28 pillow on top for winter. The styro covers are great for early spring feeding when the temps are still cool to unwrap, just take the pillows off and throw a feed container on.  

The side wraps/pillows are easily made.  Buy some UV resistant poly, some fiberglass insulation and have a iron on hand.  Cut insul to desired size (single or double deep), wrap in poly and iron on low with piece on tinfoil over bottom of iron to prevent melting.  I'm in Manitoba so its considerably colder here, what I use may be overkill for BC, but it gives you an idea.
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Finsky
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« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2006, 05:35:40 AM »

In winter upper entrance let escape moist respiration air from hive. I have the size I may put my little finger in.  

Respiration air condensates on inner walls and in cold corners too and  bottom board may be slanting or mesh.

I have bottom board but it is important that in back corners there are 2 holes. In my hives thay are one inch wide.

I have plastic deeps but when you have wooden deeps, condensation water will go into wood and hive is really wet during winter.

It is important to understand that hive has 22 C temperature in the ball and bees respirate.  There is some point where  warm respiration air meets enough cold and moisture attach on surfaces.  When it -8C outside I may see ice inside the hive in top corners and they are insulated boxes.
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BEE C
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« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2006, 06:00:47 AM »

Finsky/Matz,
Thanks again.  I have decided to build winter wraps after all.  I want to do an experiment.  I have built a wooden cover that fits over the hive.  Inside the cover is R-15 insulation squeezed in.  I will get some board type insulation foam for the inner cover too.  Mice are going to be a problem for me so I need to keep the lower entrance small.  I was thinking of just drilling a small hole or two through the two inch board at the bottom of the winter sheath.  The upper entrance I will just cut the sheath away from, and make a small landing board.  I'll post pics soon, but its not quite done.  Finsky, I was curious about the small holes in the corners?  You said an inch wide?  Thats too big to keep mice out?  I might just drill some 3/8 inch holes?  I was also curious about the mesh floor?  I thought it might be too cold?  I would like to make a screened bottom so I could slide out the floor and remove the dead bees every month or so.  Is a screened bottom board ok?  Thanks for the replies.  I may be going overboard, but I'm curious how this turns out for the bees?  The warmer and better air circulation the better, no?                                  steve
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Finsky
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« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2006, 08:41:18 AM »

BEE

When you make a big closet on your hives from insulated board it will be very good. My frien keeps 15 hives so and he said that bees produce so much warm that somethimes place is too hot.

Bottom is open and space gets veltilation there. Mice will not be problem.
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kensfarm
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« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2006, 09:46:25 AM »

Since we are talking about winterizing..  I have a few questions.  

Using SBB's..  do most beeks put the sticky board back into the hives to keep it from beeing so open..  & give some protection from the wind?  My hives are on stands about 18 inches off the ground.

Has anyone used the silver colored "bubble-type" insulation for hive covers?  

At what tempature range would be cold enough that the bees would stop feeding on sugar water provided?

What is the estimated/average sugar water intake for winter feeding?

Is the starting of winter feeding gauged by the date of the first frost in the area you live?  Basically do you start feeding #days/#weeks before the expected frost date?  

Thankyou!  Ken
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Mici
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« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2006, 10:02:33 AM »

Quote from: kensfarm

At what tempature range would be cold enough that the bees would stop feeding on sugar water provided?

What is the estimated/average sugar water intake for winter feeding?

Is the starting of winter feeding gauged by the date of the first frost in the area you live?  Basically do you start feeding #days/#weeks before the expected frost date?  

Thankyou!  Ken


I've heard many ways and ammounts of feeding. one of my...well, he would be my #1 beekeeper said that at least 14kg per hive starting in mid august, 1.st september at last. if you mix 1:1, you get from 1 l and 1 kg exactly 1,5l of syrup. you do the rest of the math:
my menthor told me to start feeding (a little, just to keep "pedal to the metal") with 1. august and to feed aprox. 10kg per hive. he said he waited a couple of years for fall harvest but most of times got nothing but empty hives in spring. so he was feeding in september and later. he also added that some feed in december.
and i'm almost certain that frost date has nothing to do with feeding.

about when to feed, how much to feed you should really advise with the first GOOD beekeeper in the area. honey flows differ from valley to valley, so does climate, so you have to know the local conditions.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #16 on: August 30, 2006, 05:55:51 PM »

To  answer a few of the numerous questions above:
1. Heat goes up, not down, so the screened bottom board has nil effect on the bees as the cluster is above the bottom board.  The screened bottom board also allows the condensed moisture to "rain" out of the hive reducing water and ice buildup inside the hive.  SBBs actually benefit the bees during winter.
2. Some type of vent at the top of the hive is necessary to vent moisture regarless of the temperature.  The moisture condenses into water and can freeze lowering the temp inside the hive and by proximity that of the cluster so bees begin to die, the more that die from cold temps (and ice inside the hive) the more will due to decreased size of the cluster and consumption of stores will increase due to the effort to produce more heat.   3/8 inch holes should work, 1 inch holes are lare enough to allow a mouse to enter.
3. Bees will begin to fly anytime the temperature excedes 50 degrees Farenhiet (approx 6 degrees Celecius) regardless the time of the year, yes even in the middle of winter.  the further above the minimum temp the more bees will become active.  I've noted bees to fly at temps as low as 45F. The hive will do some house cleaning jobs during those times.
4. The date of the first frost has little, if anything, to do with determining when bees begin to winter.  Winter mode takes place whenever the the mean temperature is near or below 50F for several consecutive days with the exception of #3.  The further the temperature drops below the 50F the less active the bees will be.  As they use up the honey under there feet they will move to an area of more stores during the warmer temps of winter.
5. Feeding can be done anytime the temperature is above 50F as the bees will be active enough within the hive to allow it.  It is best, however, to be fairly certain that there will be more than just one day of such temperatures so they can get all of the feed (I do 1 gallon at a time) so that the bees are not strung out between the main cluster and the feeder.

I hope this helps, if not i can address further concerns later.
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Finsky
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« Reply #17 on: August 31, 2006, 08:26:51 AM »

Quote from: Mici

my #1 beekeeper said that at least 14kg per hive starting in mid august, 1.st september at last.

if you mix 1:1, you get from 1 l and 1 kg exactly 1,5l of syrup. you do the rest of the math:
my menthor told me to start feeding (a little, just to keep "pedal to the metal") with 1. august and to feed aprox. 10kg per hive.


Mici, you live quite south from me. I suppose that your summers ends 1,5 months later than here. It depends are you on mountains.

Here those who use excluder and they pull all honey from hives at the beginning of August they feed at once hives because hive have no stores. They press hive to wintering position.   They too have hundreds of hives and they must begin early because it takes weeks to go through all hives.

When you have 10-20 hives, you may handle then during one week.  If you have less, it take one or two days to put in condition.   There is no use to play like professionals.

I have any hive here in wintering position and I have still supers on hives. It is raining and I wait that weather clears.

You have no hurry in USA or in Slovenia for winter.

When you feed winter sugar 60% is good.  50% is too wetty.  66% is too slow to handle for bees. They get thirsty. When you put container full of sugar and then you pour boiling water container full, you get proper winter solution.

It takes one week to hive fill combs. Then bees need 2 weeks to cap sugar.  This has nothing to do with first frost. First frost may come 1 month later but you don't know that when. Or it comes when you are feeding. Don't care.
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Mici
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« Reply #18 on: August 31, 2006, 08:51:12 AM »

Quote from: Finsky


Mici, you live quite south from me. I suppose that your summers ends 1,5 months later than here. It depends are you on mountains.

Here those who use excluder and they pull all honey from hives at the beginning of August they feed at once hives because hive have no stores. They press hive to wintering position.   They too have hundreds of hives and they must begin early because it takes weeks to go through all hives.



kheh, when it comes to determination about start of the winter or summer i freeze. i really don't know exactly. anyway, he told me to start feeding early because the winter bees are being layed and developed with the start of august, there aren't any strong honey flows so it's good to feed, but not to much, every second day a pint maybe, so by the end of september the feeding should be done.
the first snow comes..it had come in november but usually real snow comes in december and lasts til....march i think. depends on the year. last year, or should i say this year, there was over 100 days without sufficient temperatures for the bees. so they didn't do a "cleaning" flight in over 100 days. but this is extreme.
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Christopher Behl
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« Reply #19 on: August 31, 2006, 12:48:24 PM »

Brian,

From a newbee in New Mexico: My hive was captured from a swarm in July. I have just added my third deep with ten frames with drawn -out combs. I will be adding an 8 frame honey super in about three weeks. Honey, pollen and brood appear to be ever increasing in good proportions, (As far as a newbee can determine) but I'm still concerned about two things right now. Number 1. Ventilation, and I think you mentioned a 3/8th inch hole to be adaquate. Would I drill the holes in the top of the top super or some other location? How many spaced holes? It does stay well above 50F here year except for maybe two months.

And also you mentioned my number 2 question:

 (I do 1 gallon at a time) so that the bees are not strung out between the main cluster and the feeder.

In what sort of device do you feed them the 1 gallon? And I'm not quite sure what you mean by "strung out". Is this simply a distance critera, to keep them from having to travel too far?

Your comments have been very useful, as well as the other experianced beekeepers in this forum!

If you wouldn't mind a few more SIQ's (Stupid Idiot Questions) from me as  my bees and I head for winter prep, I'd sure appreciate it.

Interesting website you have also!

Thanks...Newbee in New Mexico
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