Results 1 to 4 of 4
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Augusta, GA

    Default Did I make a mistake?

    I started preparing for winter today. My understanding was I needed to bring my hive back down to 2 deeps, check the colony's strength and determine if I need to feed them. Now this hive has developed slowly but consistently since last spring (the slow part is due to some of my mistakes). I've had a medium setting atop for almost 2 months now and the bees haven't really touched it, until today. Finally, there was comb and some honey being stored on a couple frames. We've had some rain the past few days and the bees have seemed really busy. I think we are in the midst of a late fall flow. The top deep was absolutely packed with bees, brood, and honey. I didn't have time to check the bottom chamber but all in all I was very pleased with the strength of the hive.

    My question is should I have left the medium on if there's a flow? Should I replace it in the morning and leave it on for another couple weeks? Our temps are suppose to stay in the low 80's with lows in the mid 40's.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Hamilton, Alabama

    Default Re: Did I make a mistake?

    Nope, you didn't make a mistake. For your location, you should be encouraging the bees to pack honey into the brood nest which will push the queen down to laying in the lower brood chamber. All honey supers should be removed by this time. One caveat to this is if you wanted some fall honey, you could have left the super in place until it was capped. The problem with doing so is that this might leave the bees short of stores for winter.

    Would it surprise you to learn that bees in Augusta use more honey over winter than bees in a much colder climate? The reason is that your winter temps are often warm enough for the bees to fly and forage even if there is relatively little to bring back because nothing is blooming.

    NW Alabama, 47 years, 22 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Palm Bay, FL, USA

    Default Re: Did I make a mistake?

    Well Gee Whiz! If they need more honey in his location wouldn't it be pretty darn smart to leave the super on them while they're bringing in honey? It's Augusta, GA not Minot, ND. I hope everyone understands that bees will, on occasion, eat honey that's stored in supers versus only eating honey stored in the brood boxes! So, if they magically store a bunch of honey in that super just leave it on them over the winter.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA

    Default Re: Did I make a mistake?

    Won't go into all the details but my guess is that the bottom deep is basically empty except for some random pollen stores. The colony should have selected which deep to winter in more than a month ago and be preparing that box for wintering. Brood in the upper at this time indicates they selected the upper. Weak field forage through the summer and early fall often leads to not pushing them down into the lower, and it's too late in the season to expect it to happen now.

    Not a cause for panic. A colony can winter well in a single deep in your area if the single deep is fully backfilled before forage termination. Which brings us to the super you removed.
    Put it back. Any honey collected there is an asset in the next few weeks and in late winter.
    Any uncapped honey there at first freeze can be relocated to the now brood cells to assist in backfilling. Any capped honey overhead is insurance in late winter.

    At first freeze, feed generously if needed to fill the brood nest.

    In late February/early March, reverse hive bodies.



Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts