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Author Topic: 8 frame medium wintering question  (Read 906 times)
Zoot
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« on: January 02, 2007, 09:21:12 PM »

I had been waiting for an opportunity to go into my hives and finally did so the other day. It's been warm enough (very strange winter here) but it's often quite windy on the warmer days so I've held off. My hives seem strong and healthy and they had more stores than I had expected to see.

My question concerns my strongest hive that is wintering in four 8 frame mediums. The bees were very active on the day I inspected - many were actually bringing in pollen - but from what I could see, virtually all of the bees were clustered in the upper 2 boxes, almost none in the bottom 2. I assume that when it is cold now (most nights it goes below freezing) they cluster where I saw them - in the upper 2 boxes. In the lower 2 boxes almost every frame was at least half full of capped honey.

Should I move the 2 lower boxes with stores up above the 2 brood boxes? We have 2 months yet where winter could still hit with extreme cold.
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Finsky
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« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2007, 12:05:19 AM »


Should I move the 2 lower boxes with stores up above the 2 brood boxes? We have 2 months yet where winter could still hit with extreme cold.

Bees will make their brood area in the warm of topmost box. They may have allready brood because they bring pollen.

You may put capped frames on sides of topmost box and put the rest capped frames to second box.

If third box is vain, put there empty frames, put that lowest and when bees have crawled up, take a vain box away.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2007, 06:16:58 AM »

I would leave them alone.  They know where their stores are if you don't juggle them around too much.  You could take the bottom box off, but it doesn't really make any difference if they are at the top anyway.  Mine spend most of the winter at the top.  You can, as Finsky suggests, move some frames where they contact the cluster and they will find those easily enough.  But unless you have some extreme cold for long periods (unlikely in MD), they will find it anyway.

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Michael Bush
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2007, 06:53:21 AM »

It goes against general wisdom on the subject.  But I've mentioned before about bees breaking cluster to get to stores.  The bees seem to prefer a spot near the top center of the hive--regardless of how many boxes you have.  On warmer days some of the bees will mover stores from the further reaches of the hive to the center of the cluster while others are taking cleansing flights.  Just my observation and opinion.   I wouldln't worry Zoot.
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Finsky
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« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2007, 07:15:12 AM »


If bees forage pollen, it is warm enough that they move stores from periferia to centre.  It sounds not real winter with your pollen  grin
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kensfarm
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« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2007, 09:40:20 AM »

Zoot it is some crazy weather.. this morning 22F.. w/ a high of 55F for the day.  The girls have been flying every day it hit's 40 and not raining.  I set up a open feeder several weeks ago.. the ladies are all over it.

I have one hive of Italians that flies at 40F.. even when cloudy & windy..  my other 2 hives of Minn. Hygenics takes about 5 degrees warmer for them to come out.

The other day it was 65F+..  so many girls out it looked almost like bearding. 

I'm ordering some Feed Bee to have on hand..  w/ this mild weather.. I've seen several types of blooms..  if the warm weather holds we probably can start some early nucs/splits? 
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Zoot
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« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2007, 10:28:16 AM »

Thanks for all of the useful input.

Ken - my italians are out too in the cooler weather, even in the rain at times. When it's into the 50's which is often this winter they act like it's summer. The hive that I requeened with a russian hybrid seems to need low to mid 50's then they too are out in force.

Good question regarding starting nucs/splits early this year (if it stays warmer than usual)...anyone have thoughts on that?

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