First winter, new beekeper

marcindy(z5b, Indianapolis, IN)October 9, 2005

Hi beekepers,

I have a couple of questions, but here are the facts first:

I started with two hives last May. Everything went well so far, the two nucs thrived throughout the summer and are now filling two hivebodies. I even added a queen excluder and a super to each hive as they looked pretty crowded in July and August. I checked last weekend and the hive body frames are fairly full with capped honey, and some brood, but not much at this point. Each hive had one frame per hive box on the outside that had one side not fully drawn out. I moved those two over towards the center (mistake?). The super on each hive has a little honey in some frames, nothing capped though. On almost all frames in the super the foundation isn't even drawn out yet, with the exception on one or two frames in the very center were a small patch is, and that patch shows a little honey in the new cells. I figured I'll go ahead and take the queen excluders and supers off for the winter, but what do I do with the little honey in there? Do I let the bees empty the honey out of the supers as a little added bonus for the winter? If you suggest to not do that, how qould I best store the supers in my garage? Should I insulate the hives with tar paper? They are located between tall shrubs (decidous) and a garden fence, so wind is not much of a problem. Also, I checked for mites with sticky paper on bottom board, and I found a few, but not many, do I need to treat with anything at this point? Anything else I should be doing right now? Sorry for all these questions and this long post folks. I'm just very new at this. Thanks in advance for any answer or sggestion you can give.


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txbeeguy(z8 TX)

Mostly, it seems to me, you've done everything right so far. You didn't say if you fed them sugar syrup or not - probably not, based on the hive growth you've described (I assume you started them on wax foundation?). The bees' favorite time to draw out wax is in the Spring; they slow down on that enterprise throughout the Summer and simply don't do it in the Fall and Winter. I would not have put the undrawn comb in the center of the brood box at this time of year - I would have just left it in the outside position of the box.
I was hoping that Rob (ccrb) was still reading this forum since he's in your neck of the woods and could comment on how much honey (food) stores the bees need to survive the winter up there. I think, just to be on the safe side, I'd still feed them some heavy sugar syrup to insure they have enough to pass the winter months and probably leave on the unfinished super also. If you're still having warm days on which the bees fly, you could, as an option, take off the supers and sit them out in order to let the bees 'rob them out'. That way, the bees still get the honey and you have "clean" supers to store during the Winter months. (Put them back on, early next Spring to let the bees finish drawing out the foundation).

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 10:16AM
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ccrb1(z5 IND)

I'm not sure if Marc is a graduate of the Indiana Beekeeping School or not, and I didn't jump right in. If he was, his notes would remind him that wrapping is not recommended for Indiana as the increased humidity in the hive would be detrimental.

Winters are unpredictable in Indiana, but starvation is often seen by early April.

We recommend 80lb in the brood boxes.

Here is a link that might be useful: Indiana Beekeeping School

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 9:24PM
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