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Thread: Garage

  1. #1
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    Hi, I am trying to figure out what to do with my hives for the winter-- I live in Pittsburgh, PA-- and was thinking about moving my two colonies into my garage for the winter... I would obviously block the entrances, etc. Any ideas on this? pros? cons? My garage is not warm, but it is a lot warmer than the outdoors

    Thanks, D

  2. #2
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    Not too far off the point DRJCKB. Wintering bee indoors is very common up here. I winter my increase colonies in my converted hotroom. They are not established enough to winter as my doubles do outdoors.
    One point of great importance, Keep the room completely dark, absoulutely dark. otherwise the bees will leave the hives and venture to the light. Use a red light in exchange of a white light.

    Ian

  3. #3
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    http://www.beekeeper.org/april2003.html

    Read this first.

    ------------------
    Procrastination is the assination of inspiration.

    Gary

  4. #4
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    www.beesource.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/002865.html

    The above link is a discussion close to your question.

    Your location is colder than the one discussed but the pros and cons are the same.

  5. #5
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    Hi, I read through the posts- but, I didn't take away what I should I guess-- do you think it would be beneficial to bring my two hives into my garage or basement to overwinter? I would put a screen across the entrance to keep them in the hive. It has been rather warm here the past month. But, I want to have my best chances of them surviving overwinter and being robust next spring

    Thanks--

    D, Pittsburgh, PA

  6. #6

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    I would not screen them is as this is a good way to get dysintary...........if they can't get out to cleanse then they will die....

    ------------------
    You have to stop and smell the roses......but please watch out for my bees.

  7. #7
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    I am sorry to say the answer is not that simple.
    The answer will depend on many factors.
    What type of bees do you have? Italians tend to start their build up before there nectar and pollen is coming into the hive, while Carnolians and Russians don’t until there is nectar and pollen coming in. So, Italians will build-up while screened in and Carnolians and Russians will not.
    Another factor is what starts the queen lying again. If the hives are kept in total darkness, and the changing length of daylight is not sensed, will she start lying as early and as well?
    If your garage stays colder in the spring as mine does, it will hurt the situation. If they are in a warm, basement, activity will increase and do they have the food stores?
    Cleansing flights can be an issue, depending on length of time. Clusters in many areas go several months without a cleansing flight.
    What will cause more stress on the colony? Your temperatures, food stores, being screened in, etc.

    In my opinion, in Pittsburg, Pa. You don’t need to bring your hives indoors to a garage or your basement.

    I would look at wrapping your hives, feeding them now as long as possible and they take feed.

    I would look at when in the spring your first pollen and nectar blooms are. They will be your Red (soft) Maples, Willows, and Popular tees. This will be before you know it, around the end of February or beginning of March there. These trees will help jump start your hives for their build up. But, you want bees that are of age to fly and take advantage of these resources. These bees have to be 41 days old or older. So at least 41 days before these blooms you want light syrup and pollen or pollen substitute on your hives.

    You need to plan your beekeeping spring / summer now. What do you want to do? Increase numbers, maximize honey production, or a little of both. Do you want to raise your own queens from splits or are you going to buy nucs or packages. Orders need to be placed soon.

    There are too many variables to list on this issue.

  8. #8
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    >>Another factor is what starts the queen lying again. If the hives are kept in total darkness, and the changing length of daylight is not sensed, will she start lying as early and as well?

    never been a factor here


    >>If your garage stays colder in the spring as mine does, it will hurt the situation.

    It actually is better if your bee wintering room is in a place which will stay cooler than the external environment. I heat my room during the real cold spells through the winter, but as the temps rise towards spring, I have to cool the room as for the bees cant tolerate the temp above 10degrees of so for any length of time. On those warm days I have to pump lots of fresh air into the room to get them through the early spring warm spells to keep them in the hive. They will tolerate a few hours above 15 degrees, but after once or twice of that, I'll place them out on a good forcast as spring usually is close.

    >> they are in a warm, basement, activity will increase and do they have the food stores?

    They say the optimal temperature is 2-3degrees C for best results and lowest food consumption. But I usually hover freezing or just below to save a few bucks and the bees tend to stay quieter for me

    >>Cleansing flights can be an issue, depending on length of time. Clusters in many areas go several months without a cleansing flight.

    It is a big issue, I put my bees in usually end of OCT. and they come out first week of April if they are lucky. But that is no different for the outdoor hives here either. They might get the odd full cleansing flight through the winter, but not usually. 5-6 month confined is hard on the bees, but they will accomplish the task quite well.

    I agree, you probably dont need to winter indoor in Pittsburgh, PA. I dont really know the climate well. But wintering indoors can be done, with great success, so why not give it a shot.
    Keep the room DARK and undisturbed!!

    Ian

  9. #9
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    I had read, I will have to find the reference, that one of the triggers that started brood rearing again was the lengthening of daylight.
    If a hives sees no natural light source, change in temperature, or even early spring nectar / pollen, what is the trigger that starts brood rearing again?

  10. #10
    70cuda Guest

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    Living just South and East of Pittsburgh(Westmoreland County), I've not found it necessary to winter my bees indoors. I know a number of beekeepers in the area and none of them winter their bees inside either. Winter losses are typically minimal for those beekeepers that make sure that their hives have a minimum of around 90-100 lbs of stores going into the winter. Some of the other beekeepers that I know live in the Latrobe area (elevation 1500-2000 feet) so their winters are normally a little bit colder than mine or yours would be.

    I also don't remember seeing any of their hives covered with any winter wrapping.

  11. #11
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    MountainCamp,

    I used to Winter some hives indoors here in frigid ND in single deeps. And like Ian said, I kept the room absolutely dark. When I moved them outside and checked them in late March/early April, they would be full of bees but not a speck of brood in them. The queen would soon start laying after being moved outside and have sealed brood within a couple of weeks.

    ------------------
    Gregg Stewart

  12. #12
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    Thanks, for the information on brood rearing and wintering indoors, in darkness.
    It looks like the timing of bringing the hive back out is very critical.
    The need to get brood rearing started early enough to take adavanatge of the prime nectar flows, but not too early where cold starvation can take place.
    Do you time bringing the hives out based on when your nectar flows are, or the weather alone?


  13. #13
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    sooner the better, but weather must be warming. I dont have alot of experience in wintering indoors, 2nd year tinkering with twenty or more hives in my hotroom. My neighbours have been doing it for years.

    Ian

  14. #14
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    Do you have a problem with cold starving or running out of stores?
    The weather here in spring is very unpredictable, late March of last year we had a week of very cold weather. The lows over night were around 0F and the highs were mid 20's. This weather took it's total. The clusters were anchored with brood and did not or could not move to get stores.
    Greg said he winters in a single deep, how are they for food stores when they go out? or do you have to get right on them and feed?
    I am looking to build a pole barn in the near future. I may look to put in winter space.
    When I put my wood furance in last year, I oversized it to handle an addition and pole barn. I am currently using on a 1/4 of it capacity.
    What type of heating system are you using?

  15. #15
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    whats a good temp to indoor winter at Ian we want to do that with splits next winter how late can you split and still indoor winter thanks Nick

  16. #16
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    I winter nucs indoor but I have a one-inch diameter tube going to the outside. They get to potty and collect a little pollen on nice days. It works OK for me in Oklahoma. If I were going to do a single hive bodies, I would go to a two-diameter pipe and connect this pipe to a robber screen.

  17. #17
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    >>winters in a single deep, how are they for food stores when they go out? or do you have to get right on them and feed?


    Most of mine go in single deep. It is usually the way most winter indoors up here. There is usually lots of food for them left in the hive when they leave the wintering room. But usually within a week or so after we place them out, they have plenty to forage on. Popular usually first followed by the rest of trees, then into the important heavey pollen feast with willows, and then dandilions. After that feed goes on til the honeyflow in June.

    >>whats a good temp to indoor winter

    They like to keep the rooms at 3or 4 degrees C, but my room is smaller, and temperature fluctuates more, so I like to keep it a bit cooler, around freezing. Really I dont think it makes a big deal, consistancy and humidity within 50-60% is key. I have found that if the room is kept too dry, the bees cant liquify the granulated stores as easy, and places stress on the colonies unlike wintering outdoors here. It is why most indoor wintering beekeepers like to fill the brood nest with HFCS.

    >>do that with splits next winter how late can you split and still indoor winter

    I have been making up late increase colonies,
    one frame of brood, honey, mated queen and the rest of the chamber with foundation, end of May into mid June. Takes longer for the colony to progress with queen cells, but works just the same in the end, but I dont expect too much honey from them. I usually dont have comb for them to build on so I keep layering them with supers of foundation and I dont usually feed them til fall for they are practially established right on the onset of a honeyflow(though it would not hurt for better comb building) This year was the worst year I have ever seen as a beekeeper for being cool and unfavorable forageing weather. hard to build a colony, let alone maintain an existing one. I was able to make my increase(only nine this year) draw out the brood chamber, draw and pack full two honey supers. I actually wintered them outdoors to fill in my empty spots for they were more than large enough to handle the cold. And I am indoor wintering the swarms I collected through the harvest. they went into winter on three or four frames of brood.
    Normally the increase would not be established enough to winter outdoors, but this year, I could not make heads or tails of what was going to happen throughout the season. One thing about beekeeping is that you have to take it as it comes at you, and make sence of it later when you have time to think about it,..

    >>What type of heating system are you using?

    All I use is a small construction heater wired to a thermistat, With a ceiling fan always going to mix the air. Same set up as I use to heat the room during extrating season.

    Ian

    [This message has been edited by Ian (edited December 11, 2004).]

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