Winter protection

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by frankh, Apr 23, 2011.

  1. frankh

    frankh New Member

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    I'm new to beekeeping. I am going to set up my first hives this year. I have a site on my property that is fairly well protected from wind. But, our winters are pretty severe (zone 4, upstate central NY). Will I have to wrap the hives, or move them into the barn for the winter months? I hear that many bee keepers send there bees south for the winter. Is this true? A friend of a friend raises bees, but does not have much success over wintering them. He does not wrap the boxes or do any type of winter preparation. He does not even check them to see that snow does not entrap them, which I think may very likely be the cause of the deaths. I'm trying to learn as much as I can, and this forum is very helpful. I appreciate any help that you can give me
     
  2. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    First off welcome to the forum :wave:

    I am not as far north as you and can not answer the questions about wrapping the hives, bot sounds like you have figured out part of your friends problems. Enough winter stores is also needed to get them through the cold.

    There are others on here that can better answer those questions than me.
     

  3. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    Welcome to the forum glad you found us. actually leaving the snow on around a hive is a source of insulation and actually protects the hive. You might want to clear a little out around the entrance or use a top entrance in case there is a warm day they can make a cleansing flight. Best thing is do all you can to help the hive survive the winter. Make sure there are plenty of young bees in the hive and a good heavy supply of stores going into winter. Then check them in february to see if they are light on stores. Most overwintered hives crash in late winter early spring when brood rearing kicks in and they blow thru there stores and starve.
     
  4. charmd2

    charmd2 New Member

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    Rat is mostly right. The other problem your friend may have is a mite issue. If he isn't monitoring them for mites.
     
  5. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    welcome to the forum. at some point you may wish to pm sqkcrk who is an upstate New York beekeeper.
     
  6. afss

    afss New Member

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    hardly scientific as its only one winter for me not wrapping.

    I didn't wrap and i left a bottom and top entrance as well as screened bottom boards open at the front edge. My hives are elevated about 1 foot above ground level.

    I did experience around 50% losses this year... BUT... my losses were all in second year hives that had a high mite load. I had checked mites and felt the levels weren't that high so didn't treat early, i thin checked again and the levels were high and i treated but i think it was too late. The hives that were swarms last year (breaks the mite cycle) all did well and are doing fine.

    I am undecided as to if i will wrap next year or not. most people say that the bees don't heat the air in the hive, if this is the case then there really isn't much point to insulating the hive.

    Any way, if my loses were from mites then i would say you don't need to wrap... if not then i can't really say. food for thought, i'll know better next year what happens.