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Author Topic: Putting Them to Bed  (Read 523 times)

Offline FatherMichael

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Putting Them to Bed
« on: November 25, 2020, 07:34:47 pm »
Only have three hives.  Nearly lost one but a $50 queen from California saved them!  The other two are first year nucs that have done very well, despite drought conditions.

Made fondant today and will put it into the hives for winter.  Each hive has a good store of food but want to make sure of a strong start next spring.

Hoping to expand to 6 with splits and a package.

Tomorrow is projected to be 78* here.  After that the forecast is too cool to open the hives; so, need to get it done, eh?

A long, warm fall has been good after a disastrous summer of 2020.

Offline .30WCF

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Re: Putting Them to Bed
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2020, 07:39:10 pm »
Should the fondant go on now or check in late December or January and add if needed. I?m asking cause I don?t know, but I figured you let them go as long as they can on their own before feeding them.

This is my first winter, if you call it winter. NC, here has cold weeks and 75 degree weeks. Feb/March are usually the coldest if you take wind chill into consideration.


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Offline .30WCF

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Re: Putting Them to Bed
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2020, 07:41:02 pm »

A long, warm fall has been good after a disastrous summer of 2020.

Yes, mine are still bringing in Pollen from somewhere. Probably just going in circles robbing each other. Haha.


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Offline cao

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Re: Putting Them to Bed
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2020, 10:16:02 pm »
Should the fondant go on now or check in late December or January and add if needed. I?m asking cause I don?t know, but I figured you let them go as long as they can on their own before feeding them.

My view is that if you think the hive will need it then put it on when you have a chance.  If you wait until mid winter you can get to a point where it is too cold to get in your hive for weeks or longer.  That could be too late.

Offline FatherMichael

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Re: Putting Them to Bed
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2020, 09:49:57 am »
Do I understand correctly that they will eat up the natural stores of honey before turning to the sugar?

Whatever order they keep the total carbs are the same, right?

Offline AR Beekeeper

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Re: Putting Them to Bed
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2020, 08:24:02 pm »
They will probably move to the sugar before working on the capped honey.  This may depend on the hive configuration and if they have brood below the sugar.  I have never used dry sugar or fondant on a full colony, only on a 5 frame nuc. 

Offline minz

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Re: Putting Them to Bed
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2020, 12:53:40 am »
I will wait for a couple of days about 40, open them up and put some OA on them (5 ml per seam). I put a hard sugar candy on top. Put on a shim. Keep in mind if you are putting something between the bees and the cover you have to weight it because the bees will not be able to glue it down.
The bees will move up into the sugar. When it gets warm for a bit they will move over to some honey. I find the smaller cluster will move pretty easy. The larger ones I will have to move the sugar to the big hole in the center. Mine will not touch it much until later in winter.
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Offline Oldbeavo

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Re: Putting Them to Bed
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2020, 06:35:11 am »
We don't run hive mats or anything on top of the super. The lid has about 1 1/2 inch side frame and top.
During the season the bees will build comb in the lid and if we are a bit slack will fill the lid with honey. We never clean the lid as it is a reserve for occasions when we take supers and run into bad weather.
In winter the bees will eat the honey in the lid first before they eat honey in the frames. So the bees tend to eat top down'
We had some bees run out of honey so we literally trowelled candied canola honey into the lid and put them on the hives. some got thrown out the front door but most got eaten. Saved the hives.
 If we find hives that still have honey in the lid we know they have wintered easy.

Offline FatherMichael

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Re: Putting Them to Bed
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2020, 02:02:14 pm »
The hives were lighter than I thought they would be.  This drought is tough.

So, I'll check on them during a warm spell, which we nearly always get in winter.  Won't have to disturb them too much to do that.  Put transparent bird feed sack material on top of the fondant and then the lid, which straps down.  The lid has 1-1.5 inches headroom -- plenty of room for fondant.

There's room for more insulation under the lid, too.  So, I might add some Reflectix.

Offline FatherMichael

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Re: Putting Them to Bed
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2020, 08:14:28 pm »
It's December, warm, and my backyard rescue operation hive is bringing in pollen!

What a crazy year.

Offline Brian MCquilkin

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Re: Putting Them to Bed
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2020, 12:19:36 pm »
Great that they are bringing in some pollen. Keep an eye on the food store as they can go through it real fast. When I was in East Texas I had some colonies nearly starve. They used up all of the reserves because of increased activity within the hive and foraging flights. Pollen coming in but no nectar.
Despite my efforts the bees are doing great