I opened up my colonies today for the first time in 3 weeks and was quite happy with what the girls are doing.
One hive (they were both nucs 2 mths ago in all new equipment) has drawn and capped a deep on new plastic frames above the excluder so I put on a new shallow and plastic frames on top.
The second one however was only half as full and the girls had only drawn out 7 out of 10 frames. The colony seems to be every bit as busy as the first, but there are noticeably fewer bees in it. I added a new shallow and frames to this one as well. Should I have put this shallow below the deep to get the bees moving into it?
I didn't go beneth the the excluder to check for queen activity.
The goldenrod is just starting to break here and my local bee experts tell me it's one of the best flows we have here.
It looks like I'll get a jar or two for me!
Question...I will be over wintering in 1 deep brood chamber so I know I'll have to leave them with a good amount of winter stores. If I pull off the honey supers at the end of the goldenrod I can feed them with a 2-1 sugar mix for winter correct?
What happens to the bees that filled the supers above the excluder? I know they are toast but do they cause any disruption to the colony when they all try to squeeze into the hive at night?
Questions, questions by the hour....
I'd have planned for a two deep full of stores in your area.
>Should I have put this shallow below the deep to get the bees moving into it?
I'd put it above, but I'd put the queen excluder in the garage and save it for the rare occasions when it's useful.
>Question...I will be over wintering in 1 deep brood chamber
I wouldn't try that here, in Nebraska. Are you sure you want to do that in Ontario? I have heard of some people doing it but they were wraping in groups of four or keeping them inside for the winter.
>so I know I'll have to leave them with a good amount of winter stores.
>If I pull off the honey supers at the end of the goldenrod I can feed them with a 2-1 sugar mix for winter correct?
2:1 sugarater would be correct for winter feed. I try to leave them enough honey. Part of the problem with feeding to get them through the winter is that you never know when winter will hit. They may not have enough when it does.
>What happens to the bees that filled the supers above the excluder?
All the bees will hunker down to a cluster. I would guess in your one deep. If they won't all fit in one deep, then I think you need more stores for winter.
>I know they are toast
They shouldn't be.
>but do they cause any disruption to the colony when they all try to squeeze into the hive at night?
If they have trouble squeezing in the one box then you need another deep (or leave the medium or shallow with no excluder) or they will starve before spring.
Wow, that was quick!
There are 2 operations around me who have between 500-800 colonies each, plus the UofGuelph apiculture department that all use single deep brood chambers for over wintering.
Advice given to me is keep them well fed and disease free and give them good protection for the winter and losses are no higher than with doubles. But, you better be in there in the spring for feeding.
So Michael, what keeps the brood out of the honey supers?
I'll try an experiment (because I'm a scientific type) and leave 1 as a double. Probably the colony with the fewer numbers of bees.
Thanks for your answers.
Brian Brian Brian,,,
Fewer the numbers the less heat they can generate that keeps the colony from freezing.
After they go into cluster, they will not break from it to get to your feed unless temperatures go up..
Maybe you better give them another contact to be sure about things.
>There are 2 operations around me who have between 500-800 colonies each, plus the UofGuelph apiculture department that all use single deep brood chambers for over wintering.
That is impressive. Do you know what their methods are? Sometimes it's more complicated than just how big the box is.
>Advice given to me is keep them well fed and disease free and give them good protection for the winter and losses are no higher than with doubles. But, you better be in there in the spring for feeding.
That would be my expectation. I can see that they MIGHT to better becaus there is less room to heat. But I can also see them running out of stores in February or March.
>So Michael, what keeps the brood out of the honey supers?
Nothing at all. There is also nothing to keep them from moving in and using them. But generally the queen wants a compact brood nest.
I used to run deeps for brood and shallows for honey and never use a brood chamber, but if they were expanding too much I'd put a third deep on.
Now I run all mediums, no excluder and no chemcicals and I usually don't feed them or if I do I try to feed them honey, so anything that looks like honey is edible. Anything that is brood can be moved back down, if I see the need or left where it is if the queen needs the room.
I have never gotten as much production with an excluder as without. But regardless you don't want one on in the winter or the queen will get stuck below the excluder and die.
[This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited August 17, 2004).]
We get the ocassional cold snap in January that gets down to -25C overnight but usually our winters are mild...maybe -10 to -15C night time temps. The big guys do the 4 colonies to a skid thing and move a lot of their colonies back to their protected yards, leaving a token number on site. The UofGuelph on the other hand, has been pioneering the single deep BC for a number of years and have changed over to this system almost exclusively, citing ease of care, more effective treatment for disease/parasites etc. as benefits. Obviously there will be fewer bees when they start flying in the spring but the research shows that colony strengh increses very quickly as it warms up and there seems to be no negative impact on production.
As an aside, when I took apiculture at the UoG in 1972 everything was in double chambers and I expected when I took up bee keeping this spring to do it the way I learned (pretty simple back then...almost nothing to kill off your bees). To my surprise, the ones doing it the old way were all the old guys who learned at the same time as me. The local commercial ops. have been changing over to single BC for the past couple of years (means more colonies in the same amount of hardware, I guess). The hobbiests are pretty much half and half on 1 vs 2 BCes. Both groups are pleased with over wintering results assuming they have disease free colonies going into winter. The ones running singles state it is easier to treat singles and they are happy with what they find in the spring.
Also to keep in mind, the pro can easily restock his equipment from his own populations if a colony or two dies whereas the hobbiest will probably have to purchase bees/nucs. This might explain why the hobbiest appears to be taking fewer chances regarding trying new things than the pro.
Daisy, Daisy, Daisy, (grin) I'll try it half and half, take good notes, follow good beekeeping practices and let you know how I made out in the spring. As an aside, we don't have really cold winter weather around here, just long. It isn't really the great white north where I live. The bees can usually get out in March and they have probably been holed up since mid-October.
[This message has been edited by brian spilsbury (edited August 18, 2004).]