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Author Topic: Wintering a Small Hive  (Read 1001 times)
bassman1977
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« on: September 11, 2006, 10:33:26 AM »

It's still a bit early for this, but I would like information for planning purposes.

I have a small hive that might not be able to survive winter due to its size.  I might be wrong on the method that was described to me during a conversation with our bee inspector so here goes.

I have a larger hive (will winter with 3 mediums) and then the smaller hive (will winter with 2 mediums).

The smaller hive currently has about 7 frames of bees.  Very little brood in the bottom box, none in the top.  Bottom box has lots of food, top has none.  Queen is present.

To help keep small hive warm, do I put two excluders on top of the inner cover of the large hive and then the small hive on top of the excluders, allowing a gap for bees to enter and exit?

Also, might it be a good idea to put the top box (empty cells but fully drawn comb) on the bottom since (from what I understand) the bees naturally work their way from top down anyway?

I'd appreciate some guidance.

Thanks in advance.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2006, 10:25:19 PM »

With a SBB you don't need to use a queen excluder at all.  If you put a cross piece under the entrance board so that the under side of the bottom is boxed in (like the rim on the inner top) you can place one hive on top of the other.  Use entrance reducers, especially on the upper hive.  Or you can just place the SBB ontop of the inner cover of the lower hive.

If you only have seven frames of bees in the one hive I would kill the queen and just combine the hives.  Nursing such a small cluster of bees through the winter is probably going to be a lost cause.  I would cut my losses and insure the survival of one.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2006, 10:26:15 PM »

If there are excluders the workers will move freely.  One of the queens will be left behind and you will have one queen and one hive.  You may as well do a combine.  If you put a think piece of plywood (1/4 luan) between the bottom strong hive and the top hive it will not let any water vapor through but some heat will transfer.  You could put the weak hive on top of this.

I tried nucs on top of hives with screened holes in inner covers but the condensation killed most of the nucs because all of the waste water vapor from the strong hive accumulated in the top.

You are probably better off to do a combine and buy a queen in the spring.
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bassman1977
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« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2006, 11:27:54 PM »

cry  cry Bummer...I was afraid I might get that input...and coming from the two of you, I'll respect and heed the advice.  Thanks gents.
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