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Author Topic: Winter advice  (Read 1438 times)

Offline Crysalismum

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Winter advice
« on: May 05, 2018, 03:39:36 am »
I have a 8 frame Langstroth hive with two deep brood bases and they were completely full (frames covered in bees with a decent mix of capped honey nector and a lot of good brood and about two upper edges (about 2 inch band) of the edge upper outer frames having some drawn comb that was uncapped/covered about 6 weeks ago and I was worried about late fall swarming & was given advice by a local beekeeper to put a queen excluder and another on- I put a 8 frame ideal./half sized & used a combination plastic frames & foundations painted in wax as there was a shortage of supply of the timber ones & I was a bit time poor and didn?t have a wiring jig set up etc.

Its getting cold and I checked on the hive today and they have not touched the top level at all - no bees in there -no drawing out nothing all the bees are below the queen excluder and thickly covering all the frames ( I didnt pull a frame out because I didn?t want them to loose the hive heat and I was already tossing up whether it was a good day to even open the hive) but I could see that they had made some excess comb on the tops and sides of the frames and walls below and up to the excluder- initially I thought is the excluder to thin and they are ?stuck? down there until they all saw my big head and came pelting at me annoyed at my intrusion !!!! 

Have I made a mistake adding a top honey super? I wanted to get be them room to store honey for winter and not swarm - but  Should I just take the top ideal super off?? Or will that cramping cause them to late swarm?? Is the empty super going to just make the whole hive too cold??

Do I feed?? I have no experience with feeding .

What are the general thoughts on insulating the hive with hay bales etc for winter? We get a few days of snow a year but regularly can get some -12?C nights when winter really hits.

Offline 220

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Re: Winter advice
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2018, 04:05:15 am »
So let me get this right, the hive as it currently sits is 2x 8 frame deep boxes as a brood chamber, a queen excluder above this then a ideal super.

The 2 x 8 frame deeps are full
The ideal is undrawn.

If the above is correct I would pull off the ideal super and leave them alone until spring.
If the 2 deeps are full their should be at least 8 frames of honey probably more as they would more than likely be backfilling areas that were used for brood during peak brood production.

Offline Crysalismum

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Re: Winter advice
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2018, 05:36:16 am »
Exactly right on the configuration & the2x8 are full and the ideal undrawn and not even 1 bee in there after 6 weeks.

Thanks - I will take it off in the morning.


What do you think about adding hay bales for insulation? Necessary in this climate or not?

Feeding yes/no?

I?m unsure of how much ?help? my lil bees actually need- or whether I should just let them bee 🐝 (sorry irresistible  😂😂)

Offline Acebird

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Re: Winter advice
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2018, 08:16:41 am »
What do you think about adding hay bales for insulation? Necessary in this climate or not?
Do you have mice?  It makes a nice winter home.
Brian Cardinal
Just do it

Offline 220

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Re: Winter advice
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2018, 08:39:02 am »
I don't have anywhere near the experience of most on here but I wouldn't worry about insulation for the climate at Bathurst.
If you have the bales and want to use them a windbreak from the prevailing winter breeze might help.

Your climate is very similar to mine, after a bit of an experiment last winter nearly all my hives have been packed down as double 8 frame deeps for winter this year. Mine really go through stores in winter, I think it is due to the fact we drop below freezing most nights and then regularly get into the low teens c quite often of a day. The bees are constantly clustering and then breaking with the temps high enough for them to leave the hive probably 50% of days but zero forage for them.

Just keep an eye on the hive weight if it feels like it is getting light through winter or early spring then feed although if both boxes are full you should be OK.

Offline Bamboo

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Re: Winter advice
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2018, 05:53:09 pm »
 I really doubt that your bees would swarm at this time of year. Who wants to set up a new home and build when there is no flow on to make wax, collect nectar for new brood...not going to happen. Bees are designed for survival, not suicide missions.
Now keeping in a warmer climate but I used to keep in  NZ where temps would be similar to where you are maybe a bit colder. If you have 2 deeps on you should be fine. lose the med super it is just taking up space and is extra space that needs to be heated by the bees. The brood is kept at 35C so the less space they need to heat the better. No need to insulate with hay but as 220 said a windbreak is a good idea stops the wind chill factor. I always had a mat on top of my brood to help with keeping the brood warm a good product to use is Plascourse  a plastic damp course. You can get a 30m roll from Bunnings for $25 just cut to size and put over the top of your top brood box. Don't forget to take it off in spring. This stops a lot of heat loss during winter and the more heat you can save means the bees will eat less of the honey stores to keep the brood at 35C, they require energy to heat the brood. This should eliminate the need for feeding.

Offline eltalia

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Re: Winter advice
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2018, 08:41:35 pm »
Exactly right on the configuration & the2x8 are full and the ideal undrawn and not even 1 bee in there after 6 weeks.

Thanks - I will take it off in the morning.


What do you think about adding hay bales for insulation? Necessary in this climate or not?

Feeding yes/no?

I?m unsure of how much ?help? my lil bees actually need- or whether I should just let them bee 🐝 (sorry irresistible  😂😂)
Yer in good hands with @220 and @Bamboo... sack that beekeeper, poor bugger is lost :(
Pick a good day at end of May week beginning June and reshuffle all remaining frames packed
with stores down to a single brood box.
Come back in August for more if you are not sure on how to set
for the Spring. Good Luck :-)))

Offline Crysalismum

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Re: Winter advice
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2018, 03:07:56 am »
I went down again this morning and the hive is so active! So many bees coming in and out - our fruit trees are just about to bloom & there is also tea tree/bidi Bush & some whiteflowers on the gum trees. They are loving the rosemary and the broccoli flowers too!

I overwintered the bees with the two 8x langstrom boxes and took the small ideal super off as per my last post as they didn?t touch it.

I?m not sure when it is warm enough to look in the hive -we have had rain the last 2 weekends and days only just in the low double digits. Today it was really windy so no go. Is it too early to open if we get a sunny non windy day?

It was exciting to see the busy bees 🐝 after months of hardly anything!! Hey have clearly survived last fortnight?s snow and the harsh frosts of late. Super excited that spring is in the air!


Offline Bamboo

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Re: Winter advice
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2018, 03:59:07 am »
Congratulations, pleased it has all worked out well for you. Any day that you get that is reasonably warm and no wind will be good to get in and have a look. if the bees are out flying then as a rule of thumb that is warm enough to have a look.You might be surprised at how well they are doing and need to consider making a split to prevent swarming.

Have a look at your brood situation and also general population strength, check for any supercedure cells and make decisions based on what you find.

Being a bit warmer up here the bees have been flat out on the gums and I need to take some more honey off them. Put a super of stickies back on just over a week ago and it is mostly capped probably due to come off next weekend. Have 3 full deeps that I need to take off tomorrow.

So pleased yours are doing well, keep us informed.

Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Winter advice
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2018, 07:41:22 am »
Congratulations.
When you do the inspection, minimize the amount of time you are in the hive. Try to leave the brood area pretty much in tact, you can chill the brood  Look for drones. You do not want to split the hive until you have drones in your hive so that you know that your neighbors, 2 miles away, have drones for your queens to be able to mate with.
Jim

Offline Crysalismum

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Re: Winter advice
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2018, 12:10:24 am »
I watched all my YouTube videos and read my blogs and books & went down to inspect and had dreams of my ideal super full of honey & nothing!!! Not even one bee in the super - not even touched since the day I put it on 6 weeks ago! No comb, no bees, nothing in the top box above the excluder
I Took the lid off and none of the bees came up through the queen excluded to leave the hive - normally quite a few fly off the comb and carry on when I lift the lid but nothing- is it that they don?t fit through or is it some other thing I am missing?
The bees had done a lot of cross combing between the top and bottom supers and I tore some of it off  when I took the frames out - there was big fat babies just about ready -so now I?m a baby bee murderer 🤭🤭

Do I leave the small super on or off?? Queen excluder on Orr off??

Arghhhh 🙇‍♀️ 🐝 so frustrating !!
« Last Edit: October 21, 2018, 01:51:25 am by Crysalismum »

Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Winter advice
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2018, 06:30:52 pm »
Crystal,
Remove the Queen Excluder and move a frame of honey up and replace it with a frame from the super.
Jim