Winterizing and feeding

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by bergfarm, Sep 25, 2013.

  1. bergfarm

    bergfarm New Member

    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi. I am a beginner bee keeper. This is my first winter in pa. I am afraid my hive doesn't have enough honey storage for the winter. What can i put in as extra food for the winter? Also when should i winterize the hive? I have seen so many different ways to do it. I was just wondering what is the best way for here in pa? Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

    Messages:
    5,829
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0

  3. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

    Messages:
    2,683
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    If they are light it is still not to late to Feed 2:1 syrup
     
  4. camero7

    camero7 Member

    Messages:
    715
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    18
    You can probably feed 2:1 syrup for another month. I have it on many of my light nucs and they are taking it down quite well.
     
  5. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    if you are actually asking for best then either fondant (as Perry bee suggest above..... although he certainly startled me with his picture with no facial hair) or candy boards <essentially both are inverted sugar and have little to almost no water which are both LARGE advantages as we go into the wintertime.
     
  6. bergfarm

    bergfarm New Member

    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks for all of your responses. I switched to the 2 parts sugar 1 part water. I was feeding 1 part sugar to 1 part water since i got the nuc in july. I filled it up today. They have 3 supers on. They are working on 3 of the 8 filling them with honey on the 3rd super. What do you recommend for winterizing? I noticed some people wrap there hives in tar paper & put cedar pet bedding in a top empty super for varroa mites & condensation? Does anyone do this? When do i close it up for the winter? This is the first winter i have them and want to make sure they make it through. Thanks
     
  7. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

    Messages:
    5,829
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    First, remember that what they are storing in your supers is not actually honey (if you've been feeding all along). It is sugar water. This should not be harvested as "honey".
    I usually wrap with tarpaper, it helps to seal any cracks the bees may not have got around to, but more importantly, it provides some solar gain on a cold but sunny day in Jan/Feb, allowing the cluster to shift if needed.
    Insulation of some kind on top of you inner cover is good (cedar doesn't do anything for varroa as far as I know). Up here I also use a small upper opening to allow warm moist air to escape.

    http://www.beekeepingforums.com/threads/8447-Wrapping-made-easy!?highlight=wrapping

    fondant patties 005.jpg fondant patties 006.jpg fondant patties 008.jpg
     
  8. heinleinfan

    heinleinfan New Member

    Messages:
    346
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    That little cutout in your inner covers, Perry...my outer covers cover the entire inner cover. BUT, there is about a half inch to an inch overhanging, depending on if I center the top right or not. Do you think the cut out would work for moisture if it was partially covered up, but it wasn't completely blocked by an outer lid?
     
  9. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

    Messages:
    5,829
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    My covers would completely cover those notches as well, but I have placed either a 1 1/2" spacer (to accommodate fondant over the inner cover hole) or the 1 1/2" insulation. Both raise the outer cover to the point you see in the picture.
    Guess I could have been clearer. :oops:
     
  10. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

    Messages:
    967
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Perry, I have been meditating on cutting notches in my medicating/ feeding lifts. They are 1 1/2 square. The notch would not have to go all the way through so would not blow straight in, but in and down. Haven't put them on yet.
     
  11. cheezer32

    cheezer32 New Member

    Messages:
    84
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I would feed syrup right now, if they have a decent population they have plenty of time to cure and cap it. Escpessially if there is empty cells to fill, don't "drip" feed it either give as much to them as fast as you can. One of the easiest ways I feed is takes a 25 pound bag of sugar, dump it in a 5 gallon bucket fill with warm water, mix, and set somewhere around the hives.
     
  12. Ray

    Ray Member

    Messages:
    582
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    I cover three sides of my hive with 'foamboard' (polystyrene, not the pebbly white stuff). It can be held in place with twine, clothesline rope or wire. I leave the south or east side exposed, the cold stuff (in my neighborhood) comes from the west and north. I place twice that amount of insulation on the top. I firmly believe in some sort of a top vent or entrance, 3/8 inch by 2 inches.

    "They have 3 supers on. They are working on 3 of the 8 filling them with honey on the 3rd super."
    ​If I read this right your have more than enough sugar syrup for the winter. A deep full of capped syrup should get you through the winter.

    The usual set up is: A deep for brood, with a deep for winter stores on top and then the supers( on top of that) with the honey for the beek. (Ask 10 different beeks a question, and get 11 different answers)

    ​Winter is generally not the problem; it's early spring that kills a hive.
     
  13. bergfarm

    bergfarm New Member

    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi. Thanks for your responses. I actually have only 3 boxes on the hive. 2 of them have brood & the top one they just started working on. They are working on 3 of 8 of the frames in the top one. So i really don't think they have anything stored for the winter. Any thoughts? Thanks
     
  14. BSAChris

    BSAChris New Member

    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    This is a good thread - thanks for asking the question Bergfarm.
    Do most people close the bottom entrance (mine would be covered by snow pretty soon anyway unless I built something around them) and leave only the top a bit open as noted above for ventilation, or do you need to try to keep the bottom a bit open (smallest opening on entrance reducer) to aid in ventilation?
     
  15. bamabww

    bamabww New Member

    Messages:
    1,016
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I don't close my bottom entrance but do put a mouse guard on before winter sets in to keep them out.
     
  16. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

    Messages:
    5,829
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I reduce the lower entrance and have an upper one as well.
     
  17. heinleinfan

    heinleinfan New Member

    Messages:
    346
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks for the clarification Perry! For that 1 inch spacer you have, if I weren't planning on fondant feeding or something like that, could that spacer actually be a foam insulation board to help overall with moisture? If I were going to fondant or sugar board feed, could that foam board have a slot cut into to fill up with fondant right over the inner cover entrance, do you think?

     
  18. bergfarm

    bergfarm New Member

    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi. That's a great question bsachris. Do you cover the bottom fence or keep it opened for the winter? Also am i too late to treat for varroa mites? Thanks
     
  19. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

    Messages:
    3,048
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    chris~
    "This is a good thread - thanks for asking the question Bergfarm.
    Do most people close the bottom entrance (mine would be covered by snow pretty soon anyway unless I built something around them) and leave only the top a bit open as noted above for ventilation, or do you need to try to keep the bottom a bit open (smallest opening on entrance reducer) to aid in ventilation?
    "

    bergfarm~
    "Hi. That's a great question bsachris. Do you cover the bottom fence or keep it opened for the winter? Also am i too late to treat for varroa mites? Thanks "

    heinleinfan~
    "if I weren't planning on fondant feeding or something like that, could that spacer actually be a foam insulation board to help overall with moisture? If I were going to fondant or sugar board feed, could that foam board have a slot cut into to fill up with fondant right over the inner cover entrance, do you think?"


    ventilation in your hives is an important factor to winter survival, top and bottom, to eliminate moisture collected in the hive and also the top entrance provides for bees to exit the hive when the bottom entrance is snow and ice covered for us northerners in snow and ice climates. don't close these bottom entrances off, you will be amazed. also, i tip my hives forward a little bit with shims shoved underneath the backs of the hives, to let moisture run out of the bottom board through the entrance. you will be amazed at how much moisture runs out.

    this is how i winter my bees; like perry i reduce the entrances to the widest opening, and sometimes just totally leave them off, but, i will protect the opening by placing hardware cloth across the front to prevent mice from getting in, don't close these off. i also have an upper entrance as well. my upper entrance is a notch cut out about 3" wide in my inner cover. i use these inner covers year round.
    berg, it is too late to treat for varroa.......

    hein, i don't use candyboards or fondant either, but this is what i do.....i built my own boxes that houses 2 inches of foam insulation that sits on top my inner covers in winter months, but these are also used in the summer months as they have ventilation holes in them, this design is similiar to tim arheits creation of all season inner covers; honeyrun apiaries; they work. (link to his design: all season inner cover) mine are a little different and i use my own inner cover, but same concept. you don't need the extra box really, just set your two inch pink foam on top your inner cover with ventilation and place your outer cover over top. you will be fine, and really where you are, i would think you would only need one inch of the pink foam? this will be protected by your outer cover.

    a note on insulite, the sort of cork board looking like material that absorbs moisture......many northern or cold climate beekeepers swear by this......i do not. this material does collect moisture, but what happens is, it collects moisture and then as temps change from freeze to thaw, or warm winter days, the moisture from the insulite drips back down on the bees. i would not encourage any northern, cold climate beekeeper to use this. another great way to provide insulation on the tops of your hives is to use a shallow or medium super loosely filled with straw or hay, it collects the moisture, but does not drip back down on your bees.

    the other 'winterizing' i do, is to wrap my hives with a material sold by b and b honey farm, to protect against nasty, snarly, icy blowing up your skirt or carharts.....winds.....:lol:
    winter wrap b & b honey farm

    well i hope i made some sense here......? :grin:
     
  20. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

    Messages:
    5,829
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Yes. The spacer is actually 1 1/2". I use it to feed fondant when needed, and I can also put insulation in there (whatever type you decide. If I don't need fondant I just skip the spacer and use a 1 1/2" styrofoam insulation board.
    I don't see why you couldn't cut a hole in it and fill with fondant as you suggest. :thumbsup:

    Bergfarm - I agree it is getting to be awfully late to treat for varroa (the bees that have been born in late August and September are the (winter) bees that will see you through till spring), I believe better late than never. This will get me in hot water with some of my friends on the forum here :lol:, but that is what I would do. :wink: