Fall Hive inspection "enough honey for winter?" strategy for survival

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Michbeeman63, Oct 1, 2012.

  1. Michbeeman63

    Michbeeman63 New Member

    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Went through my three hives yesterday to see how much honey stores I have for my bees. This was after pulling off around 80 lbs of surplus honey. Took a bathroom scale out and weighed myself with the boxes. I live in Southern Michigan, so I am told to leave a minimum of 70 lbs honey for them to survive the winter. See my diagram for hives and weights.

    honey stores.JPG

    Hive 1
    Was a hive that did not survive last winter, and had a new package installed in mid april. Started out slow but ended up being my strongest. Have Taken off a deep with about 8 full frames of honey, which was partially from a hive that I lost over the summer.

    removed a deep which some was produced from a dead out over summer, nearly full
    left a super 1/2 full honey partially capped 15 #
    2nd deep was so full couldnt lift it so I didn't disturb any further for bottom deep.
    well over 100 lbs of honey in hive for winter.

    Hive 2
    Brand new hive all frames and new bees from spring. removed a honey super with about 8 frames of capped honey.

    Left with a top deep with 47 lbs
    bottom deep 27 lbs
    total 74# honey

    Hive 3
    This hive was a split and never really took off. put honey on from dead out to strengthen. Seem like it has a good amount of bees.

    It has three deeps left, after pulling off a deep with about half the frames with honey.

    top deep 21 # honey
    2nd deep 24 # honey
    bottom deep 24 # honey
    total 69 # honey.

    What would be your plan for best survival? Hive 2 and 3 seem little light. Would you leave three deeps only partially full on a hive in the winter in michigan? Would you leave the half honey supers on hive 1 and 2 or move it to hive 3 (combine two half supers, and put on hive 3 for proper honey stores and less volume to keep warm. I plan to fall feed with a top feeder all three hives, and to place a 20 # candy board on each for late winter December.

    Any advice is appreciated,

    Mike
     
  2. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I would leave five three alone and if anything move the 15# box from hive one to hive two. That gets you right to the wire for hive 2 hive one is good and hive three will not need a full 70# if it is not a full hive of bees.

    Hope that helps.
     

  3. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

    Messages:
    3,048
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    hi mike,
    "Would you leave three deeps only partially full on a hive in the winter in michigan? Would you leave the half honey supers on hive 1 and 2 or move it to hive 3 (combine two half supers, and put on hive 3 for proper honey stores and less volume to keep warm."

    i would not leave 3 deeps partially full on a hive in michigan in hive 3's current set up.
    i have a question for you, how many frames of bees would you estimate there are in this hive, if the bees covered both sides of the frames? you need between 10 and 15 frames of bees, and your honey stores are short. also the bulk of the honey needs to be in the top 2 deeps, but can be moved.
    it is not the volume they keep warm, it is the cluster.
    see this thread, my post # 29 about guidelines for wintering in 3 deeps:

    major hive issues

    i think you might consider reduction of hive 3 to two deeps, and do some equalizing of hive 2 and 3 of the deep frames, depending on the size of hive 3.
    this might also help you decide what to do with these 2 supers that are 1/2 full, if you would combine into 1 and feed them to the hive that is the shortest.

    what line of bees are you keeping?

    post back and let us know; 1. how many frames of bees hive 3, and 2. line of bees
    :grin:
     
  4. Michbeeman63

    Michbeeman63 New Member

    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Riverbee,
    thank you for the detailed answer.
    The bees are not heavy in the hive 3. Seem like quite a few but not as many as 1 and 2. Think it may be short of 15 frames, of bees, but at least 10.
    they are italian bees. My hive 1 and 2 were complete installs, and hive 3 was a split from a hive that wintered well, the queen came from the same place as the packages, so I assume it was italian as well.

    I had considered combining the two half supers and putting them on the weakest hive. This would also require that I consoldidate frames which have the most honey into two deeps and pulling the lightest one.

    Could the frames which have partial honey be added mid winter, to give them some more food?

    The top deep came off of a dead out and has very sparse honey and almost crystalized honey in it. Will the bees eat this or would it be better to rely on a top feeder and a candy board when it gets too cold?

    Mike
     
  5. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

    Messages:
    3,048
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    mike,
    based on your reply, this is what i would suggest for you; you have italian bees, read up on their characteristics, extended brood rearing regardless of environmental conditions (availability of nectar/pollen), and consuming stores, and sometimes rearing of more bees than the hive can feed in the fall. this can contribute to robbing and also early winter starvation.

    some equalizing, or as tecumseh would say 'leveling' of your hives, and/or " stealing from the rich to give to the poor" (tecumseh).

    i would consolidate the two supers to one, i am not there in your beeyard mike, i can offer suggestions, but in the end you will have to decide which hive receives it.*

    hive 1 you said was your strongest hive, you might be inclined to leave them the full super, if left on this hive you will most likely not have to feed it with the weight that it has, or take this super from them and give it to the poorest hive, which i would be inclined to do.* see comment below.

    hive 2 and 3, i would reduce hive 3 from 3 deeps to two deeps, and distribute frames of honey between hive 2 and 3 as best you can, (equalization) filling the tops with the fullest frames of feed, also as best you can. then winter feed both of these hives. if you think the super needs to be placed on hive 2 or 3, then place it there. (combine and move the super after all hive manipulations are complete.)

    frames can be added mid winter, and bees will consume crystalized honey. i think i would just feed them with whatever method you will use, candyboard, etc., and save these frames to feed back to them in the spring.

    *about this super; many variables. strong colonies consume more stores, strong colonies will rob weaker colonies. sometimes our best intentions, and best manipulations, or decisions result in, or can defeat the purpose we set out to achieve, i.e., removing a super to give a weaker colony may result in robbing of the hive you gave it to, to feed for winter survival. so you wind up back where you started, and sometimes leaving a hive totally robbed out or with an MIA queen.

    :grin:
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    sounds like good advice... I would think candy boards on hives 2 and 3 would be cheap insurance.