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Winter stores - leave on super?

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Beezy 

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Hi there,

This may be a silly question, but when at the end of summer I need to leave the bees with enough stores to see them over winter, can I leave on one of the supers? I thought this was what you do (removing QE) and then the bees would either move up into the super on mass or they would start taking the honey from the super and storing it in the brood box when the brood starts to reduce?

However, someone else said that you can't leave a super on and you have to extract the honey and leave the bees just in the brood box. I want to give them a whole super rather than supplementary feeding if poss.

Thanks!
 
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I think leaving the super on is not the best way forward.

In order for the bees to get through the winter you need to feed them until they take no more feed down. They'll know when they've got enough.

If you leave a super on you're supposing there's enough food in there to last them. Also if it's cold they won't go to get the food from the super.

Me thinks if you don't feed them and leave a super on you won't be a beekeeper in the spring.
 

MuswellMetro 

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Hi there,

This may be a silly question, but when at the end of summer I need to leave the bees with enough stores to see them over winter, can I leave on one of the supers? I thought this was what you do (removing QE) and then the bees would either move up into the super on mass or they would start taking the honey from the super and storing it in the brood box when the brood starts to reduce?

However, someone else said that you can't leave a super on and you have to extract the honey and leave the bees just in the brood box. I want to give them a whole super rather than supplementary feeding if poss.

Thanks!
i dont like a brood in winter split feeding between a super and brood.... in cold weather they will not go up to the super...and its more room to heat..so they need more food and they starve

if you want to use your own honey, recycle it to them either by placing a super frame until cleaned above the crown above the brood, or their own honey in a feeder plus 20% water...can cuase a lot of bees to drown though with the rush to get it
 

Peter Cox 

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You could leave a super on there however come spring you may an issue where the brood cluster has moved up into the super and the queen has started laying there.
Here, where the winter is a little more severe, we typically run 2 brood boxes and would expect to go into winter with about 100lbs of stores. In the spring we'd reverse the brood boxes so the top box that typically has the cluster and new brood is back on the bottom again.
 

elmer fudd 

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leaving supers on

Hi Beezy, no problem leaving a super on as I do it all the time and the Bee's overwinter with plenty of natural food.

If you extract your supers early enough, then when you put them back on the hive for the Bee's to clean they normally put a fair bit back in which should see them through the winter.

Don't remove the Queen excluder as there is no point in encouraging the Queen to enter the super unless you want a Brood and a half next season.

Don't forget to remove the other cleaned supers and store for next season and secure from the wax moth.

Hope this helps.

Elmer
 

MuswellMetro 

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Don't remove the Queen excluder as there is no point in encouraging the Queen to enter the super unless you want a Brood and a half next season.

Hope this helps.

Elmer
dont understand this at all,

The queen and brood migrate around the stores,eating them. if you have stores in the super for them to overwinter on , they by excluding the queen, the cluster cannot reach the stores ...they surely would only reach these stores if the cluster had broken up in spring as the cluster will not leave the queen below the QE...or have i missed something
 

oliver90owner 

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Elmer fudd,

Please, if you are going to help a new beek, at least post a method that works. Leaving a Q/E on over winter is likely to result in no queen come the spring.

It helps not a jot to say 'leave it on'.

New beeks: Never leave a Q/E over the brood box and under a super, over winter - if the bees move up for stores they may well leave the queen behind, exposed to lower temperature, resulting in a dead queen.

I preferred to leave a super of stores on a standard national. I now run 14 x 12s and a full brood box is adequate in most instances. The normal estimate is leave them with around 20kgs of winter stores. That is not possible with a prolific queen, laying late into the autumn, with just a standard National brood box.

Regards, RAB
 

MuswellMetro 

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I preferred to leave a super of stores on a standard national. I now run 14 x 12s and a full brood box is adequate in most instances. .

Regards, RAB
On Nationals, take RAB advice...i am a 14x12 man and never use standard brood boxes...so have no experiance of small brood boxes
 

Beezy 

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Hi, thanks for the replies. So to clarify: I have a standard national at the moment (I'll prob switch to 14x12 next year but have only had my bees 6 weeks so far), so I should leave a super on for winter? And they will be able to heat 2 boxes ok?

I'll supplement this with sugar syrup in autumn and fondant in winter, but wanted them to have honey stores as the first option.
 

MuswellMetro 

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yep, but rember remove the QEx to allow queenie access

you could work the hive as brood and a half in the spring changing to 14x12 at your timescale either by a shook swarm , bailey change or just put the standard brood frames in the 14x12 and slowley migrate them out over the year
 

Geoff 

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Last year on advice of more experienced bee keepers than me I left a super on. It also gave me some space to insert some fondant in during the winter. I did not put in a queen excluder as the idea of a super is that the bees can move up if they need the stores and you want the queen to stay in the middle of the cluster. I use commercial brood boxes and was not confident that there was enough room for stores in the brood box. When I looked in the spring the queen had laid in the super. No problem - just make sure the queen is down below and put on the queen excluder. When the brood have hatched the bees will use it for honey. I was told to do that because the bees will fill that super very quickly afterwards.
The colony that i did that with, which had been a very small cast the previous year came out of winter very strong and built up very rapidly during the spring, turning out to be my best honey producing colony. I am going to see if i can get some queen cells of it.
 

Beezy 

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That's great - I'll do that then. Thanks very much!
 

Bcrazy 

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I always leave a super on each hive for the winter period and the Q E is placed in the roof space. the bees do use the stores in the super and come spring then the super is placed above the QE which is returned above the brood chamber. If you feed and only leave enough stores in the brood chamber and its a cold winter the bees will NOT move to where the stores are i.e. at the outer extremities of the chamber so we end up with isolated starvation. Leave a super on it is not a problem.

Mo
 
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Very interesting stuff, this seems to be a great forum for us new beeks seeking enlightenment.

I'm in a very similar situation to Beezy, currently with a WBC + National, planning to move to Commercials next year. Had planned in the back of my mind to allow for a super on top over winter assuming there weren't loads of stores in the brood box. Had also been planning to leave QE on but won't be doing so now.

Question though - how many frames of stores in a national/wbc standard brood box do you think make the leaving of the super unnecessary (or if in kg, is there a weight/frame conversion?) . I suspect this may be a "how long is a piece of string" question, but I'll ask anyway!
 

karl moss 

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super or not?

Typical response,ask two beekeepers the same question and get three different answers :)
With advice from a very experienced beekeeper a few years ago, i always leave a super on overwinter,after removing the QE. I try to give them as much food as possible and therefore the greatest chance of survival, I don't really need the Honey, they do.
I have now got two hives on 14x12 this year, but i will still leave super on.
 
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Very interesting stuff, this seems to be a great forum for us new beeks seeking enlightenment.

I'm in a very similar situation to Beezy, currently with a WBC + National, planning to move to Commercials next year. Had planned in the back of my mind to allow for a super on top over winter assuming there weren't loads of stores in the brood box. Had also been planning to leave QE on but won't be doing so now.

Question though - how many frames of stores in a national/wbc standard brood box do you think make the leaving of the super unnecessary (or if in kg, is there a weight/frame conversion?) . I suspect this may be a "how long is a piece of string" question, but I'll ask anyway!
Several books say that a shallow BS frame will hold 3.5lb - 1.5kg of honey and other BS frames 5.5lb - 2.5kg honey. Someone on here said that an average hive needs 20kg to survive a winter, and David Cramps book it says 15-30kg plus (pg. 165-66). depending on the weather. Better safe than sorry, I guess - I'm a newbie so I'm only quoting a book!
 
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better to ensure there is enough food

I use 14 X12s and leave a full super on over winter. You must remove the QE. Last winter I lost two colonies that were very large going into the winter. The had died in the super having used all the brood box stores and 2/3 of the super stores. I believe they clustered when it was very cold and died in situ before they could move a frame ot two to the right or left. Judging by the weight of boxes in the other hives in Spring without a super full of stores as well as a brood box I would have been facing total wipeout. I also gave all my hives a Christmas present of fondant when I treated with oxalic acid. 3 or 4 hives needed a further supplementary block of fondant in March.:cheers2:
 

peteinwilts 

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I will probably feed mine honey and fondent this year.

I gave one of my 14x12's as much syrup as they wanted last year, but as a result ended up with a third of a hive of syrup in spring.

I donated the syrupy frames to a couple of weaker colony's, otherwise I would have ended up with syrup in my supers... :ack2:
 

tonybloke 

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Bcrazy 

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I believe your waisting heat in the picture above because heat is escaping through the metal roof this in turn makes the bees work harder. Why not have some form of insulation to try to hold in the heat?

Mo
 

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