Closing a hive, preparing for winter

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by ndm678, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. ndm678

    ndm678 Member

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    My 'little hive that could' is no more. I inspected yesterday and found empty cells and around 100 bees. All stores that were in this hive have been robbed.
    I'm not sure what to do about it now. I was going to put in SBB and a close up the entrance for the winter. I would freeze them, but don't have the freezer space this time of year. I was going to combine with my other hive, then remove the to super by the end of the month. Where there is so little bees in the hive with no food stores, I don't know if it's worth doing that for a handful of old bees.
    FYI, the other hive has around 4 frames of brood, 16 frames of capped/uncapped honey. I feel they are set for winter (although I'm still feeding them). Should I remove the SBB from this hive? It gets cold/windy here once the leaves fall from the trees. I'm building an insulated inner cover and will deploy it once finished. Entrance reducer is on, I will reduce more towards the end of the month. Is there any other winter preps I need to consider?
    I have little to no faith the bees will make it the winter. Seems my entire season has been in uphill battle. It's still a good experience to try to overwinter them. Worst case senerio, I have 3 supers of drawn comb for spring packages.
     
  2. Barbarian

    Barbarian New Member

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    Combining

    I would advise against combining your 'little hive' with the 'other hive'. There is always a chance that your 'little hive' has a disease that you would not want to transfer to your 'other hive'. 100 bees are not going to really help your 'other hive'.

    If you have freezing winter temperatures, then leaving the 'little hive' outside, sealed yet ventilated (SBB ?) will get conditions to kill off some of the nasties.

    To sterilize, I torch the inside of my boxes and use the Acetic Acid method for the combs and wooden frames.
     

  3. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    Yes, just leave the dead hive outside for the winter. Put a good mouse guard so no mice can move in for winter. You won't need to worry about moths or beetles or robbing now. You can use it all in the Spring, and the bees will clean the frames up for you after you simply brush off any dead bees. If it were me I'd leave the SBB open, seal the lower entrance, and screen the upper entrance.

    Giving dead frames with no stores to your good hive would be bad at this time of year- in the cool temps there is nothing they can do with them anyway. the insulated cover will be good. Consider that from now until winter, every time you crack open that hive you break the propolis seals and create cracks between boxes where icy winds can come through.

    They sound well prepared. I'd definitely stop feeding them now, and get their insulated cover on, making sure they have a top open vent for condensation to escape. Some sort of wind barrier might be good- either a burlap or bamboo fence, bushes, or a sheet of tarpaper wrapped/stapled around the sides only, not blocking any entrances or vents.