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MrB 

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Fingers crossed the hive is ready for the winter.
Plenty of stores and feeder removed along with super used as eke.
feeder hole covered.
2 layers of foil covered bubble rap fitted in lid (hope it helps).
entrance block removed and mouse guard fitted.
Fondant at the ready and OA (if i decide to use it).
Oh, and varroa tray not fitted.

And BTW, dont try to heft the hive with a sledge hammer head on the roof!!! :redface:
 
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oliver90owner 

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Roof secured? Strong peg in ground, rope over roof and a heavy weight suspended just above the ground (takes up stretching and shrinkage of rope), or a ratchett strap around the lot (the strap preferably in a covering, where in direct light, for prevention of UV degradation).

I usually ratchet together the boxes, to reduce/prevent any chance of water penetration or unwanted ventilation.

I use 25mm, or 50mm, of expanded polystyrene sheet over the crownboards on mine. It does help.

I would replace the varroa board (temporarily) if snow lays on the ground - to reduce the possibility of reflected light tempting the bees to fly. Also, maybe prop a board in front of the entrance, just to stop any direct or reflected light rays.

Apart from that, seems to be good. Is this just a standard brood? Or with a super above? I prefer the latter or equivalent (one of the reasons why I changed to 14 x 12) .

Regards, RAB
 

drstitson 

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"And BTW, dont try to heft the hive with a sledge hammer head on the roof!!! "

why not? you'll be keeping it on all winter so the relative weight of hive itself won't change AND as per RABs previous posts you are only hefting so that the side of the hive just loses contact with stand.
 
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Would a layer of bubble wrap wrapped around a hive achieve much?
 
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Would that stop the hive from "breathing" and create condensation?
Thats why I asked, perhaps somebody has tried it..
 

Erichalfbee 

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Hopefully, they ARE tucked up.

Three nats;

Two with empty supers under to act as baffles.
Two clustered. I have them on hive stands high enough to let me look under.
One with part filled super under.
(memo to put baffles on hive stands next year)
I'm sure, absolutely, that stores are OK.
Bees in the strongest hive, with the part-filled super are still buzzing about in that super though
 

Skyhook 

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I, on the other hand, am not sure that my bees have enough stores. I was expecting them to pack the brood box wall to wall. I would say it was about 1/2 to 2/3 full- say 30lbs of stores? Then they stopped taking any more. I assume I was late feeding them due to my tribulations with varroa and the queen going off lay. Anyway, I'm wondering if I can turn this to my advantage.

I'm hoping to get them to build up early in spring, a) for the rape, and b) to make more colonies at the end of the rape. I'm hopeful that I can stop them from starving by feeding fondant if they get low, but that I will be able to feed syrup late feb/early march to stimulate brooding, while still leaving room for brood. Incidentally, they have got quite a decent bit of pollen.

Is there any sense in that, or am I whistling to keep my courage up?
 

Vergilius 

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Skyhook,

We tend to worry too much about our bees. Last autumn my colony was in its first year and in the same situation as your's going into winter. I was at first very worried and honestly thought that they were not going to get through winter. It turned out, however, that (with some fondant fed in March) they got through to spring easily and then really took advantage of the early rape flow.



Ben P
 

drstitson 

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store consumption

some old figures presented at the sussex conference suggested that only a small part of stores were consumed up until feb then loads went in late feb/early march ie when brooding starts.

perhaps we should all be adapting our insulated roof setups? keep brood cosily sealed in at all times but keep feeder hole in crownboard open! place a 52.5mm block of knauf spaceboard on top with suitable hole to fit a small feeder - replace the cut out piece (with a loop to assist removal). Then place another solid sheet on top, Voila - 105mm of insulation plus a feeder chamber available for late winter "intervention" at a distance. Fondant, pollen supplement or feeder can be inserted when needed in feb.
 

oliver90owner 

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then really took advantage of the early rape flow.

How did you mean that, Ben?

1) built up quickly at that time, or

2) Ready to collect a huge excess of OSR honey?

I am thinking it was more likely #1, but #2 is the development I want my bees to be at, ready for the OSR. I missed it by almost a brood cycle this last season!

Regards, RAB
 

Vergilius 

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RAB,
As you said interpretation 1 is correct- brooding rather than honey producing; I was absolutely amazed by how a small, over-wintered colony expanded to fill the entire brood body with 50,000 bees or so in literally a couple of weeks. Unfortunately they expanded so rapidly that I was caught unawares and lost my gentle queen with a large, early swarm in May. As mentioned before her successor is not so gentle...

I did not deliberately move my bees to rape fields but they are ten-a-penny where I live. The downside is that I ended up with half a super of granulated combs when I came to extract this year. Next year I must do an early extraction.

Is rape quite common further north where you are based then, I was under the impression that it was only grown in the south?


Ben P
 

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some old figures presented at the sussex conference suggested that only a small part of stores were consumed up until feb then loads went in late feb/early march ie when brooding starts.

perhaps we should all be adapting our insulated roof setups? keep brood cosily sealed in at all times but keep feeder hole in crownboard open! place a 52.5mm block of knauf spaceboard on top with suitable hole to fit a small feeder - replace the cut out piece (with a loop to assist removal). Then place another solid sheet on top, Voila - 105mm of insulation plus a feeder chamber available for late winter "intervention" at a distance. Fondant, pollen supplement or feeder can be inserted when needed in feb.
I like your thinking- thats what I've got! The hole is 250 x 250, which will take a pack of fondant or a 2L rapid feeder.
 

oliver90owner 

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Ben,

I was under the impression that it was only grown in the south

Begads, yuong man! Lots grown in Scotland these days!

Only really got started early seventies. But there again, in the late seventies maize was only a silage crop in the home counties; now it is grown to seed head maturity. Lots of development with hybrids etc. Probably not good in the long term as they need so much pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, inorganic fertiliser, etc. But will do as a stop-gap until the oil runs out.

Maybe have to grow more of OSR and maize - for biodiesel and ethanol - to be able to carry on with modern agriculture, who knows!

Regards, RAB
 

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