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Wintering with a super

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Skyhook 

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Sorry guys, I know there have been a couple of similar threads but I would like advice on a particular point: From reading these threads I have gone from planning to overwinter in a standard brood box, to planning to leave a super on. I know I mustn't leave the QE on over winter, but is there any reason why, when I put a super back on after extracting, I shouldn't put the QE on for autumn to make sure the brood stays at the bottom, then remove it say end of Sept when HM gets bored of laying? As I understand it, what I,m looking for is the cluster at the bottom and solid stores for them to work up into.
 

Polyanwood 

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If you put a QE on and there are no stores left in the BB, then when the bees climb up into the super as a cluster they will leave the queen behond and she will die, or they will not leave her, and they will all die.
 

russw 

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or they will all go into the super with the queen and the brood will be left to die
 

oliver90owner 

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No problem at all.

I think the previous posters have not read yours too well.

Regards, RAB
 

Juststarting 

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I may have misread original post but I think Skyhook seems to have got the point about not having the QE btween BB and super overwinter but seemed to be asking if he/she should overwinter with a super of tore on top of bb and whether they could use QE until end of queen laying to keep queen out of supper whilst the bees filled it with stores (presumably fed to them). and then remove QE before winter allowing cluster and queen to move up into super when they wanted more stores.

I assume this is because they are worried about brood in the super and wanted to keep it just for winter stores.
 

Juststarting 

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sorry oliver90owner you posted similar and more succintly whilst I was typing!
 

russw 

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sorry Oliver, Im new to this too. but won't all the bees including the queen cluster in the warmest part of the hive and if thats in a super on top of the bb then any brood would be left in the bb at the bottom?
 
T

Tom Bick 

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Sorry guys, I know there have been a couple of similar threads but I would like advice on a particular point: From reading these threads I have gone from planning to overwinter in a standard brood box, to planning to leave a super on. I know I mustn't leave the QE on over winter, but is there any reason why, when I put a super back on after extracting, I shouldn't put the QE on for autumn to make sure the brood stays at the bottom, then remove it say end of Sept when HM gets bored of laying? As I understand it, what I,m looking for is the cluster at the bottom and solid stores for them to work up into.
Yes as with Rab this is possible but perhaps next spring you may have brood in the super on first inspection and also a super that may be 3/4 full of syrup.

One final question how big is your colony? and will they need the extra space as they will have to keep it warm to.
 

Mike a 

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Although its far to early to tell plus we don't know what levels of forage you have around your area, but if you feel confident they can fill the super with enough stores to leave it on over winter then its a good idea. If its only partly full I think it would be a gamble to leave on as the colony is likely to move up if the temps drop and could end up ignoring the far more healthy honey stores low down in the brood chamber even if you feed them.

Over winter on sugar water or honey?

Personally I would opt for their own honey

:rant:
but I'm sure others on here will disagree, even to the point of squeezing every last drop of honey they can from from the brood chamber to earn a few extra pennies is an acceptable practice only to replace it with sugar water. I know it happens in my association and the person even boosted about it, then come spring he was the loudest in complaining his colonies died.
:rant:
 

oliver90owner 

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No sweat, the rest.

Russw,

No. Bees do not abandon brood unless for something like a forest fire.

They are on a brood at this time of the year. No different than supering in the spring, so it is done all the time.

Regards, RAB
 

jezd 

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why not place the super under the brood box with excluder between, bees should move stores up into BB (I plan to clean my supers out this way).
 

Skyhook 

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One final question how big is your colony? and will they need the extra space as they will have to keep it warm to.
Quite a strong colony- came through last winter, have been a big strong colony through summer, starting to contract now- 4 frames filled with stores, 7 with eggs and brood and stores.
 

Skyhook 

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why not place the super under the brood box with excluder between, bees should move stores up into BB (I plan to clean my supers out this way).
The reason I wanted to add a super is that I get the impression a standard brood is JUST big enough to overwinter a colony, and that effectively overwintering on brood and a half (albeit without brood) would give some safety margin
 

Juststarting 

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Jez, do you bruise the stores in the super to encourage bees to move them up, or will they do it anyway?
 

Hebeegeebee 

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With super above brood and no queen excluder you will probably finish up with brood in the super in the Spring. Is that what you want?

In late summer, put super under brood chamber; no q/ex. Bees stay in brood chamber as it's warmer. (Heat rises). Plenty of stores for bees. In Spring, remove empty super from underneath before the queen starts to lay in it. (bees move the stores to around the brood nest). Store super until it needs to go on the hive later in the Spring. No worries about stores levels or queen getting left behind. Oxalic treatment is also easy:- Lift off crown board. dribble. replace crown board. Simples.

I've done this the past 2 years and the underneath supers are empty and there is sufficient stores around the brood area once the super has been removed. The only issue is if you leave the super under for too long as you may get brood in the central frames as bees tend to produce a vertical oval shaped brood nest.
 

Skyhook 

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With super above brood and no queen excluder you will probably finish up with brood in the super in the Spring. Is that what you want?

In late summer, put super under brood chamber; no q/ex. Bees stay in brood chamber as it's warmer. (Heat rises). Plenty of stores for bees. In Spring, remove empty super from underneath before the queen starts to lay in it. (bees move the stores to around the brood nest). Store super until it needs to go on the hive later in the Spring. No worries about stores levels or queen getting left behind. Oxalic treatment is also easy:- Lift off crown board. dribble. replace crown board. Simples.

I've done this the past 2 years and the underneath supers are empty and there is sufficient stores around the brood area once the super has been removed. The only issue is if you leave the super under for too long as you may get brood in the central frames as bees tend to produce a vertical oval shaped brood nest.
Only taken me a week to think about this. :blush5: See if I've got it right. If I put a super under the brood frame, they will then think it's the bottom of the brood frame, start adding brood down there, then Fill the brood box with stores. When winter comes they will cluster in the super, using that first and eating all the syrup. By the end of winter they will have worked their way back up into the brood box leaving the empty super underneath which I can then remove clean for re-use.

Is that right?
 

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