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Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Viktor, Jul 29, 2013.
Winter is coming along and I have one question...what is the best way to winterize the hive? Thanks!
Best way? Take it south.
Sorry, couldn't help it. The devil made me do it.
Welcome to the forum.
Some of the northerners will be along shortly and can help you better than I can.
If I remember correctly west Mass is a bit hilly with some elevation?
any of the folks from New England or southern Canada should be able to lend you some information but you will need to add a bit more detail in regards to the hive(s) existing condition.
and good luck....
There are several methods for this area. Most common is to wrap the hive in felt paper, open the bottom entrance and provide a top entrance/air escape. Most put 2" of foam board on top of the hive to prevent condensation from forming and wetting the bees. You should have enough honey in the hive for them to eat in the winter [hive should weigh around 200# minimum]. If they are light on stores you will need to feed them. And make sure you check for mite buildup and treat if necessary. Varroa is the biggest killer of hives IMO. I will start treating next week.
I second the mite treatment should be done by end of August. They need healthy bees going into the winter.
I wrap as well and use some of that foam board insulation on top to try and prevent condensation.
Ditto what Hawkster and Camero7 have said, tar paper and foam insulation under the lid. I started my mite treatments on Sept 14th last year and got away with it. I'll be looking to start around the beginning of Sept. this year.
I have actually moved to pushing hives close together and building 3 sided tents from cheap tarps from Harbor Freight. I keep the south/east side open and bees can fly on warmer days. I've had good success with this and it's much quicker and easier than individual wrapping. I still put the foam board on top of the migratory covers. Had 100% survival in 2011 and 80% last year using this method. I also check for nosema [all hives still negative] and tracheal [haven't seen one of them for a while]. Have to have an excuse to use that $400 microscope:lol:
Alright, you've got my attention. Any pictures? :beg:
I'll take some this fall and post them. But it's pretty straightforward. Just push the hives together with all entrances pointing east or south [preferably]. Put the Styrofoam on the top, then drape the tarp over the hives and down the back. I have my hives on pallets and I use some scrap wood and screw the tarps down. In the back I weight the tarps down with rocks. I like the tarps to extend to the ground to prevent drafts under the hives. This method tends to create a pocket of still air under the tarps, stops the wind from blowing on them and - maybe most importantly - keeps them dry. In fact in 2011 I thought they might be too dry but did fine. I really believe this method eliminates a lot of moisture buildup in the hives which also helps end the condensation at the top of the hive. Winters have enough snow and rain that lack of moisture turns out not to be an issue. Both winters I had fondant on top of some of the light hives and they were able to utilize the fondant even when it started to dry out. In the other hives they were fine with the honey.
Camero7; is that single layer tarps or insulated? Sure sounds easier than doing each hive individually! I use a pillow of planer shavings in loose woven burlap for top insulation that will still allow moisture to escape. I do use a top spacer that also allows sugar to be placed on top of frames. Wrap with tarpaper three sides, front facing south bare.
What hive configuration had you in mind to be approaching 200#?
single layer although I have considered using an insulated cover.
based upon a question recently asked by a student.... do any of U YANKEE beekeepers monitor or treat for tracheal mites?
As I noted above I occasionally check for tracheal but haven't seen one in years. I use only VSH type queens and I attribute them to the lack of these mites.
Echo what Camero7 and Hawkster said. Although mite treatment should start earlier in my opinion. Brood sealed any later than August 20th I want it to be treated and as mite free as can be. these bees are going to start emerging in early September and I want these bees as healthy as possible to take the colony thru to the next spring. By the middle of October most brood rearing has slowed dramatically or stopped so you have 6 week to build your healthy winter bee stock. By delaying the treatment by 2 weeks you can impair the health of 1/3 of your winter bees.
At a bee meeting last year a new keep asked what is the most important thing that we have learned in beekeeping? I had to say treating the bees so they are mite free going in to winter, not just reducing the mites. To accomplish this treat mid August. All the old time beekeepers in the room nodding their heads in agreement.
Tec because a lot of us beekeepers us formic acid to treat the Varroa mites it kills the tracheal mite also. They are slower in building up and causing the demise of a colony, It is in the colonies but at very low levels and kept in check with the treatment preformed for Varroa.
Thanks for the info Apis. The student in question is from Michigan and I did explain to her that here in the south trachael mites had never show themselves to represent any economic loss but I at least suspected for those of you up north who need to winterize the story could be quite different.
Mid August seems early for us here. How would you manage to hit your fall flow if you were pulling supers to apply the formic? (pre-MAQS) If you pulled supers to treat here mid August you would miss most of the fall flow.
Not Keith, but oxalic acid vapor eliminates the problem. I just set the supers to the side, vaporize and put them back on. A little work but not that bad. Doesn't interrupt the flow. With MAQS you have to lift all the supers + a box and they are actually more work, especially if you have to remove them. I found the bees tend to propolize them rather than removing them.
You forget where you grow up boy? No in the Okanagan it is so dry that by mid August there is no nectar coming in except from knapweed which has a bitter sap in the stems and is in the nectar also causing the honey to be bitter tasting. Beatles introduced in the 1990's to control the knapweed has even caused this nectar source to be substantially reduced. Our main honey crop comes in the last week of June and the first 2 weeks of July. What I do is Pull the honey treat for the mite and let the bees back fill the brood nest with the nectar they bring in, in August and September.
:lol: Sometimes I forget. I still remember as a kid watching tumbleweeds roll down main street, and stepping on cactus when hiking in the mountains around town.