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Over winetring now?

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acepestdetective 

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Hi all.

In my second year as a beek and have 4 colonies on the go.

Three of these are well established and I took what supers off I could for harvesting over the weekend.

As I'm on WBC's I have placed the supers below the brood boxes in preperation for over wintering but with the Balsam coming in I'm wondering if I have jumped the gun a little early and am worried about the posibility of secondary swarming now!

I am also feeding the hives as necessary to build up stores for the winter but a couple of the queens are laying really well so added an empty super to a couple to allow a little extra space.

What are you thoughts? Have I prepared for winter in removing the supers too early and thus there may be a possability of swarming?

Rob.
 

Rosti 

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Rob, you haven't posted your location?

In my neck of t'woods Balsam and evening primrose has come in very strongly and the hive is roaring away. I have been warned not to reduce space to quickly because we have yet to have the ivy flow and if this is heavy it could extend / promote laying and causing over crowding and Sept swarming potential hence leave a super on top - as you have done on a couple of hives anyway. Mine are actively laying down honey and I am leaving them to it for now.

Unless I have mis-read your posting "have placed the supers below the brood boxes in preperation for over wintering " and the bees still have access then the super is effectively turning your brood area into a brood & 1/2?
 

rae 

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We're in Berkshire, and the bees are going flat out right now - not even a thought of overwintering. They're passing up the balsam for something else at the moment.

My question is, how much honey should we leave? I wasn't planning on getting any honey this year, but the current situation is as follows:

Nuc_1 - got it in june, 3 frames of brood, 2 of stores. It is now 9 brood frames (the end ones aren't fully covered, but there is brood in the centre), has just filled the first super, and we're putting on the next super this w/e. As of the last inspection, they were just drawing out the edge frames of the existing super. My plan for these ones is leave them with the first super as over winter food, and pinch any extra they make. So to get them through the winter, they'll have whatever is in the brood box + a full super.

Nuc 2 - got it in early July, started as 3 frames of brood, is now about 6 frames, with the rest of the frames in the brood box full of stores. The first super went on last week end. I reckon they might just fill this before winter stops play, and I'll leave them with it.

Is this about right? The hives are in a good, sunny location, at the moment they are flying very early in the morning (05:30), and still active at the front of the hive as it gets dark.
 

oliver90owner 

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rae,

how much honey should we leave?

Most will give an answer around 20kg. Usage will depend on lots of factors so it should always be worst case scenario decision.

Not being a honey business, I generally allow my bees more than necessary - after all I hope to get a return on that honey next year if they don't need it over the winter.

The 'honey robbers' (or should we say 'more intensive honey croppers'?) who feed back sugar instead will need to be sure none is left before next year's honey production, but they may well be feeding heavily with thin syrup, for a good spring boost, early in the coming season anyway.

I kind of think there is also about 1/2kg of protein in their stores as well (not nearly as much in sugar stores), so that must be good for them. Don't get me wrong, I will feed sugar if they need it.

I have recently removed a couple supers worth, or more, of honey from my colonies which are now all on just the brood box. If they fill up, I will exchange full frames for empty ones. If they don't, I will add full frames to supplement them. I could extract the frames and feed back sugar but this way I don't have to worry quite so much about timing of autumn feeding if they can care of it for themselves, at their own pace.

Might need to unite a couple colonies to make them really strong for the winter. Decisions that don't need to be made yet. I hope I don't need to and don't need to feed syrup in the autumn.

Ymmv.

Regards, RAB
 

Gaz Fella 

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"I kind of think there is also about 1/2kg of protein in their stores as well (not nearly as much in sugar stores), so that must be good for them."

yes, very definitely "good for them" and probably a great help in resisting nosema, and allowing a good Spring build up. I intend using sugar syrup as usual ... but this year adding "FeedBee" to the autumn feeding.

It is available in this country [Maisemore etc] but the sales pitch is at:

http://www.feedbee.com/
 

rae 

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For the first colony, that has very little stores in the brood box, leaving a full super on will give them about 20kg. For the second, they have a lot of stores in the brood box, so I won't worry overly if they don't fill the super.

I might feed some of that pollen pattie stuff as well, just to make sure!
 

jezd 

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How come you put the supers under the brood box??
Its funny as i have seen a suggestion that placing an empty super under the BB for overwintering helps - ie reduce impact of strong cold winds directly under the BB (something I am considering)

The other reason is after extraction you have old super frames why not let the bees clean them and take up honey to the BB.

Just thoughts...

PS re above, is everyone a 'honey robber'? pish
 
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Finman 

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Oh boy? 20 kg honey to bees!

i take all honey away and give 20 kg sugar for winter. In finland.
.
Hive has what it has and then fill the rest with sugar.
when brood have emerged, then bees can store into broodarea. But now bees rear winterbees.
 

Rosti 

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Finnish winter prep

Finman, are you wintering on a single brood box, brood and a half or double brood box? Or do you vary by colony/strength? So does that make it 20Kg per brood box as a ratio?

.... and while I'm pumping you for info is that 20Kg of sugar or 20Kg of syrup (and if so what strength?). I was just going to feed until they got bored of the stuff / too cold.

We used to have proper Finnish winters in Yorkshire, now adays only a light dusting of frost on the palm trees. Alas!
 

David P 

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Oh boy? 20 kg honey to bees!

i take all honey away and give 20 kg sugar for winter. In finland.
.
Hive has what it has and then fill the rest with sugar.
when brood have emerged, then bees can store into broodarea. But now bees rear winterbees.

here is the difference between the larger scale beekeeper and the hobbyist.


The question really is at what point does your honey production justify the extra hassle involved in selling it.

To some all they want is enough honey to fufil their own needs with a little left over to give to family and freinds. These people are usually happy to leave any surplus for the bees.

Some will produce so much that they have to sell it and as such with the price of honey being higher than the price of sugar it makes more sense to take as much as possible and feed back sugar.

Somewhere between these two lie a third category who produce more than they or the bees need, but who does not want to get involved with the red tape etc of selling commercially, and yes even if you only sell a few jars the inland revenue want to know about it, not to mention depending on how and where you sell it trading standards, local authority environmental dept etc etc etc.
 
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oliver90owner 

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If Inland revenue wanted to tax my meagre honey sales, I would want them to see a balance sheet first. They would likely be paying me a rebate, or whatever one might call it!!

Regards, RAB
 

jezd 

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Finman, are you wintering on a single brood box, brood and a half or double brood box? Or do you vary by colony/strength? So does that make it 20Kg per brood box as a ratio?

.... and while I'm pumping you for info is that 20Kg of sugar or 20Kg of syrup (and if so what strength?). I was just going to feed until they got bored of the stuff / too cold.

We used to have proper Finnish winters in Yorkshire, now adays only a light dusting of frost on the palm trees. Alas!
odd, down here last Winter had one of the longest sub zero periods for many decades and the bees seemed to have benefited too, I understand the reasons for getting off to a good start in Spring but bees dont mind cold in Winter, in fact they benefit from good hard fronts that kill off mites and other pests
 
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acepestdetective 

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Rob, you haven't posted your location?

In my neck of t'woods Balsam and evening primrose has come in very strongly and the hive is roaring away. I have been warned not to reduce space to quickly because we have yet to have the ivy flow and if this is heavy it could extend / promote laying and causing over crowding and Sept swarming potential hence leave a super on top - as you have done on a couple of hives anyway. Mine are actively laying down honey and I am leaving them to it for now.

Unless I have mis-read your posting "have placed the supers below the brood boxes in preperation for over wintering " and the bees still have access then the super is effectively turning your brood area into a brood & 1/2?
You didn't read incorrectly I have indeed put the super below the broad box.

So yes I'm on brood and a half. The reason being is that I want to give the bees room and plenty of space for storage. The thought being behind brood on top of the super was that come spring the cluster will have moved into the brood box and the bottom super could be removed, rather than finding lots of brood in the super come spring. The other reason is that the supers I have are all castelenated rather than spaced with metal/plastic ends so I don't want to go onto brood and a half with this set up, and thus squash loads of bees when checking frames next year.

Next year I then intend to go onto double brood as my girls seem to expand rapidly and I want to allow a quick spring boost in the coming years and be able to swap the boxes around in the spring to move the cluster into the bottom most box.

Part of the reason why I took the supers off is that most of the frames were very poorly drawn out (approx 10% across the whole super) and I was told that they won't draw many more out this time of year.

So is that correct and the bees won't draw them out much?

Looking at my girls tonight they are very busy and I may have jumped the gun a little so will hold off on any further feeding for now.

I'll extract the 15 frames of honey and put the supers back onto the largest colonies - the question is would you put them above or below now that I have supers then broods?

So many questions I know so apologies for that folks only I've put my heart and soul into my girls this year and have put up with countless closed eyes due to stings so want to try and do things right.

Rob.

P.S. I'm in Herefordshire with extensive woodland nearby and the river about a mile away.
 

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