Minimum size and feeding going into winter in North Texas

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Gypsi, Aug 27, 2012.

  1. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    OK, last year I didn't get all the way to winter. This year, at least 4 of my 5 hives look good to go into winter, knock wood.

    How many boxes should they have full of stores to get through.

    Candy board - good or bad idea?

    I'm about to order frame feeders for 2:1 this morning.

    Awaiting your wisdom
     
  2. Noronajo

    Noronajo New Member

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    I may not know enough to answer this but mine winter in 2 deep hive bodies-the brood cluster's in the center,more or less, and their stores of honey and pollen fill the outside frames as well as the upper corners of the brood frames. If those outer frames aren't full by late Aug.-early Sept. like last year then I feed them as short a time as necessary 'til they are. I fed them in Sept. 2/1 sugar syrup for less than a week and due to the mild winter, they still had stores in the spring.
     

  3. heinleinfan

    heinleinfan New Member

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    A very general rule of thumb to go by is 40 pounds of honey for every deep hive body full of bees. That's a minimum for an area with a "typical" 5 month long winter (November through March). More is always better and up to half again that much more is recommend for areas with very long or very cold winters. That's about 6 deep frames, fully drawn on both sides. Bees also need pollen in the early spring, and a minimum recommendation for that is 4 "sides" of pollen (or bee bread).
     
  4. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Thank you. In medium frames that would be about 10 frames? Because I think I'm getting there. Thank you.
     
  5. Dbure

    Dbure New Member

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    It will depend on the winter temperatures Gypsi. If the weather is mild they will consume more because they will be more active with nothing outside to forage on. Last year we left about 50 lbs. in each of our hives and the mild weather allowed them to consume almost all of it without additional feeding. I prefer that they have their own natural food and believe that nature intended it that way. I see that you are in north Texas. If that is in the panhandle I think you get more snow than I normally do. I am in the northeast corner against Arkansas. Nowadays though the weather is more unpredictable than bees.:wink:
     
  6. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    So if I have a deep plus a medium full on each hive, they should be ok even if it is warm? Because I'm almost there! I'm in Fort Worth. It rains here. Usually
     
  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a couple of snips followed (>) by my comment..

    How many boxes should they have full of stores to get through. > like heinlein fan suggest it depends on how many bees you have in the box and her stores /deep is pretty good estimate also. a story and a half hive in most of the south is a pretty traditional configuration for the winter time.

    Candy board - good or bad idea? >good if you have no problem with ants. perhaps one of the best ways to feed bees in a winter time configuration.

    I'm about to order frame feeders for 2:1 this morning. >I just feed 1 to 1 since I don't really need to be concerned about excess moisture inside the hive. frame feeders are my own preferred way of feeding bees but they do take more return trips than a candy boards.
     
  8. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Well the bees are all here, but opening the hive often in cold weather is why I am not a big fan of frame feeders. I can't check it from the outside, or be sure they have adequate stores. I wouldn't say I don't have an ant problem, only that I stay about half a step ahead of them most of the time. Hoping oiled pipe hive stand will solve it for the fall and winter.
     
  9. rail

    rail New Member

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    half story equals, shallow or medium?
     
  10. jim314

    jim314 New Member

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    I would think a deep and medium would be more than enough stores in your neck of the woods Gypsi. Mine over wintered in two deeps last winter and every one of them swarmed in early spring because I wasn't fast enough in adding supers.
     
  11. Dbure

    Dbure New Member

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    I remember last winter when the temps got warm, say in the 60's during the day I went out and placed a boardman feeder on top of each hive full of sugar water 1:2. That in addition to what they had inside helped them through. We run two brood boxes on each hive and allowed for about 50 lbs. of capped and partially uncapped honey spaced in each on the outward frames to surround the brood nest. Since the population of each hive is smaller at that time of year there did not seem to be any problem with robbing and feeding frenzies when feeding them on the outside, and they consumed much of what I put out. At dusk I would go back out and collect the jars to keep animals from turning them over and such and then saved them for the next day if the weather was warm. I did not do this until late into winter though and after having seen many warm days. When one hive looked to have signs of nosema (staining on the box front) I was also able to provide them with medicine this way. The bees from the other hives I am sure helped themselves to it also and it did not hurt. The nosema cleared up and all hives made it fine with a little to spare when spring hit. Like you Gypsi I don't like opening the hives in winter for fear of creating an issue. If they come outside I'll meet them halfway. Being able to tell though what is in the boxes without opening them is important, and being able to feel the weight of each is one way to do that.
     
  12. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a rail snip..
    half story equals, shallow or medium?

    tecumseh:
    most time this means mediums but really you are more concerned about the weight of food stuffs in the box and not the dimensions of the box itself.

    another snip..
    Well the bees are all here, but opening the hive often in cold weather is why I am not a big fan of frame feeders.

    tecumseh:
    what is in or not in the feeder doesn't really mean much but the total gross weight of the hive really is what gives you the most information in regards to feed inside them little white boxes. so as far as knowing yes or no to food resources tearing into a hive is not necessary. some gross weight determined externally is really much better information. if you position a frame feeder in the right place (upper box... outside position of box... toward the centers if you have them on 4 way pallets) you really don't need to remove the lid but simply slide the lid over a bit. even if the feeder is in the lower box winter time feeding is likely the easiest job I do here. on occasion I often do this in shirt sleeves (with a veil naturally) and on most occasion never receive a sting... typically the occasion when I do the hive in question is very very very hungry (more important information.....right?).

    add to this that some thing like frame feeder can be their own diagnostic tool... which means they are worth much more than simply putting some feed into them little white boxes.

    a candy board on the other hand requires less trips (greater density of food stuff) but also may incorporate some risk if the feed is not made up exactly right (could melt if you experience elevated heat in the winter/spring time).
     
  13. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Well I bought a lot of hive boxes this spring. 5 deep, 15 medium. Because I was going to have 2 hives. I still have about 3 deep hive boxes left over from last year (give or take).
    If I wanted to hang deep frame feeders I would really rather have them on top, for easier access with less hive disruption. I can hang one in the top of a pair of mediums? or do I need to order more wood-ware? I need to check today but at last count I think I am short 3 deep boxes to do a double deep arrangement, and all of my honeycomb for feeding bees is being drawn in medium boxes. Don't want to mess up beespace and have a huge 4 inch gap that they fill with burr comb. Suggestions?

    Or will the bees find the feed better if the frame feeder is in the deep with them?
    Thinking about putting A boardman, and maybe a home depot paint bucket feeder on top of a couple of hives on 60 degree days too. That is a great idea!