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Author Topic: Preparing for Winter - I'm New at this - 2 Deeps  (Read 289 times)

Offline GeorgiaBeeKeeper

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Preparing for Winter - I'm New at this - 2 Deeps
« on: September 06, 2020, 12:14:32 am »
Hi!  I have 2 colonies that are in 2 Deeps each.

I did a top only inspection today and both hives had the top deep filled to the brim with capped honey - end to end.

In a week I'll be examining all the frames in the bottom deep bodies of both colonies (to makes sure they aren't honey bound and to check on the brood nest).

My question is this - since I have double deeps and the top of each deep is full of honey - does that mean that I don't have to worry so much about supplemental feeding until early March?   

I'm thinking that if they have a full deep of honey that they are in good shape as long as I keep the supplemental feeding up until it gets cold.
I was still going to put a thing of sugar up top just in case (once it got cold).
 
This is my first winter so I'm not sure - and I want to make sure my colonies survive.
I already did the beginning of August mite treatments and nosema treatments - and I think I'm supposed to treat again in October....

So much to learn - any help is appreciated!

Thank you!

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Preparing for Winter - I'm New at this - 2 Deeps
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2020, 12:45:22 pm »
I'm a little north of you in the mountains and I'm entering my third winter.  I usually winter in 2 mediums, and I've never had any problems with healthy colonies surviving.  I do occasionally feed in early spring if the hives feel light, but in most cases it's been unnecessary.  I think double deeps packed with food should be more than sufficient.     

I already did the beginning of August mite treatments and nosema treatments - and I think I'm supposed to treat again in October....

I don't have any experience with nosema however, so if you are dealing with that, I'm not sure if anything changes about the strategy of your winter planning.   
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Offline Oldbeavo

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Re: Preparing for Winter - I'm New at this - 2 Deeps
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2020, 06:20:40 pm »
I agree with No.15, 2 deeps will be OK. Our bees never winter any bigger than 2 deeps and some of our hives will winter as singles.
Unsure of how harsh your winters are? Our bees winter on usually dry sandy dirt and well protected from cold winds by a ridge and trees.

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Preparing for Winter - I'm New at this - 2 Deeps
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2020, 12:12:47 am »
Generally, your question is about how much winter stores do they need.  This is very much a regional question to be answered by SUCCESSFUL beekeeper(s) in your region.
So, if you would please say what town/city you are nearest, then perhaps someone here at BM who is also in your region can give the best applicable answer.
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Offline Acebird

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Re: Preparing for Winter - I'm New at this - 2 Deeps
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2020, 08:27:27 am »
Was any honey taken from the hives?  Bees should be able to store more honey then they need.  If not then they are not worth keeping.  IMO they are not a normal healthy hive.  In the north 2 deeps would be fine and more normal for wintering.  In the south it could be a problem with SHB if there is empty space.  I lot will depend on what you see in the bottom boxes.
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Offline Spur9

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Re: Preparing for Winter - I'm New at this - 2 Deeps
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2020, 11:59:17 pm »
IMO they are not a normal healthy hive.

That's one of the most ignorant statements I've ever seen on this forum.  You know nothing about the history of this beek's hives.  A seasoned beekeeper would never attempt to diagnose the health of a hive based on the amount of food stores.  That kind of statement could result in undo stress and effort to the beekeeper and his bees.  Shame on you.

Back on topic. 

Whether you are running 8 or 10 frame hives, your bees have at least 80 pounds of food for the winter.  And they may pack more if the goldenrod produces this fall.  That is plenty.  I am right above Georgia and winter the majority of my bees with only a medium of honey.  They do fine until March when the maple and redbud start blooming.  You don't need to feed them any sugar water.  You and your bees have done their job prepping for the cold.

What type pf mite treatment did you perform?  Thymol, Formic, Thermal, Amitraz, etc... I am not aware of a treatment other than maybe ApiVar that you would wait close to 2 months for a 2nd treatment. 

I would suggest that you educate yourself on nosema and nosema treatments and decide if they are worth it.  Some studies have shown that the antibiotics are detrimental to the health of the bees' gut.  In our neck of the woods, the bees can take cleansing flights regularly and the risk of nosema (both strains) is low.  That's your call.

My only suggestion is to determine if you are queen right before October rolls in.  Doing this now would give you time to decide whether to purchase a queen if the hive has no queen.  All you need to see are eggs.  The less you disturb the bees going into winter, the better.



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Offline FatherMichael

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Re: Preparing for Winter - I'm New at this - 2 Deeps
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2020, 07:15:50 pm »
I just ordered another insulated hive because of this thread.  Been thinking about it for a while.  Already have two of them that seem very successful, and this discussion made me act.

It is axiomatic that insulation vs. food consumption are directly proportional.

The one thin wall hive I run has struggled with both heat and cold; it swarmed early this season and has had a terrible time rebuilding: we've had a hot, dry summer until today.  The two Paradise/Bee Box hives have built up very well by comparison.

This time my experiment is with two 6 frame deeps and a medium super.  Will get a nuc for it in the spring.

Thanks for a great site.  I love the feedback and take it all to heart.

Offline GeorgiaBeeKeeper

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Re: Preparing for Winter - I'm New at this - 2 Deeps
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2020, 03:58:51 pm »
Thank you everyone!  I am about 1 hr north of Atlanta near Jasper, GA.
I just started beekeeping this April with 2 packages.
I am using traditional 10 frame Langstroth hives - double deeps.

During the first week of August one have had 2 Apivar Strips and the other hive got 2 treatments of Apiguard (more than 6 brood frames in this one).
From Spring thru Summer I used drone frame freezing and also sugar dustings.
That's good info about the Nosema - I used Fumidil B in a small pollen patty 2 times each hive
I have SHB traps (both baited and the oil trap) in both hives - and I usually don't see too many SHB at all.

Both hives have completely full top deeps with 100% honey in them...no brood or pollen.
I'll be going into the bottoms this weekend to check on the bottom deep where the brood are at to make sure they are doing well.

I'm feeding 1:1 sugar syrup and non-medicated pollen patty right now during the dearth to help stimulate babies and I have orientation flights daily in front of the hives.

I just learned about quilt boxes and am planning on preparing 2 of them in case it gets that cold here.

My main concern is that I want to make sure my bees don't starve, and don't get overrun by mites.

Any advice is appreciated!
Thanks!


Offline TheHoneyPump

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Preparing for Winter - I'm New at this - 2 Deeps
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2020, 04:51:55 pm »
In the far north here, one deep full of stores is plenty.  Based on your detail given, I suggest that your step 1 is to stop feeding.  You risk over packing them to the point of driving her into Fall swarm mode, or blocking her out of ability to nest the winter brood much needed right now.  Everything else you are doing as described is perfect, keep up the great work!   After this next/current brood cycle then resume feeding to top off that last bit they may need.  Do not guess, WEIGH the hives to know what they have.
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Online AR Beekeeper

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Re: Preparing for Winter - I'm New at this - 2 Deeps
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2020, 05:26:22 pm »
GeorgiaBeeKeeper;  I would not worry about winter, it looks like you have everything in hand.  Actually, winter in the south is not much of a problem.  It all comes down to having varroa under control with low numbers in August shown by alcohol washes, no disease, a queen with only one spring/summer laying season, and sufficient food for your area.  Controlling the varroa mite is critical.  Having hives in full sun is nice.

My winters here in northern Arkansas are not that different from yours and I have overwintered in only one deep box, but that must be packed with food stores at the end of October.  I tell everyone that even though a colony can overwinter in a deep, I sleep better at night if I have a packed deep plus a medium.  The end of October I feed until the stop taking it.

I would forget the quilt boxes, all the top insulation you would need is one inch of common foam board over the inner cover, and most colonies overwinter well without it.  All my colonies have it winter and summer.  Although some may disagree with me, I have found that upper ventilation is not needed in the South.  Ventilation should come from the bottom of the colony through the entrance or an open mesh bottom board.

Trapping varroa with drone brood works well to reduce varroa reproduction rates, especially in conjunction with a brood break, but powdered sugar dusting will only remove 10 to 20% of the mites on the adult bees.  When the humidity builds in summer the rate removed by dusting is usually only 10%.  I don't know if the mites removed is worth the disruption caused.

I have been keeping bees for a while and I have found that if you do your work properly in the fall, you need do nothing until spring.  Get the colonies properly prepared by the end of October, put them to bed, and then forget them until spring.  Forget the sugar bricks on top, or the winter checks, or the thumping on the sides to see if they are alive, just leave them alone.  At most, a walk by entrance check on a day warm enough for them to fly is all that should be done.  And all that does is soothes your mind.

My usual overwinter loss rate is from 0 up to 8 % using these tips, and there is no reason yours should not be the same.


Offline The15thMember

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Re: Preparing for Winter - I'm New at this - 2 Deeps
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2020, 06:04:49 pm »
GeorgiaBeeKeeper;  I would not worry about winter, it looks like you have everything in hand.  Actually, winter in the south is not much of a problem.  It all comes down to having varroa under control with low numbers in August shown by alcohol washes, no disease, a queen with only one spring/summer laying season, and sufficient food for your area.  Controlling the varroa mite is critical.  Having hives in full sun is nice.

My winters here in northern Arkansas are not that different from yours and I have overwintered in only one deep box, but that must be packed with food stores at the end of October.  I tell everyone that even though a colony can overwinter in a deep, I sleep better at night if I have a packed deep plus a medium.  The end of October I feed until the stop taking it.

I would forget the quilt boxes, all the top insulation you would need is one inch of common foam board over the inner cover, and most colonies overwinter well without it.  All my colonies have it winter and summer.  Although some may disagree with me, I have found that upper ventilation is not needed in the South.  Ventilation should come from the bottom of the colony through the entrance or an open mesh bottom board.

Trapping varroa with drone brood works well to reduce varroa reproduction rates, especially in conjunction with a brood break, but powdered sugar dusting will only remove 10 to 20% of the mites on the adult bees.  When the humidity builds in summer the rate removed by dusting is usually only 10%.  I don't know if the mites removed is worth the disruption caused.

I have been keeping bees for a while and I have found that if you do your work properly in the fall, you need do nothing until spring.  Get the colonies properly prepared by the end of October, put them to bed, and then forget them until spring.  Forget the sugar bricks on top, or the winter checks, or the thumping on the sides to see if they are alive, just leave them alone.  At most, a walk by entrance check on a day warm enough for them to fly is all that should be done.  And all that does is soothes your mind.

My usual overwinter loss rate is from 0 up to 8 % using these tips, and there is no reason yours should not be the same.


I agree with everything AR said except for this.  Just like much of beekeeping this comes down to your specific area.  My climate is extremely humid, my property is predominantly wooded, and I have my hives in the shade.  My hives would absolutely die over the winter from water dripping on the cluster if I did not use quilt boxes.  Neither of us is wrong, just know that the microclimate of where your hives are is going to dictate your strategy.   
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Online William Bagwell

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Re: Preparing for Winter - I'm New at this - 2 Deeps
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2020, 07:32:03 pm »
Too new myself to be offering much advice. Do check out the Appalachian Beekeepers club when you get a chance. Meetings are currently on hold due to covid but I think they are still having monthly apiary inspections at Talking Rock Nature Preserve. Small very friendly club! Cherokee county just to the south has a much larger club. Never attended there but do lurk on their Facebook group.