Need to plan for the fall and winter

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Slowmodem, Jul 26, 2013.

  1. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    I Need a plan now for the fall and winter

    My plan this year with two packages and two nucs was to try to get two deeps on each hive filled with comb and brood, and have strong hives going into winter.

    I had about twenty five medium frames drawn containing half-capped honey in the freezer from last year. My thought was that after the bottom deeps were full, I'd take the feeders off, put another deep with bare frames on, then put the medium supers with the frames evenly divided between the four hives. My thinking was that the bees would travel up to the frames with honey, and maybe decide to draw comb on the middle deep while they were traveling.

    I looked in the hives today to make sure there weren't any wax moths, SHB, etc., and to see if they'd drawn out the middle deep boxes. Well, there was hardly any comb drawn on the middle deeps, and the honey was mostly gone from the top mediums. (An added note, I use plastic frames, but they drew out the ones in the bottom deeps great. Note 2: Three hives are 8-frame and one is 10-frame, but they all look the same inside.)

    So now I'm thinking that it's getting late in the year, and that I'd better take the top supers off, and start feeding 1:1 syrup so that they might draw out some comb. If that doesn't work, I guess I'll have to remove the middle layer deeps and put the medium supers with the drawn comb on top of the bottom deeps and see if they'll fill that with honey for the winter.

    I don't know why they didn't build out the comb on the middle deeps. It's been awfully rainy and cool this summer thus far. Maybe that has something to do with it. Maybe I should have kept feeding them all summer (although there was some flow this year, and I thought that would suffice).

    I would appreciate anyone's opinion on why they might have not drawn the comb, and/or if feeding at this time of year would help the situation. I feel like I ought to do something, but I'm not sure what.

    Thanks! ​
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2013
  2. Ray

    Ray Member

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    Very Interesting, I like to hear a reasonable explanation, myself. :)
     

  3. kebee

    kebee Active Member

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    I also, for I am having the same problems with mine and I am thinking also of all the rain we have been having. I put 1 to 1 syrup on mine a week ago to see if that would help, so for maybe a little, may need to wait a little longer between checks to see.

    Ken
     
  4. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    I have a couple ideas and questions. Did the super you put on have drawn comb or was it foundation. If it was foundation I would guess the bees chose to build in the top super skipping the middle. This was one of my beginner mistakes I made starting out. I also had a keep steal my bottom deep in a 2 deep strong hive and replace with foundation he took bees and all that was in the bottom deep. Luck have it he didnt get the queen. they ignored the bottom super until I found it in a inspection. I knew the guy had done it as I had sold him some nucs and was not there until late to help him put them over into 10 frame equipment. Had I not got there he probably would have done more. I usually let them build the first deep 80 percent then add the 2nd deep moving a frame of brood up into the 2nd deep to help get them up into the 2nd deep. I feed 1:1 continuosly until they have the 2nd deep drawn and heavy. If it is 80 percent drawn and heavy with a good band of honey across the top I will add the 1st super of foundation and remove the feed. They wil draw out the super when they need the room. Usually when a flow comes on. Once the super is being drawn and the bees are working it you can add a top entrance and a queen excluder if you use them. make sure the queen is down i n the deeps. If you havent used an excluder study up on them they are a bit tricky to learn and use. I didnt use them until I was about 5 years into keeping bees. being in tennesse you may be over winter with one deep and a super with no problem as long as the hives are heavy going into winter right now I think I would remove the drawn super bait them up with a fram as stated before and feed 1 to1 until they have drawn it out. This late I would use wax foundation as it is tough this time of year to get the girls to draw plastic. ( i know I will get a few who use plastic that disagree with this but I have always noticed bees like the wax better especially if a flow is not on. if you can get them drawing you may be able to add the super once the second deep is drawn and catch the fall flow.:thumbsup:
     
  5. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    The supers had frames of comb with honey, half of it capped, half of it not capped. The deep I put on just had bare frames. I had thought that with the honey/drawn comb in the super, they would draw some comb on the bare frames, and I wouldn't need to move a brood frame up into the deep. I guess I should have (and I will) move some brood up into the deep. It can't do any worse than it has already! :doh:
     
  6. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    No argument from me for using wax foundation, what would you rather chew on? a hard piece of plastic, or a nice soft piece of wax:lol:. I have had some luck getting them to draw foundation by feeding 2 to 1 syrup, they want to store the heavy syrup and if they don't have room to put it, they have to make room. Jack
     
  7. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    I guess I have a little time to experiment. :)
     
  8. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    Bees tend to be reactive, rather than proactive, when it comes to drawing comb. They draw comb only as they need it. If they don't have a surplus they won't build. I think Riverrat has a great idea. Plan to winter with a deep and a medium. Feed until those two are full.
     
  9. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    Well, I went into the hives briefly today. It's odd how I never seem to find what I think I'll find when I go in. :dash1:

    I did have bare-frame deeps over the brood deep, and below the partially filled with honey and comb supers. Today there are 1.5 to 3 frames with brood in each middle deep. The supers still had comb and some honey. All boxes had a lot of bees.

    So after thinking a little bit about the conditions of the hives, and the time of year (and mumbling a lot), I made the command decision to go ahead and put the feeders on each hive. I won't get any honey this year, but hopefully they'll finish building comb and have plenty of stores for the winter.

    Does this sound like an ok plan?
     
  10. Yankee11

    Yankee11 New Member

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    Are you leaving the supers on them while feeding. I am starting to plan for the same thing and have several hives moving into the second deep. I want all my hives at 2 deeps and a medium full of honey for winter. I have one hive just like yours. Bottom deep with lots of bees (a newly mated queen) I sat a 2nd deep on top and it has a full medium of capped honey on top of that. The bees are in the bottom deep and the top super. Nothing in middle deep. I am thinking of pulling the super and feeding them to get them drawing out the 2nd deep.

    I am trying to get both deeps full before goldenrod starts blooming. My thinking is that they will fill the medium(and probably more) in the fall. I will harvest everything over they single medium.
     
  11. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    If the supers had been full of honey, I would have pulled them off and extracted. However, they are just partially filled with honey (although there's a lot of comb), and they were full of bees.

    Considering the condition the frames were in, the time of year, and the possibility of the queen being in any of the boxes (I didn't take the time to look for the queens), I just put the feeders on top of everything. I did put the feeders on top of the inner covers so that hopefully they won't fill the undersides of the feeders with comb like they did the last time.

    And who knows? There might be a nectar source out there that I don't know about and they might take the syrup. I'll just have to keep a check on them every couple of days.
     
  12. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    I just wanted to update this thread. I looked in all four hives today in the top feeders, and they were all plumb full of bees wall-to-wall. I guess that's what they needed. I hope it helps them to draw out more comb and have more brood. I feel like I made the right choice.
     
  13. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    Defensively the right choice. the other problem when the bees are in a dearth period is they will cut back on brood rearing that can effect the age and quality of the bees going into winter.
     
  14. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    It's been a week since I've been able to look into the hives. I popped the tops on two of the hives today and removed a couple of boxes. The empty-framed middle boxes (the second deeps) were about 1/2 full of comb, and had capped brood and honey in the comb. The top boxes were also full of capped honey. But in both levels, the honey is actually the syrup I've been feeding them. But that will help them through the winter.

    So I think I took the right path starting to feed again. I'll feed them for another week or so and check them again.
     
  15. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    Empty!

    When I got home from work today, I thought I'd slide a top back and check the syrup. Remember, I added 1 gallon to each hive on Saturday evening. Monday evening, the feeders are dry. Empty.

    So I mixed up some more syrup and it's cooling now. Dad will stop by tomorrow and feed the bees. They were all lined up to the trough this evening looking at the empty feeder. So I'm sure they'll be happy when the syrup gets there.