Winter Prep

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Darryl 

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I'm planning my final inspection tomorrow. Off with the Apiguard and on with syrup feeders. Hives protected with Kingspan and bluetooth thermometers installed so I can keep a check on changes in temperature in the brood box.
A couple of questions.
1. What ratio of syrup is best? I plan to replace syrup with fondant when the frost arrives.
2. What is a reasonable number of frames of bees to be considered strong enough to get through the winter? (2 National and 1 flow)
Thanks
 

Erichalfbee 

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2:1
Can't help with seams of bees. My colonies are all just stuffed full of bees
 

SWHives 

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To answer question number 2, if you don't have a full 10 frame hive, i think it is best to reduce the space in the brood box so the bees have less space to heat. you can do it by dummy frames, however I would personally reduce the space in the hive with a poly panel, by closing off the rest of the brood box. As to how many frames of bees, if you check other threads, judging from more experienced beeks ( I am a new bee too) comments it is possible to over winter even a mini nuc (which I believe is about 3-4 frames of bees). Hopes this helps
 

hemo 

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If they have 35 -40lbs of stores there should be no need to feed fondant, for a BS nat that is approx. 8 full fames with stores. Once Nov is here 4 -6 seams of bees, nearer 6 for strong over wintered colony in poly.
 
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StephenT 

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two pounds sugar to one pint of water (not Kilos to litres)
I always assumed it was just 2:1 by weight but checking it in more detail it would be 1.25kg to 2kg of sugar for ‘standard‘ thick syrup. Didn’t dissolve that great. First time I’ve made thick syrup as needed it for a nuc instead of fondant on the other hives.
 

Erichalfbee 

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The easiest way to make syrup for a couple of colonies is to fill a large pan three quarters full with sugar. Mark the level and add water just off the boil to the same level. Stir. You might need to add a slurp more if it doesn’t dissolve.
 

hemo 

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I mix my approx. 2:1 sugar using hot water straight from the tap, no issues with sugar not mixing. I use an empty invert container pour 5kg sugar in and 4 pints hot water give it a brisk rattle about and then add two more pints hot water for a final rattle around. I prefer to use the invert containers as the weight isn't overly heavy. and are stable to transport.
 

Darryl 

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I mix my approx. 2:1 sugar using hot water straight from the tap, no issues with sugar not mixing. I use an empty invert container pour 5kg sugar in and 4 pints hot water give it a brisk rattle about and then add two more pints hot water for a final rattle around. I prefer to use the invert containers as the weight isn't overly heavy. and are stable to transport.
 

Darryl 

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Just made a small batch of 2:1 using boiled water. Works perfectly. Final mix fits perfectly into a 2lt milk container. Handy size to cart around. Didn;t manage to inspect fully as we were rained off (surprise, surprise).
Thanks again for all the advice.
 

Niv 

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The easiest way to make syrup for a couple of colonies is to fill a large pan three quarters full with sugar. Mark the level and add water just off the boil to the same level. Stir. You might need to add a slurp more if it doesn’t dissolve.
I use an old pop bottle, add a bag of sugar then the water (boiled in kettle) and shake shake shake. Works well for me as a small batch. Added bonus is its already in the container to take to the hive.
 

Beebe 

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Somehow it's escalated to seven.
I use an old pop bottle, add a bag of sugar then the water (boiled in kettle) and shake shake shake. Works well for me as a small batch. Added bonus is its already in the container to take to the hive.
I do that with small amounts needed; I use a cleaned, four pint, plastic milk container and use a big plastic funnel. When I am feeling really pedantic I place the whole lot on the kitchen scales and weigh the amount of water....completely unnecessary...I'll never be a bee farmer!
 

SWHives 

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So when we say that a hive needs 40lbs of stores to survive winter, would that equal to 40lbs of 2:1 syrup? I am thinking it should be more syrup as it is thinner than the capped over stores?
 

hemo 

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40lbs of 2:1 syrup by weight = approx. 32 - 34lbs of stores.
2:1 is approx. 67% sucrose /33% water, for sealed stores bees need to reduce moisture by 13- 15% for 20/18% moisture content.

Approx. 48lbs of 2:1 by weight is approx. 40lbs of stores. For approx. conversion rate 15% is the difference once moisture is reduced.
 

SWHives 

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40lbs of 2:1 syrup by weight = approx. 32 - 34lbs of stores.
2:1 is approx. 67% sucrose /33% water, for sealed stores bees need to reduce moisture by 13- 15% for 20/18% moisture content.

Approx. 48lbs of 2:1 by weight is approx. 40lbs of stores. For approx. conversion rate 15% is the difference once moisture is reduced.
That makes sense. Thanks
 

hemo 

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I use the maths as an approx. gauge if needing to feed but will physically check combs for stores and mentally calculate them to be sure.
Over the years I have got use to hefting and can tell when a hive is heavy enough as well.

One can feed bakers fondant (with no additives) and simply feed the weight needed, h20 is 20%. My long hive had 20lbs stores so I added 8.5kg/18.5lbs of BF to get the weight up, they will readily store it and my lot have demolished it in the week it has been in their. The plastic wrapper is pristine clean, even a vertical hive will also do so ( just pop the old very sticky/goopy wrapper under the CB in a shallow eke for a few days for a treat and it will be cleaned spotless).
 
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