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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Madison, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    39

    Default Spring is Here! (sort of)

    Those of you south of the Mason Dixon line may not appreciate this as much, but we had the first day yesterday in months that things got warm enough for the girls to start flying. It was a great sight after 40+ inches of snow in December, and a bone numbing January (-40 wind chills).

    Sometimes you have to celebrate the little things in life that point to the fact that winter won't last forever. And this is one of them. Even had to take some pictures! I'm sure we'll get a couple more feet of snow before winter is over, but I'm enjoying the nice weather while it lasts.

    The hives look a little dirty, but not sure if I should be concerned or not. There is a lot of yellow snow in about a 30 foot full radius from the hives, so I think that gives me less to worry about? Just a newbee here.

    http://s625.photobucket.com/albums/t...urrent=010.jpg

    http://s625.photobucket.com/albums/t...urrent=009.jpg
    Last edited by TWG1572; 02-08-2009 at 05:36 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Dane County, WI.
    Posts
    3,721

    Default

    Yes, it was nice to see the bees were able to get out and fly. Yellow spots on the snow is a good sign. I saw quite a few bees that fell into the snow and didn't make it back though; can't save them all. I'm not sure whats going on with that. Although it was sunny and close to 40 deg. the wind made it feel chilly. Your hives look 'clean' compared to mine.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Ayer, Massachusetts
    Posts
    748

    Default

    Looking at 52 today here in Massachusetts. Its just a teaser though,
    www.maxantindustries.com
    American made Honey Processing Equipment "Built to last a lifetime"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Madison, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    39

    Default

    I can't say that I saw many bees that didn't make it back from mine. But it was around 1 or so, so I'm sure there may have been some later in the day as the temp dropped quickly.

    There was the usual assortment of dead bees in front of the hive, but but as I watched those seemed to be being carried out of the hive by others.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Erie, PA
    Posts
    2,030

    Default

    We had a belated "January Thaw" here, too. I spent the day chipping drainage trails in the ice on the driveways to get rid of the standing water which was a couple inches deep. Wasted my time... This morning, all the ice is gone! Did not see anyone flying, but it was cloudy and windy here. If things are typical, the foolish snowdrops will pop up today and bloom.
    “The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.” -Henry David Thoreau

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Fairfield, Connecticut
    Posts
    597

    Default

    The temp at my hives say 62 degrees, hives look strong and the bees are flying. Just a few more weeks
    If it isn't broken, don't try to fix it. If you build it, they will fill it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,736

    Default

    Saw a few flying out of one hive and saw a few more making a snow landing when they hit the ground a few feet short of the hive. Didn't see any bees in front of one hive but there was a bunch of them right on top when I cracked the cover. Hives are light and I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Lost one a few weeks ago. This is the time of year I worry about the most, basically for the next few weeks.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Algonquin, IL, USA
    Posts
    639

    Default

    Is that a honey super on top? Is it standard practice to winter your hive with a honey super on top? I'm new if you can't tell

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Madison, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    39

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by c10250 View Post
    Is that a honey super on top? Is it standard practice to winter your hive with a honey super on top? I'm new if you can't tell
    I'm also new (3 years & 2 hives), so take my comments with a grain of salt - but yes that is a honey super on top. And no, I'm guessing that's not really a standard practice for many beekeepers.

    I left a full honey super on each of my hives this winter. Lacking a scale to weigh my hives and not having enough experience to heft a hive and figure out what it weighed I figured it is cheap insurance against them running out of honey.

    If they don't need it I just extract it this spring. If they do need it, I just saved $80 on a package to replace the deadout. I could split the remaining hive, but what if both died?

    This is also a hobby, so I don't need every last drop of honey from my hives to make ends meet which is a key difference from a lot of folks. I also hate feeding sugar in the spring, it takes time and gas. (plus the kitchen gets all sticky, which leaves me in hot water with my better half) I'd rather leave extra honey on.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Algonquin, IL, USA
    Posts
    639

    Default

    Even though I just purchased my hive, and ordered my bees, I was thinking of using that technique also.

    As of right now, I cannot see using all the honey a hive produces. I would gladly leave a honey super on top for the winter.

    I am assuming that you don't have a queen excluder on the honey super. Right?

    How do you get your bees out of it and back down into the brood chamber in the spring? I'm assuming that the bees would all migrate up to it over the winter.

    Sorry for all the questions. I am trying to digest as much knowledge as possible prior to starting my hives.

    Ken

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Madison, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    39

    Default

    No, I don't use a queen excluder at all. As far as next spring goes, a lot depends on where the queen is and if there is brood up there. I think I am going to play it by ear a bit, but I don't mind if they use that for a brood chamber during the spring/early summer to build up. Sooner or later I think they will start filling it in and drive the queen down.

    Typically I rotate brood boxes every spring. Not sure what I am going to do with that.

    Maybe some more experienced people will chime in too..

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Missouri Valley, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    82

    Default

    I over wintered with a super my first year beekeeping here in Iowa. All of my experience was in West Texas so winter was not much of an issue. I used the super to protect myself and the bees while I learned the climate differences. In spring I simply placed the super under the deeps. Once the queen had moved up into the bottom deep I simply removed thesuper and placed it back on the top.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Madison, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    39

    Default

    That's a great idea. Simple and effective

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