Preparing hives for winter

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Jeem, Oct 20, 2012.

  1. Jeem

    Jeem New Member

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    What is the collective wisdom on when and how to best prepare hives to over-winter? My main questions are: How much honey to leave (are the two deep boxes enough or should partially filled supers be left on), Should I insulate the hives (and with what), What size entrance should be maintained? And most important to all of this, how do I know for sure when to do these things and not look into the hives again until spring?
     
  2. ndm678

    ndm678 Member

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    Some of the more experienced beeks will give you more info, but here is what I'm doing (my first overwinter attempt). I installed an insulated top cover with 2" of insulation. Wrapped the hive in tar paper (roofer's felt). I also deployed a mouse guard for the entrance. One of the more important aspect is keeping air movement in the hive. Bees will keep their 'area' warm and humid. The humid air can condense on the top cover and drip down on the bees, leading to their demise. If I were you, I would consider removing the partial frames. Good luck!
     

  3. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    This is a question with too many variables determined by local conditions. Your best bet to get a reliable answer is to talk it over with beekeepers in your vicinity.
     
  4. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    2 deeps for brood and stores. a hive weighing about 100 lbs mouse guards in place. A penny on each corner of inner cover for ventilation placed late so they wont propolise the opening. Buy a good old bee book off ebay for winter reading set back and wait for spring. Thats the perfect winter prep
     
  5. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Do your reading while sipping a nice glass of mead.
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    hopefully a couple of more Michigan/YANKEE bee keepers will swing by here to give you their slant on this question (which is basically what EF said)... although I suspect except for the question of yes or no to winter wrapping RiverRat likely covered the primary concerns.
     
  7. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    There are many great threads here on the forum as well, do a search for terms like 'winter preparation' in the search box for some wonderful reading. the trouble here is that your questions really are best answered by a lot of explanation and nobody wants to type out entire beekeeping methods, complicated by the fact that everyone's weather/season location requires slightly different approach. Sometimes you just gotta do a little reading and research on your own- the info is all here for the exploration! ;)
     
  8. lazy shooter

    lazy shooter New Member

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    There was a four inch rain at my apiaries some four weeks past, and there has been an abundance of flowers since then. I have three splits from last July and three large hives from last year. We don't have much winter, with only about 40 freezing days and lots of warm weather (50's to 60's F) in between. There will be some short sleeve days in January and February. So, I am going to do one dang thing for winterizing.