Author Topic: Wintering  (Read 7226 times)

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Offline LazyBkpr

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Wintering
« on: December 10, 2013, 03:38:55 pm »
Wintering is location dependent. Even locations along the same latitude will need different methods.. In Maine we NEVER had the winds that we have out here on the Prarie.. Maine gets slightly colder, but without the constant 20 mph winds...   SO keep that in mind when you are trying to decide what you should do!!

   Here in SE Iowa, temps get to -20..  Usually not for more than a couple of weeks, but I have seen 5 weeks of -20 just as often as I have seen it 65 in mid January horseback riding with my wife...

   I winter with a top opening rather than just ventilation, and here is why;



   I clean the entrances, and a day later the snow has blown back over them. WITH the top entrance, the bees can still get out if the weather warms up and i dont have to go sweep the entrance every fifteen minutes. These hives sit in front of a group of pine trees to help block some wind, but I have found that the wind whirls around the trees in such a way that it hits the front of the hives..  I may have to rethink where these hives set..

    I wrap as Perry has already posted about with expert professionalism, so I wont go there....
   Typically most people run their hives with the inner cover notch UP as shown;



   For winter, I flip the cover to notch down for the upper entrance/ventilation. I put 2" foam on top of that.. Lay plastic or tape your inner cover hole so the bees dont chew the insulation;



   This also raises the telescoping cover to make the upper entrance clear;



   Not shown...   I also put a 2" spacer under the inner cover. Put newspaper on the frames, leaving about 2" clear to the front of the hives, and pour granulated sugar on the paper, giving it a light misting with water as I pour to make it clump..  Then the inner cover/foam/telescoping cover.
  I have gotten quite a bit of Flack for doing this.. but understand. I may NOT get another chance to get into the hives before early March, so it gives me PEACE of mind when the howling winds and temps dont let up before then.  I have also found that the sugar absorbs excess moisture and keep sthe cluster dry. Sometimes I open the hive to find the bees have been into the sugar hard, Others have not touched it..  If they do not use it, it lends itself well to making spring syrup, so it is not wasted.
   I have heard that the bees make a MESS of it when done this way...    This has not been my experience unless it is put on too soon, or left on too late. This is also true of the bees building BURR comb in the spaced area for the sugar..  If removed in a timely fashion they will not build ANY Burr comb, nor make a mess of the sugar...
   I have heard of, and seen problems with the newspaper being SOAKED and the sugar falling through...  If the ventilation in the hive is adequate, this will not happen. Always make sure the newspaper does not extend outside the hive.. if it does, and it rains, it WILL wick moisture inside.  Done properly, and managed correctly this has worked WELL for me...
   IN THIS AREA...   It may not work for you at all!  YOU have to be the judge of your climate and weather conditions!

   Screened bottom board?
   Not a chance where I live if you intend to leave them open.   I know beeks who use them and have argued with me that their bees do fine!!!  Upon investigation.. their hives are MUCH better sheltered than mine are. The whistling winds would strip any heat from a cluster in moments..  Using a board in them I may be able to use them with no problems.. I have not tried it so cannot make the judgement.

   
   Cleaning away the snow reveals a handful of dead bees..  This amount doesn't worry me.. its when you cant see in the lower entrance because of the bodies that the fear level increases!!!
   Wintering bees terrifies me. I UNDERSTAND what they do, but for the life of me I cant get it through my head that anything cold blooded could survive out there with the temps and winds we have...    



  Hang on beees!!!!!!!!

   Hopefully others will chime in from different climates and post how they manage to pull their bees through the cold months!!
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Offline Perry

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Re: Wintering
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2013, 04:25:45 pm »
I run mine almost exactly the same as LazyB.
Inner cover with the notch down, and a piece of plastic or veneer over the inner cover hole, and then 1 1/2" of Styrofoam insulation.
If I think my hives are light however, I put on the inner cover, and then use a 1 1/2" shim. I will then place a fondant patty (fondant sandwiched between wax paper) directly over the inner cover hole. Then I lay a plastic bag with soft insulation on top of the patty and then my telescoping cover.









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Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: Wintering
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2013, 04:52:37 pm »
heh!!  Pretty close!! I'm just too lazy to make fondant..   :oops:
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Offline riverbee

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Re: Wintering
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2013, 05:48:17 pm »
nice pix lazy, (and perry), thanks for sharing what you are doing in the warm state of iowa. :lol:

i keep russkies, so winter feeding, is a thing of the past for me.  i have a swarm hive right now that has fondant on it, put in as an emergency, was going to put in winter patties, (a little more nutritional value) for them but the weather turned crisp quickly.  the fondant we have now is enough for them.  the bees will utilize the sugar, but, really is an emergency feed.  i know many beeks use the 'mountain camp method'.  i have used sugar as emergency feed, (long ago) dumped in on top of butcher paper or newspaper.  the newspaper will get soaked in your climate, even if it's not overhanging outside the hive.

your climate is similiar or the same as mine, we are at about -20 now with windchill factor, and only to get worse the next few days.  i wrap my hives with a material from b and b honey farm, houston, minnesota. (colony quilt).  it works well to block winds, etc.  my inner covers are flipped notch down year round, and i have notched them out to about 3".  i don't have ant problems, or shb, just pesky furry bear problems.  i also place the polystyrene on as you do, it works! i don't use sbb's.........i think along the lines as you, the bees would never survive in a freezing wind whipping area, just my HO.

lazy, might consider using some winter patties in the future, i think you might find that this would be a better alternative for your bees.  just plop them in underneath the inner cover, deep side down, on top the frames. they fit, or use a shim if you like, just one, it fits the width of the hive and half the depth......hmmmm did i say that right?   :lol:
you can make your own also.  for me, i think the placement of the feed on top of the frames is a good choice vs a candy board in my severe weather.  the feed is right above them where as with a candyboard, a barrier, so the bees must go up through the hole to feed.  just my quirky belief and thinking........ :lol:

hey, once again, thanks for being here, i enjoy reading your posts..... :D
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Offline Perry

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Re: Wintering
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2013, 07:16:08 pm »
Just found a few more pics. This was winter past. It was starting to warm a bit, the odd day of cleansing flights and a couple of hives were getting light so I put feed on 'em.













Those first few days of warm weather in early spring can bring out the "worst" in the bees!  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:
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Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: Wintering
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2013, 08:31:49 pm »
the newspaper will get soaked in your climate, even if it's not overhanging outside the hive.

   Indeed, I have considered fondant or candy boards.. I even once tried to make a candy board...  the results are still down there in the bottom, three years later..  I checked on it last year to see if it had gone away yet.. "IT" attacked me and I had to shoot it.. Havent been back to look since    :lol:

   Honestly.. I havent had the soaked paper problem yet on my hives or before that on my mentors hives. He was the one that instructed me to do it this way, and I have difficulty doing it differently...   NOT.. because I dont think it will work, but because I fear changing from what I know DOES work..  That.. and making fondant isn't a part of the Lazy itinerary for beekeeping...   But I may well give it a go next fall on a few hives and see what happens..
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Offline tecumseh

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Re: Wintering
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2013, 06:18:48 am »
and what is all that nasty white lookin' stuff?

Offline Zulu

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Re: Wintering
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2013, 10:36:57 pm »
anyone have a good fondant recipe for me
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Offline iddee

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Re: Wintering
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2013, 10:46:19 pm »
How To Make Fondant
Fondant

2 cups granulated sugar 1 cup water

½ saltspoon cream of tartai

Put the ingredients in a copper or granite saucepan; stir until the sugar is dissolved, but no longer. Boil until the mixture makes a very soft ball when dropped in cold water. After it has boiled a few minutes sugar will adhere to the sides of the kettle: this should be washed off as soon as it forms, with the hand first dipped in cold water. Pour the mixture slowly on a moist marble slab or large platter; let it cool until pressure with the finger leaves a dent on the surface. If stirred while too warm or if cooked too long it will granulate and must be recooked, adding more water. When it will dent work the mass with a wooden spoon or spatula, keeping the mass in the center as much as possible. Continue to stir until creamy; then work with the hands until perfectly smooth. Put in a bowl; cover with oiled paper to exclude the air and let stand for twenty-four hours.
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Offline Crofter

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Re: Wintering
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2013, 07:55:47 am »
I found with all the boiling (constantly stirring) that I wound up with a quite dark colour to it before it got to the state it would set up. I threw one batch on the manure pile. I have seen quite a variation in recipes on the sugar to water ratio. That may be the secret to start with nearly the minimal amount of water so you dont have to boil a lot off.
Frank