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newbie's wintering question

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eatmorebeans 

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(for not the first time) I think I may have made a mistake....

I started with one hive this spring, had to split in May because of swarm prevention and now have 2 hives, both in a similar state.

There are a lot of bees with plenty of activity (It's still warm down south), I have fed them loads and they are on the 3rd week of apiguard. Plenty of brood (capped and larvae), stores and pollen, the mite drop is decreasing. I still have a 60% full super on each.

My big dilemma is what to do with the supers. I feel the bees have got loads more store in them than in the brood boxes and was wondering how many folks over-winter with a super of store on? If so, do I remove the excluder?

Maybe I should have removed the supers at the beginning of Sept?

Words of wisdom gratefully received..

Tony
 

Der Alte Fritz 

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If you still have plenty of bees and it is still pretty warm as it is in Sussex, then the bees have probably not yet started dying off and have yet to re-arrange the stores for winter. So I would keep the supers on, leave the excluder on and let them sort things out when they feel ready. When the queen stops laying, they can move the stores into an empty BB quite quickly and be ready for winter. Removing the supers takes their stores away!

We are in much the same situation down here in Sussex, they are still bringing in pollen, still building up stores in the super. The recent wet weather may change their minds but not yet.
 

Heather 

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This sounds good advice- but it so depends on the colony size. If they are not very big then they will have too much space to keep warm in the winter.

Yes it is still warm down here and pollen is piling in, so she seems to be working hard still. They will need those stores.

Where are you in the 'South'?You haven't indicated in your details- It is always helpful to the forum.

As it is your first year- and you seem to have done well- do you have an experienced bee keeper that can be a mentor to you? A little hands on advice is always helpful. My first year mentor saved me many a sleepless night with their reassurances and help. Just a thought ;)
 

rwestoll 

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For what it's worth, I put the super underneath the brood box and leave it there all winter. This leaves the bees with extra stores and should reduce draught from the OMF. The bees will take the stores in the super up into empty space in the brood box, whilst keeping the maximum amount of heat for the cluster at the top of the hive.
 

drstitson 

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winter stores

:iagree:

leave it on for a few more weeks whilst the bees "sort themselves out" after treatment then move super with remaining stores to below the brood box (if necessary).

Anyone think the capped stores need "bruising" to encourage bees to "rearrange"???
 

Finman 

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For what it's worth, I put the super underneath the brood box and leave it there all winter. This leaves the bees with extra stores and should reduce draught from the OMF. The bees will take the stores in the super up into empty space in the brood box, whilst keeping the maximum amount of heat for the cluster at the top of the hive.
that i a splended idea. You cannot use the honey because you have used mite drugs with it.
60% full super is not much.

Let the hive be in peace.. If you feed it continuously, it does not stop brooding.

Bees use open honey from downstairs or move it into the cells of emerged bees.

Seems good for winter if you have lot of brood. Restrict ventilation for autumn.
 
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Just dont forget to remove the excluder if you decide to leave the super on. All the bees move to the food in winter and HM gets rather cold...
 

eatmorebeans 

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Thanks for your tips, I've updated my details to give a bit more info.

I do have someone I can phone, and have done on occaision, but I don't like to pester too much, even though I'm pestering you lot!

Super under the BB seems like the ideal for me then, but I'll leave on top for a while to see if they take the stores down themselves.

OMF? HM? I'll have to look those up.

Thanks again

Tony
 
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OMF = Open mesh floor

HM = Her Majesty
 

Midland Beek 

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Note that in using Apiguard you have probably rendered the honey in the super inedible by people, but not by bees.
 

thedeaddiplomat 

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sadly, no more!
For what it's worth, I put the super underneath the brood box and leave it there all winter. This leaves the bees with extra stores and should reduce draught from the OMF. The bees will take the stores in the super up into empty space in the brood box, whilst keeping the maximum amount of heat for the cluster at the top of the hive.
I'm also planning to do this this Winter - and then in the Spring to leave the super on and allow them to expand to a brood and a half (in the hope of reducing the swarm threat). If I do so, do I leave the super underneath the brood throughout the year, or move it back above the brood in the Spring?
 

Finman 

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I'm also planning to do this this Winter - and then in the Spring to leave the super on and allow them to expand to a brood and a half (in the hope of reducing the swarm threat). If I do so, do I leave the super underneath the brood throughout the year, or move it back above the brood in the Spring?
that makes no sence. And move up in the spring has no sence either.
That is not beekeeping. It is trying fotune.

Reduce the winter room that the heath doest not escape from cluster.

In spring the spring build up is better when the room is tight and swarm.

Enlarge the hiven when colony enlarges.

Prevent swarming is comlex job.
 

Rosti 

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Apologies further negative observation along the same lines as Midland but you say you have been feeding heavily; you should therefore accept/assume that you dont have 'honey' in your supers but some form of concentrated sugar syrup derived carbohydrate - with subtle thyme undertones. Either leave them with it (get them to move it down) or spin it out and feed it back I think.

:leaving:
 

Vergilius 

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What is wrong with wintering bees on a standard brood?

Hi guys,

Does anyone still use the old fashioned technique of wintering bees on a single brood box? Even though last Winter was cold+wet, my bees (in a National single brood), easily had enough stores (obviously with the help of some Autumn feeding)to get through the Winter and expand in the Spring. Plus, brood-and-a-half and double brood both sound like nightmares when it comes to swarm control inspections in the Summer.


Ben P
 
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merylvingien 

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I am on commercials, my first year, but i have a super on two of mine and have removed the QE, i have fed them and i will leave it alone!
They can move into the super if need be, queen and all. Then in the spring i can add the QE back making sure she is below, and start again!

Or am i wrong?
 

Finman 

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I am on commercials, my first year, but i have a super on two of mine and have removed the QE, i have fed them and i will leave it alone!
They can move into the super if need be, queen and all. Then in the spring i can add the QE back making sure she is below, and start again!

Or am i wrong?
you cannot use the super just putting an excluder. In spring thee are winterfood and crystallized honey and brood. later you see how much.

You have to change the places of boxes later that bees mobilize old winter food. i do that changing when i need to give a third box.

So you will have one and half brood.
 

Rosti 

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I am on commercials, my first year, but i have a super on two of mine and have removed the QE, i have fed them and i will leave it alone!
They can move into the super if need be, queen and all. Then in the spring i can add the QE back making sure she is below, and start again!

Or am i wrong?
I dont think you are wrong at all, the fact the QE was in place ensures no laying in the super just storage, on removal that ensures a greater 'head' of stores above the brood ball at the start of winter than say a 14x12. Your colony has more vertical movement available than mine I suspect. If they dont use all the stores in the super over winter you may have a problem with syrup 'adulterated' honey come spring unless you deliberately put it above the crown to clean before you reset for spring honey storage again, but thats after clearing any early brood from it as well. I've done it and it worked well, I am now a lazy 14x12 convert though :chillpill:
 

Hivemaker. 

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Does anyone still use the old fashioned technique of wintering bees on a single brood box?

Yes,most of them. Brood and a half i consider to be nothing but a messy system....double brood is easy during active season,rotate box's.
 

Finman 

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In winter it depends on the volume of bees and late summer brood, how much room bees need for cluster.

It seems that many has too much room during winter and it does not give good shelter during cold weather.
 

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