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Author Topic: Wintering Idea  (Read 483 times)

Offline Bush_84

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Wintering Idea
« on: July 27, 2018, 01:31:24 am »
Wanted a second opinion on a thought I had today. I am short on equipment and drawn frames. I can scrap enough together to get all of my hives two deeps with a few empty frames here and there. My hives don?t seem to interested in drawing comb anymore. I have a hive right now with a single deep brood box and honey supers. The drawn frames I?d be giving it are bottom of the barrel. As I was driving today I figured I?d there any reason I can?t give them a honey super that has been harvested?  It?s all honey comb and not suitable for raising brood. However I?m merely looking to add some honey storage and clustering space. So why can?t I just add a medium under the brood box after harvest?

I know that Ian stepper overwinter single 10 frame hives but I keep 8 frames and am nervous to leave them such little space. I figure that if I used this method I could overwinter a single deep plus a honey super under and get them through.  In the spring they?d all be clustered in the top deep. I could easily remove the super at that time.
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Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Wintering Idea
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2018, 06:34:23 am »
I?m not sure by what you are saying
It?s all honey comb and not suitable for raising brood.
Unless it is drone comb, it is perfectly suitable for brood comb or honey storage. Even drone comb is great for honey storage. If there are not enough bees or an excess of food coming in, they will only use it fo storage.
Jim
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Offline Acebird

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Re: Wintering Idea
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2018, 08:39:33 am »
I don't see anything wrong with that.  In my area the medium would be crammed with pollen or nothing at all.  Didn't you try to run nucs through the winter?  Why are you worried about a single deep if it is full?
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Offline cao

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Re: Wintering Idea
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2018, 10:04:27 am »
>So why can?t I just add a medium under the brood box after harvest?

No reason that I can think of.  Most of my honey supers have had brood raised in them at some time. 
 


Offline Bush_84

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Re: Wintering Idea
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2018, 12:09:16 pm »
I?m not sure by what you are saying
It?s all honey comb and not suitable for raising brood.
Unless it is drone comb, it is perfectly suitable for brood comb or honey storage. Even drone comb is great for honey storage. If there are not enough bees or an excess of food coming in, they will only use it fo storage.
Jim

My mediums supers are all honey/drone comb. It certainly wouldn?t due to worker brood. In early spring bees in my neck of the woods are all in the top box. If I kept a honey super on top I?d be worried about how they?d raise worker brood. If I simply put it on the bottom they?d have extra space to cluster and store honey. That?d potentially be an extra 32 lbs of honey for them to winter.

Ace I?m mostly just paranoid as I?ve never done it before. Whenever I?ve read about people wintering singles it?s in a 10 frame deep not an 8 frame. That?s potentially 12 lbs of honey. It sounds like a low risk potentially high reward situation. The honey supers won?t be doing anything over the winter anyways. Even if the bees dont store anything in them they could 100% fill the deep and cluster in the medium.
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Also please excuse the typos.  My iPad autocorrect can be brutal.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Wintering Idea
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2018, 01:20:41 pm »
It is my experience that the bees do not consume a lot of honey in winter.  They consume it when they build up for spring.  Now I don't know if you can make it to a point where you can feed in the spring but spring is when you have to worry about starvation.  At least for me it was.
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Offline Acebird

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Re: Wintering Idea
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2018, 01:26:22 pm »
If I simply put it on the bottom they?d have extra space to cluster and store honey.

I don't think they will store honey there.  I would also expect the cluster to not go below the bottom bar of the deep frames if that is the box on top.  However it will give them more space in the top of the deep to store honey with the medium below.
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Offline beepro

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Re: Wintering Idea
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2018, 06:12:55 pm »
You certainly cannot use the drone comb to raise the worker bees but you can use it to store the
surplus honey.   The bees prefer to store their honey in the top box.   If you have 3 boxes then the middle is
their prefer choice for the brood nest, the top for honey and the bottom for pollen/nectar storage.   I've seen this
arrangement many times before.

Every time I mess with their preferred arrangement the bees will be very confused for a few days.   So unless you have
the worker drawn comb, the extra super on top will only serve as honey storage.   I say buy some more worker drawn frames to
ease the hive congestion a bit.   In the early Autumn when they are collecting the golden rods honey they might swarm if not given
enough hive space.  This is my worry also.

Offline Bush_84

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Re: Wintering Idea
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2018, 10:30:34 pm »
Keep in mind beepro that I want to put a honey super below the brood box before winter. In my neck of the woods the bees cluster under their honey and move up as they eat. If I put a honey super on top they?d be stuck in that super in the spring when movement is difficult. Not sure what would happen.

If I put the honey super under the brood box I can fill the brood box with honey or sugar syrup completely. If they want to cluster in the super they can. If they don?t use it then nothing really lost.
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Also please excuse the typos.  My iPad autocorrect can be brutal.

Offline jimineycricket

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Re: Wintering Idea
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2018, 10:48:22 am »
If I understand it correctly the bees do not want honey below the brood nest and they will move it up, which is what you want. That is the way the old timers got the bees to fill sections. Maybe if you scratch the caps it would help.

If you do it that way I would like to know the results.
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Wintering Idea
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2018, 03:46:06 pm »
>I know that Ian stepper overwinter single 10 frame hives but I keep 8 frames and am nervous to leave them such little space.

Ian is doing it indoors... I would consider 8 deeps a nuc, but Kirk Webster and Michael Palmer are overwintering 8 frame nucs, just 4 over 4 instead of 8.  I think they would do almost as well as a single 10 frame if they are strong and well stocked and you keep an eye on them in the spring so they don't starve.  Mel Disselkoen is overwintering nucs in single ten frame deeps in MI.
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Offline beepro

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Re: Wintering Idea
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2018, 10:09:27 pm »
The bees will do what they like to do.  Honey on top will prevent starvation once they have
migrated upward toward the middle of winter where the air is warmer up there.   As they move up they
will use the honey to keep them going.   

I've observed my bees for 5 seasons now.  They prefer to migrate upward and that is where I put my sugar
bricks and patty subs on the top bars to feed them.  You want a tight cluster during the winter time so limit the
hive space if you can.  So a honey box at the bottom will not do them much good.    Chances are they will ignore the
honey if it is a cold winter.   They might use the honey if they can move freely not in a cluster mode. 

Offline Bush_84

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Re: Wintering Idea
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2018, 12:07:03 am »
The super will be empty. They will be fed and can fill the space as they please. My flow will be over in a couple of weeks. I will harvest and ensure my hives are treated for varroa and well fed at that point.
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Also please excuse the typos.  My iPad autocorrect can be brutal.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Wintering Idea
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2018, 08:27:11 am »
The super will be empty.
If the super is empty I would put it on the bottom.
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Offline Bush_84

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Re: Wintering Idea
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2018, 09:58:35 am »
The super will be empty.
If the super is empty I would put it on the bottom.

Pretty sure I?ve said that more than once. 😛
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Also please excuse the typos.  My iPad autocorrect can be brutal.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Wintering Idea
« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2018, 10:15:52 am »
In 43 years of beekeeping in Nebraska, I've never seen a colony start or finish the winter anywhere other than the top box.  Other people in Nebraska have observed the same.  I have never seen the classic "start at the bottom and work their way up" scenario.
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm  em portugues:  bushfarms.com/pt_bees.htm
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Offline Bush_84

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Re: Wintering Idea
« Reply #16 on: August 03, 2018, 10:43:32 pm »
In 43 years of beekeeping in Nebraska, I've never seen a colony start or finish the winter anywhere other than the top box.  Other people in Nebraska have observed the same.  I have never seen the classic "start at the bottom and work their way up" scenario.

Maybe I should start keeping bees in a single brood box then. This swarm I caught has rivaled my strongest hive in honey production despite being a swarm caught in July. I?m pretty sure I?ve heard that bees wintered indoors don?t need empty comb to cluster so you can backfill the entire nest. So I?ve got that going for me. I know Ian grows his colonies into double deeps and splits back down to a single box and adds supers. Might be worth doing, especially if this hive does well in winter.
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Also please excuse the typos.  My iPad autocorrect can be brutal.

Offline beepro

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Re: Wintering Idea
« Reply #17 on: August 14, 2018, 10:53:37 pm »
Wintering indoor is different.  The heat will rise to the top box where majority of the bees will be at.  They prefer the
warmer spot usually at the top.  Be sure to check for stores through out this winter.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Wintering Idea
« Reply #18 on: August 15, 2018, 08:10:36 am »
I know Ian grows his colonies into double deeps and splits back down to a single box and adds supers.

I don't think Ian's success has as much to do with configuration as it does the controls and equipment he has in place to control the indoor environment.  Like anyone who brings their bees inside to control their environment he plays a little Russia roulette on when to stop.
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