Winter Shutdown confusion...

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RoseCottage 

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Hi,
I have been reading the various posts on closing down for Winter and what should be done etc.
I am left a little confused.

We have two WBC hives on a bench in a field facing North with a Spinney 3-4 feet behind them.

My winter shutdown plan is as follows:

1. Remove the miller feeder. This is sitting on a super. If the super is heavy with stores leave it on, if not consider removing it completely (or at least removing the empty frames and packing insulation in the gap) to reduce the chance of chilling.

An assumption is that the Deep BB has sufficient stores and that the Super is extra.

2. Remove the Queen Excluder.

3. Cover the crownboard with some insulation such as Spaceboard. The insulation would be around an inch in thickness.

4. Place the entrance blocks in. This will reduce the chance of unwanted visitors and also the amount of wind/rain that may enter the hive. Secure the entrance blocks with tape so that they cannot be jemmied easily out by a mouse etc.

5. Slide the varroa floor into the slot under the OMF (which leaves a small gap for air to circulate) and tape it in place at front. This would stop wind coming from the front of the hive funnelling up into the BB. Leaving the small gap across the back would allow air to circulate.

6. Strap the hives down to the bench they are on.

7. Turn the hives 45 degrees to face at an angle to the main field to try and break the straight flow of wind/rain at the hive entrance.


My threats to the girls are:

Cold, Wind, rain, and damp
Mice, deer, woodpeckers, and moths

So my plan seems to do quite a lot against Cold, Wind, rain, and damp. It does a little to protect against Mice and Deer. It does nothing to protect against Woodpeckers or Moth. I am relying on the double skin of a WBC to protect against Woodpeckers. I am assuming that I can do nothing to stop a Waxmouth crawling into the hive.

Do folks think that this is a sensible plan or have I missed something or perhaps misunderstood something. My confusion relates to the discussion around the OMF and winter.

All the best,
Sam.
 

MuswellMetro 

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Hi,
I have been reading the various posts on closing down for Winter and what should be done etc.
I am left a little confused.

We have two WBC hives on a bench in a field facing North with a Spinney 3-4 feet behind them.

My winter shutdown plan is as follows:

1. Remove the miller feeder. This is sitting on a super. If the super is heavy with stores leave it on, if not consider removing it completely (or at least removing the empty frames and packing insulation in the gap) to reduce the chance of chilling.

An assumption is that the Deep BB has sufficient stores and that the Super is extra.

2. Remove the Queen Excluder.

3. Cover the crownboard with some insulation such as Spaceboard. The insulation would be around an inch in thickness.

4. Place the entrance blocks in. This will reduce the chance of unwanted visitors and also the amount of wind/rain that may enter the hive. Secure the entrance blocks with tape so that they cannot be jemmied easily out by a mouse etc.

5. Slide the varroa floor into the slot under the OMF (which leaves a small gap for air to circulate) and tape it in place at front. This would stop wind coming from the front of the hive funnelling up into the BB. Leaving the small gap across the back would allow air to circulate.

6. Strap the hives down to the bench they are on.

7. Turn the hives 45 degrees to face at an angle to the main field to try and break the straight flow of wind/rain at the hive entrance.


My threats to the girls are:

Cold, Wind, rain, and damp
Mice, deer, woodpeckers, and moths

So my plan seems to do quite a lot against Cold, Wind, rain, and damp. It does a little to protect against Mice and Deer. It does nothing to protect against Woodpeckers or Moth. I am relying on the double skin of a WBC to protect against Woodpeckers. I am assuming that I can do nothing to stop a Waxmouth crawling into the hive.

Do folks think that this is a sensible plan or have I missed something or perhaps misunderstood something. My confusion relates to the discussion around the OMF and winter.

All the best,
Sam.

you may get too much condesation in the brood with a slab of insulation if you have the varroa board in, you will need top ventalation, which if you insulate above the crown board with a slab can just be a match stick under the crown board, or an empty small baked been can heated and pushed pushed through the poly insulation to make a hole above the feed hole

i prefer no varroa board and solid slab with no top ventalation

i would also put the super under the brood rather than on top but that may be just me!!! but it also stops draughts

45 degree, turn so if you are confused now then so will your bees be when you turn their entrance, i would not do it, but then only you know the site

entrance block, no idea of your wbc type of block but i fit mouse guards and leave the block out on my nationals
 

RoofTops 

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A WBC will not protect against woodpeckers - they have been known to attack the corners of the lifts so they spring apart and fall down and once inside the thin inner boxes are little more than a light snack to the bird.

Unless you know there is a local problem with woodpeckers you don't really have to do anything but if a problem arises then chicken wire or plastic sheet works. A loosely woven bag of made of something like polypropylene also works, but you need to lift it up off the roof unless the roof is metal.
 

Gardenbees 

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It's a moot point, but I would probably take out the entrance block and put a mouseguard over it. Meeces can wiggle their way in practically anywhere unless there's a tough metal cover over it. :nature-smiley-12:And that beehive entrance with its wafts of honey-scented, centrally-heated air is very tempting to a small, furry person looking to get out of the weather....

WBC hives definitely don't protect against a determined woodpecker, but you have to be unfortunate to get savvy yaffles who actually know about beehives. Mine do; I've seen them investigating. But I've heard others say that there's lots of woodpeckers about that don't bother their hives at all. I use thick plastic rubble sacks, draped loosely over the top of the hive (not covering the entrance - I cut one face away for that side of the hive) with a few rocks on strings threaded through the edges to form weighted-down, hanging skirts which flap slightly. They cost very little, and keep the hive dry without stewing in condensation. The slight movement of them is offputting to birds.
 

RoseCottage 

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All,
Many thanks for your thoughts.

Muswell,
You leave your OMF wide open underneath to aid ventilation? Isn't that going to cause great heat loss? If this is normal with OMF (and this is my first year with OMF) then I will do the same.

As for placing the super underneath - I did this last year but I was thinking that this my be too much disturbance for the girls now to open the hive and swap the configuration. Its been 10 degrees today. I am hoping to deal with the winter configuration on Friday this week.

The site turn is basically because they look out onto a large ploughed field and this could be a real issue with the wind. I thought if I turned the hive (perhaps in the middle of winter) then the girls would be better off and if they have stopped flying anyway...they would re-orientate if needs be.

Gardenbees,
I was also under the impression that you couldn't get mouseguards for WBC's. If I could I would order them online today...

Rooftops,
I am unsure about Woodpeckers in the new location. We often see Green and also Greater spotted (or is that lesser???) in our area. The girls did fine last year but I have moved them to a slightly different location this year and I think I will see how they go. We had talked of putting chicken wire on posts around the hive bench but we haven't quite got there.
 

oliver90owner 

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Yes, two things.

As stated there must be an entry/exit for the bees - that is why mouseguards are fitted.

An OMF does not require the varroa collection board sealing it off - by all means reduce the OMF effective area a bit - but most winters I only close mine up to about a quarter for a short time of very cold weather. The dartingtons benefit, I think by slipping in a catch board under the cluster but allowing a draught over the board (at least at one end). Forget top ventilation of any kind if using an OMF - it will only produce a chimney effect with all the OMF ventilation. Top ventilation is only necessary for solid floors - and even then I would try raising the brood box rather than the coverboard to prevent dampness.

Further you say 'Deep BB'. If you mean jumbo (14 x 12), they would only need the brood box full of winter stores. If you mean a standard brood box, I would always over-winter on a brood and a super - for my location.

I used to insulate loosely around the boxes as well as over because those inner boxes of a WBC are relatively flimsy compared to a National box (1/2 inch timber, or less, cf 3/4 or more)

Regards, RAB
 

Queens59 

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I was also under the impression that you couldn't get mouseguards for WBC's. If I could I would order them online today...

I got mine from £hornes...62p...

JAYS>>>Mine have started spying on my hive...do they break in like Woodies??
 

Gardenbees 

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I've seen jays poking around at the entrance of a hive and hoovering up bees as they go in and out (or evicted drones) but I don't think they can actually bash their way in. Bees don't like them, though: having a jay pecking around makes them tetchy, perhaps because, outside of a hive, jays will actually eat brood when they can get it.

Basic mouseguards are just metal strips with holes in; they're fairly easy to make, but so cheap to buy that I wouldn't bother to make them at home. I bought a castellated one this year, but usually I just get the simple sort. You can tack them into place on any hive entrance as far as I know. Or use a strip of old metal queen excluder.
 

Ivor Kemp 

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I had a Jay in the summer sitting mid way up a Horse Chestnut tree which overhangs a hive.

As the they flew upwards the Jay spent about half an hour catching single flying bees without even moving from their perch.

Did this for about two weeks. I didn't disturb it as I considered the loss minimal, it was part of nature and was actually quite entertaining.
 

RoseCottage 

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Ben,
No both hives are deep brood boxes 14*12 we moved them across from standard wbc bb's early in the year.
Queens,
Thanks for the information ...spoke to my beautiful wife and she informed me that apparently we bought a couple earlier in the year! Again its my age !!!

Thanks for your thoughts,
Sam
 

rae 

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WBC hives definitely don't protect against a determined woodpecker,
I should have taken pictures of our neighbour's WBCs last year - it looked like they had been shot with a bazooka. Two big round holes in each hive, the interiors had been reduced to matchsticks.
 

aseeryl 

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Rose cottage
I think this may have been done before but how did you manage to change to 14x12.
I tried this earlier in the year on one hive by replacing a couple of standard brood frames in a 14x12 box with the, undrawn, larger frames, off centre, but they ignored them so I gave up. The 14x12s are now languishing in a plastic bag.
I need to plan ahead for next spring.
 

Monsieur Abeille 

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Rose cottage
I think this may have been done before but how did you manage to change to 14x12.
I tried this earlier in the year on one hive by replacing a couple of standard brood frames in a 14x12 box with the, undrawn, larger frames, off centre, but they ignored them so I gave up. The 14x12s are now languishing in a plastic bag.
I need to plan ahead for next spring.
aseeryl - I'm intending to do the same next year with both national and wbc - current plan is to do it via a shook swarm, though I get the impression that these are not approved of in all parts (what is!) so was going to bring up a discussion nearer the time
 

aseeryl 

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Rosti
Thanks for the HU on that - must have missed it.
 

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