A Winter Hive Set-up

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Barbarian, Sep 1, 2012.

  1. Barbarian

    Barbarian New Member

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    For several years, I have used a winter hive set-up that is becoming popular in some parts of the UK. It is called "Under Supering".

    In my area, the winters are mild and damp. We do not have long periods of daytime frost or heavy lying snow. The usual winter start is a hive of a brood box and a super of stores.

    The hive is set-up with the super on the floor, then the brood box and finally the inner cover and roof. There is no excluder.
    I like to tilt my hives forward in winter. I like to think that the cold, dense, damp air can flow out of the entrance. The solid floors seem to keep drier.

    As spring starts, an excluder goes between the super and brood. At the later, first examination of the hive, the brood goes on the floor. Then comes excluder, super etc. At the first examination, the super is usually empty and the queen in the brood box. If she is in the super (never happened for me) then she is moved back into the brood box.

    A further (relevant ?) point ---- the bees are local bred, survivor mutts.

    This post is for information. The winter climates are so variable, so must be the set-ups. Other members may wish to post their set-ups. Hopefully the sharing of information may help to improve the winter survival rates.
     
  2. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    some of the older books often times refer to the larger box as a brood chamber and the super as a food chamber. I quite often set hives up in the fashion you suggest although I would guess for different reasons but yes it does seem to work out as you describe. for myself I quite often configure a hive in the winter time with the shallow or medium depth super below simply because I also use frame feeders that are made in the deeper depth and by having the feeder at the top of the stack I don't so much need to break apart a hive to refill the feeder. I don't in anyway employ the use of excluders till a bit later in the season.
     

  3. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    barbarian,
    our winters are long, and very cold, with lots of snow. temps can drop to 30 degrees below zero. i winter the bees in 2 deeps, deeps must have reserves to get them through our long winters. i can heft the hives, but typically cannot pop covers off until march, or unless we have an unusually warm day in late February. if i have a colony exceptionally strong, a medium super will go on, on top the deeps. i use bottom ventilation, either the bottom board is flipped to the narrow opening and left wide open, or it is left with the wider opening and an entrance reducer is placed on with the widest opening. i use top ventilation, a 3" slot cut out in the front of the inner cover. a box about the size of an old comb honey box, that i make myself, goes on top and is filled with 2" of insulation, polystyrene. the top cover goes on, and i tip my hives a bit forward as well. i also wrap my deeps, but not the vent/insulation box on top. my deeps are wrapped about thanksgiving time.

    my bees are russian hybrids, and russian mutts/survivors. this is the only line of honeybees i have been able to successfully overwinter with minimal or no losses. i would also like to add, i have yet to emergency feed my bees, and am amazed at what stores are left come march.

    some northern beeks in my region use moisture boards on top of the inner cover, i do not. moisture boards do soak up the moisture, but i have found that it can also drip back down on the bees.

    great thread:grin:
     
  4. Ray

    Ray Member

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    Nadiring - bottom supering,
     
  5. ronsin

    ronsin Member

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    hi barbarian for quite a few years now i have always overwintered with open mesh floors left on the hives and have never had any problems with condensation. also i reckon that any varroa mites will all be on bees and any that fall off will fall out onto ground. like you i also keep local mongrels when i first started to keep bees i thought i would invest in one of those wonderful carniolan queens.cost me about twenty pounds then only to find that the bees superseeded it after a couple of months being a canny yorkshire man ive never bought a queen since