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psafloyd 

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When closing up for the winter, you need a mouseguard, but do you leave a sponge pad in the OMF to keep out wax moth?

There should be enough air flow through the OMF shouldn't there?

So, can anyone advise the best way to close up down below as I can't find this covered in any of my books.

Many thanks.
 

rae 

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Mouseguard - yes, over the entrance block, make sure the holes line up so that they can get out.

OMF - leave open, no varroa board in there.

No ventilation up top, more than enough via the OMF.

(Well, that's how we did it last year anyway)
 

Polyanwood 

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If you put sponge on the OMF it won't work, it will act as a life raft for the varroa.

There are people on here who are pinning skirts around the bottom of BB's or putting an empty box below the BB to reduce the wind that rushes up into the brood nest.
 

madasafish 

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Duck tape seals the gaps perfectly - with minimal effort.
 

ROCKIT 

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DUCT tape!

The tape was manufactured firstly in the States to be used to seal the joints on airconditioning and ventilation 'airducts'
 

drstitson 

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Duck vs Duct

"DUCT tape! The tape was manufactured firstly in the States to be used to seal the joints on airconditioning and ventilation 'airducts'"

Duck is also correct as it is a brand of duct tape. Like Hoover/vacuum cleaner.

http://www.duckbrand.com/
 

madasafish 

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I buy duck tape.. I say duck tape.

Simples..

(Honorary member of The Society for the Preservation of Pedants.. SOPP)
 

Teemore 

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You are all quackers!!

(Sorry, couldn't resist that one! ;) )
 

Hebeegeebee 

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Mite board out. Sponges (?) out. Mouseguard in position. Job Done.
 
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Sorry - I got lost at the mention of sponges...is it bath-time?? :)
 

madasafish 

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I play with Ducks in my Bath.. not Ducts...:party:
 

Liam C Ryan 

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Hi Rocket ,When you say seal with duct tape ,are you talking about the gap at the back of the hive where you slip in the Varroa floor or is there some more sealing you do with the tape.
Regards Liam C
New to bee keeping.
 

oliver90owner 

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I think 'any gap not wanted' is the meaning. If boxes don't sit closely there can be unwanted ventilation/water ingress. To that end I like the bees to seal all with propolis - they are much better than us humans of doing the job efficeintly and properly.

Any colony I open after clustering (when they will nolonger go on propolising duties) is pulled together with one robust hive strap of some sort, or more. Usually a ratchet strap but it could be a braid loop tightened with a suitable piece of wood twisted in the loop and secured across the box it is pulling down - anything to keep the boxes firmly together without distortion by over-tightening.

Regards, RAB
 

psafloyd 

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Probably about 5/6 at the moment
If you put sponge on the OMF it won't work, it will act as a life raft for the varroa.

There are people on here who are pinning skirts around the bottom of BB's or putting an empty box below the BB to reduce the wind that rushes up into the brood nest.
Sorry, I've not made myself clear. I mean block the gap at the back as you do when you are checking the drop/feeding to prevent robbing, rather than sponge above the OMF?
 

psafloyd 

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Mite board out. Sponges (?) out. Mouseguard in position. Job Done.
So do we need a mouseguard both over the entrance and the 'back door', ie the gap opposite the entrance on the OMF?
 

Black Comb 

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There's only one way into the hive so that's where the mouseguard goes.
The gap at the back is for the inspection tray - there is no entrance into the hive from here.
 

FROGDOGDIVER 

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Mouseguard - yes, over the entrance block, make sure the holes line up so that they can get out.

OMF - leave open, no varroa board in there.

No ventilation up top, more than enough via the OMF.

(Well, that's how we did it last year anyway)
I did my hives the same as Rae. No problems at all and they stayed that way throughout even the coldest part of last winter. All were there in the spring. Mine are being wintered the same way again. It worked for my bees so why change it.
 

Onge 

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Mouseguard - yes, over the entrance block, make sure the holes line up so that they can get out.

OMF - leave open, no varroa board in there.

No ventilation up top, more than enough via the OMF.

(Well, that's how we did it last year anyway)
Thats what I do.

Works for me.
 

oliver90owner 

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I did my hives the same as Rae.

The message is getting through, but only slowly.

I am never too sure about a fully open OMF under just a standard brood box - I would prefer a brood with super above - but it has worked for me for years. I am certainly confident with a brood and a super or, in my case, all 14 x 12 broods.

No condensation and no losses down to the OMF - in that any losses were among other hives over-wintered under the same regime and on the same site.

It works. Yes, stores consumption will rise, I will accept that, but it would rise much further with top ventilation as well! Possibly to the extent of approaching the risk of 'isolation starvation' where the cluster cannot move to fresh stores due to very cold temperatures at the time of a required move. It has happened to me.

The idea is not to worry too much about the cold as long as there are plenty of accessible stores and no damp in the hive. Satisfy those two criteria and a colony has the best chance of survival, provided it goes into the winter strong in numbers, healthy, is Q+ (and she is laying worker brood!), has relatively light varroa loading, is neither subjected to extremely high temperatures nor ferocious draughts directly into the hive.

Even when Q- (or with a drone layer) a colony can survive the winter as long as remedial action is taken early in the spring. Not a good position if only one colony, I agree, but there is always a glimmer of hope if there are bees in reasonable numbers.

Not too much trouble for each item individually, but all parts should be considered in the best plans. Having said that, there are colonies which survive the winter without even all-round protection. But why take any unecessary risks, especially if one lost colony represents a 50% or 100% winter loss?

Those of us with multiple colonies expect the odd loss and sometimes higher losses occur in, say, one particular apiary or area for unknown reasons at the time. These are unavoidable if, for instance, a new virus is intoduced in some way (I always blame imported queens in these instances - one reason I don't import queens myself!) and are expected from time to time. We just get over it, breed more queens from the remaining resistant stocks to make up the losses, and simply carry on. The bees are the important thing for a beekeeper.

No bees, no longer a beekeeper (until restocked). BTDT, too!

Regards, RAB
 

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