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worried how to get good winter cluster

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Finman 

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It is almost midd summer and you are talking winter feeding. Feeding is simple.

It is more important, how to get a good cluster of winter bees.

Winter cluster size will be same as the brood area before brooding stop.

Those bees which feed larvae, they will die before winter.

Winter cluster brooding needs empty combs where to lay.
If you feed too early or the hive s is full of honey, cluster will be small.
 

RoseCottage 

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I agree with Finman.
Last year was my first year and I started worrying about winter at the start of August. I fed the girls mid month and spun off the last of the honey.
it was too early for my bees as they continued to fly till mid October and had a flow on until the end of September.

They went into the winter with a full brood box, a full super and another super half full. This was actually too much and caused me some fiddly sorting out at the start of spring.

I will start to look at winter plans early/mid September and monitor their behaviour...whether they need varroa treatment pre feeding, amount of brood capping/eggs, etc
I imagine that if they are still flying then leaving things another month longer should be fine for me.

All the best,

Sam
 

justme 

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It is almost midd summer and you are talking winter feeding. Feeding is simple.

It is more important, how to get a good cluster of winter bees.

Winter cluster size will be same as the brood area before brooding stop.

Those bees which feed larvae, they will die before winter.

Winter cluster brooding needs empty combs where to lay.
If you feed too early or the hive s is full of honey, cluster will be small.
Thanks for that finman, makes perfect sense but I was thinking of feeding for winter earlier than maybe I should, note was.

Di:.)
 

Poly Hive 

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The main trick for more bees is your hive tool and working the brood box.

Bruise those stores combs and push the bees into getting them laid up. The best way to winter a colony is to have a strong one.

PH
 

Finman 

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Thanks for that finman, makes perfect sense but I was thinking of feeding for winter earlier than maybe I should, note was.

Di:.)
Don't thank me. Many beginners feed their bees in winter, in spring, in summer, in autumn and when ever.

Very few understand than they should raise bees and not stores or draw combs.
 

iball 

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The main trick for more bees is your hive tool and working the brood box.

Bruise those stores combs and push the bees into getting them laid up. The best way to winter a colony is to have a strong one.

PH
PH, I understand the bruising bit, but the laying up? Are you suggesting that by bruising they'll move stores up to a super leaving space in the brood box to lay up and over winter with a super on and no QE.

Thanks

Ian
 

oliver90owner 

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Iball,
Do you have an empty drawn super? If so, it should not be too difficult and take too long.

Regards, RAB
 

Finman 

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When you arrange the frames for final winter position,

put the brood frames down.
put white combs or foundation on sides,
then pollen frames and in the middle brood frames.

If your hive need more room than one box, it may be deep or super, put it on.

Feed with 63% syrup and bees will fill the combs.

***********

If you want to feed earlier, give a half of sugar one month erlier than final feeding. Bees have time to cap it. They put the syrup around brood area. Early feeding accelerates brooding.

In late feeding it must be short that bees do not start brooding again. Combs are filled with syrup and the queen has no space to lay.


First of all, reduce the wintering room, but in early feeding is is difficult to do.

.
 

Skyhook 

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.If you want to feed earlier, give a half of sugar one month erlier than final feeding. Bees have time to cap it. They put the syrup around brood area. Early feeding accelerates brooding.

In late feeding it must be short that bees do not start brooding again. Combs are filled with syrup and the queen has no space to lay.

First of all, reduce the wintering room, but in early feeding is is difficult to do.
Thanks Finman, really useful thread- but still not quite sure I've got it... by halway down the thread I had understood that the danger in feeding early was filling up the broodbox so no more brood. Solution- make them take the honey back upstairs, empty brood frames, more winter bees. THEN feed right at the end of the season. Are you saying that stumulative feeding can be done now? I'm not sure how those two go together.

I'm not thick, really- just a bit slow on the uptake sometimes!:eek:
 

iball 

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Iball,
Do you have an empty drawn super? If so, it should not be too difficult and take too long.

Regards, RAB
RAB, Thanks for the advice.

There's a super on for them, there's syrup in there so they can keep it, and a drawn super under that.

When the time comes I'll remove my super and the QE and let them winter on a brood and a half.

Plenty of space in the brood box as it's been queenless for 3 weeks, new mated queen going in tomorrow.

Ian
 

trapperman 

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i know this will sound stupid but how do you bruise the stores in the brood?, do you just run the flat edge of your hive tool over it just enough to damage the capping slightly.

be gentle with me :leaving:.
 

Poly Hive 

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I use a non J type hive tool so I have a nice wide hive tool edge some 30mm.

I press it gently into the cappings and "swipe" it over the comb in swathes until the whole comb, both sides mind, is "bruised". If the honey runs and drips then so?

On my next inspection I would expect it to be empty of honey and full of brood and to get that I put the bruised comb in the middle of the brood nest.

I know I know some so called authorities say it is a total and utter no no........ LOL sorry but I have to laugh at that one... it works. I was doing it today. In the rain actually.

For some reason I cannot understand "working the brood nest" is a hidden secret.

PH
 

trapperman 

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I use a non J type hive tool so I have a nice wide hive tool edge some 30mm.

I press it gently into the cappings and "swipe" it over the comb in swathes until the whole comb, both sides mind, is "bruised". If the honey runs and drips then so?

On my next inspection I would expect it to be empty of honey and full of brood and to get that I put the bruised comb in the middle of the brood nest.

I know I know some so called authorities say it is a total and utter no no........ LOL sorry but I have to laugh at that one... it works. I was doing it today. In the rain actually.

For some reason I cannot understand "working the brood nest" is a hidden secret.

PH
thanks for that i may try this as i have 3-4 frames heavy with stores in my brood box.
 

Poly Hive 

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Please just put one in the middle? Just one.... PLEASE.

PH
 

beebreeder 

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are you planning on using thymol based varroa treatments? if you are they are temperature dependant and need 15-16 degrees min to work, depending on where you live september may be to late, also if the brood box is light feed but enough to keep the queen laying, my mini nucs are emtying a feeder each week at the moment and virtually non is stored all used up as food.
 

aseeryl 

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To Polyhive
I've got 2 splits which have successfully raised their own queens. Both started laying about 2 1/2 weeks ago so there should be some hatchings this week. Numbers have obviously declined - due to natural wastage. Both have been going like trains and the brood frames are full. There are frames full of stores only each side of the brood frames with patchy drawn frames further out (both are restricted to 7 frames with dummy boards). There don't seem to be any spare spaces for the queens to lay.

I am intrigued by the notion of "working the brood box" as they do need to build up numbers. There are no supers on as not all the downstairs frames are in use.

So would putting a frame of "bruised" stores in between the brood frames help in this situation? Or would it lead to cooling and reduce brood survival? Or, given that there aren't huge numbers, - they are mainly resident on the central frames - should I wait till the current crop has hatched out so that adequate nurse bees will be available?

I think the point of this is that the next cycle will run through to, maybe an unpredictable, early autumn. I live in the frozen north where the weather seems to have been lousy since the past few weeks.
 

Firegazer 

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PH,
I'd love to know more about this "working the brood box" stuff. I've only ever heard you mention it - not seen it in books or elsewhere.

Closest thing I've seen is moving brood frames around to put full ones nearer the outside of the nest and encourage the bees to build out smaller ones that are now more central.

Any chance of a reference, or a short briefing note when you get a chance?

Cheers.

FG
 

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