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Overwintering Brood and Half

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bebop 

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Hi all, I put this up as a reply goonerwin but I thought it may be better as a new post. I have a brood and a half from a cast earlier in the year and wondering about closing down to just a B. The super has 7 frames of stores, and 1 more in the process of comb being drawn. The question I have is; Is it better to spin off the stores in the super and feed it back into the brood and then put roof back on or leave the super in place over winter? A QE is not fitted or Is there any advantage of one over the other?
 
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The area they need to keep warm should be as small as possible over the winter (no "vain space"), but for healthy sized colonies - and remember they will decrease in size before winter - many overwinter with a super but without QE.

If you decide the colony isn't that big and want to move them all in the one box with stores - and you dont want to keep honey for yourself - then there is no point in spinning. Bruise the cappings on the honey frames and leave them over the crownboard with feed holes open- the bees should hopefully move them down to the brood box (assuming space exists).
 

oliver90owner 

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The answer may well be in your observations. They are drawing comb now, at this present time? They would not be doing that if there were no flow. You may well yet finish with a full super.

I would more likely be bruising stores adjacent to the the brood nest and collecting a super of honey later, rather than further filling the brood box with stores now. If necessary I would feed back sugar syrup later. Well that would be economical £p route, but the choice is yours, and there are other scenarios which may well yet fit the conditions on the ground.

But, as usual, the 'one colony' beeks need a different outlook than those with several.

RAB
 

Hebeegeebee 

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This how I deal with my colonies - this was an answer to a thread on another forum. You can adjust to suit your brood and a half set-up - depending on whether you have the super above the brood chamber or below (really we should be calling them shallow and deep brood boxes as you don't have an excluder).

"I feed gently once the supers have been removed and Apiguard is on - despite getting a fair amount of ivy honey later in the year. There are three reasons for this. One is a practical one - I can't make up enough syrup to feed all colonies a large amount in a short period of time and also the gradual feed hopefully encourages continual egg laying - even if there is a rubbish couple of weeks weather-wise which can happen in August. It also means that the ivy honey is to an extent diluted.

Once the Apiguard has finished I will usually super again with the view that this gives space for egg laying as stores can be moved up.

At the last inspection I put the (full or fairly full) super under the brood chamber with no queen excluder. This ensures

a) there are plenty of stores so no faffing about with fondant in the winter.

b) the brood is at the top of the hive where it's warmest

c) you can see the cluster size for Oxalic Acid dribbling

d) no worries about the queen being stuck below the queen excluder if the bees move to the stores in the super. [Not sure if this is really a problem or not!].

e) reduces any wind-turbulence in the brood chamber.



At the first inspection in March/April the super can be removed from underneath. If you leave it on for too long the queen may start to lay in it. The super has always been pretty much empty at this time (no wax moth either) so the super is ready for re-filling . There is no need for spring feeding or worry about food over the winter months.

I leave the slider out from under the OMF (all year) and put some insulation above the crown board to reduce heat loss during winter and the spring build-up. I have seen no condensation issues.

Some of mine may go through winter as double brood if I combine late-on. The bees will adjust the brood and stores area as they see fit".
 

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