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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    310

    Default Overwintering in one deep

    I have five hives that were started in July and that are filling one deep each. Each has enough stores and good sized populations, in addition to young queens. I have never wintered in one deep only, but I want to give it a try this year. I am not sure if it is better to push four of the hives together on a pallet so that there is no space between them and build a shared cover. Or if it makes more sense to stack them up on top of each other with two inner covers between them (like Mike Palmer winters his single deeps over an existing colony). In my case I would put an inner cover with an entrance notch and a closed hole on top of the bottom most deep, add a second inner cover with entrance notch upside down and hole closed on top of that as the bottom of the second colony. Than repeat that with all until all five deeps are in one stack, each box separated from the one above and below by two inner covers with entrance notches but sealed of holes. The top-most deep would have an inner cover with entrance notch and insulation above it. Does that make sense? So, what would be the advantages of one over the other? Has anyone tried one version over the other? I am in Indiana, and if some of the locals are right we are looking at a cold winter this time...

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montgomery County, NY
    Posts
    1,732

    Default Re: Overwintering in one deep

    So personally I have never overwintered in 1 deep. However when I lived in Kansas City area I personally know a commercial beekeeper out there that always wintered in a single deep box. He did NOT have them tight together on a pallet and didnt do anything else out of the norm except maybe a rock or two on top to keep from freezing the bees. He seems to have never had an issue as far as I knew. I asked him once how he manages and his reply was make sure they are plugged out with honey. I believe Indy has a very similar climate as Kansas City.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Lavaca county, Texas
    Posts
    497

    Default Re: Overwintering in one deep

    I overwinter in one deep only, *BUT* I live in South Texas. Of other concern to me, is that it does not freeze long enough to kill off all the pests. Wintering on 2 deeps would encourage web moths, and SHB.

    Remember, this is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Find what works in your area, and run with it.

    Summer

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    310

    Default Re: Overwintering in one deep

    Well, I guess I will be running with it this winter, for better or for worse...lol though I may be limping come spring. We'll see... for right now I think I will give the stacking method a try and see what happens. If it fails, well, at least I got more drawn frames out of it and a lot more experience. On the other hand, it could work, and yes, Kansas City has somewhat similar weather to us, maybe even a little harsher than here. I'll report back on the results in the spring. Thanks, guys!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Greenhill, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    281

    Default Re: Overwintering in one deep

    if stacking you may want to alter entrances, exampl one hive exiting south side of stack, next north, or one east one west. Will make it a bit easier for them if/when they fly durring the winter to make it back to their own box i would think.
    ________________
    Scott Stackhouse

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Munfordville, Ky. U.S.A.
    Posts
    1,245

    Default Re: Overwintering in one deep

    From South Central Ky., good luck, I think you will need lots of luck and had better pray for a short and mild winter. I wouldn't try it here. But thats just me.
    So much to learn, so little time!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    barry co., Michigan
    Posts
    317

    Default Re: Overwintering in one deep

    probably should put a candy board on top in case they get hungry later

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,594

    Default Re: Overwintering in one deep

    One of my three colonies last winter was Russians, in two 8-frame mediums. They were in a good shape in the Spring. They were in Westchester County NY.

    I would like being able to put some fondant on them, so I wouldn't feel comfortable in stacking them.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Brown County, IN
    Posts
    2,027

    Default Re: Overwintering in one deep

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    ... for right now I think I will give the stacking method a try and see what happens. ... I'll report back on the results in the spring.
    Looking forward to your report. I'm thinking you have a decent chance, but as you said, so much depends on what kind of winter we get. Last winter was bad, I'm hoping this winter is better.

    Are you going to the State Beekeeper's Fall Conference? Maybe I'll see you there.
    http://www.hoosierbuzz.com/

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Greensburg, Ky.
    Posts
    1,148

    Default Re: Overwintering in one deep

    The very first thing i would be worried about is the bees moving up and running out of stored food and thats because of not having a big enough brood area. Im running 2 deep hive bodies and a medium super full of capped honey on top! My suggestion to you would be to open up the top on a 50+ degree day and inspect the hive sometime during the winter. See where they are clustered and see how much food stores is left. Emergency feeding: 10 lb bag of sugar on top of the inner cover! You just might need to do that hopefully you wont but you never know! Good Luck!!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,390

    Default Re: Overwintering in one deep

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    I am not sure if it is better to push four of the hives together on a pallet so that there is no space between them and build a shared cover. Or if it makes more sense to stack them up on top of each other with two inner covers between them (like Mike Palmer winters his single deeps over an existing colony).
    I think I might winter them in a block instead of a stack if I was in your position. I think you are saying that you don't have other hives to winter them on top of? I winter singles on top of production hives because we have so much snow that the singles would be buried in snow, and would never get a winter cleansing flight if the weather conditions permitted. You don't get so much snow in Indiana, do you?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Greenhill, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    281

    Default Re: Overwintering in one deep

    Quote Originally Posted by valleyman View Post
    From South Central Ky., good luck, I think you will need lots of luck and had better pray for a short and mild winter. I wouldn't try it here. But thats just me.
    apparently a beek in PEI does all his in singles and i was talking to a comercial guy in northern nova scotia not far from me and he does the same.
    ________________
    Scott Stackhouse

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Canada BC Delta
    Posts
    435

    Default Re: Overwintering in one deep

    You may find this helpful from a outfit that over winters all singles located in Cut Knife Saskatchewan.

    This is a follow-up to an article on wintering single brood chamber hives, published in the May 1995 issue of the American Bee Journal, and also published in Canadian Beekeeping and the S.B.A. Newsletter. Since its publication, we have received many inquiries seeking more information on the subject. Some of the queries include:
    http://www.pedersenapiaries.sasktelw...g_singles.html

    http://www.pedersenapiaries.sasktelw...revisited.html
    Last edited by Delta Bay; 10-15-2010 at 12:10 PM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    310

    Default Re: Overwintering in one deep

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    I think I might winter them in a block instead of a stack if I was in your position. I think you are saying that you don't have other hives to winter them on top of?
    I have production hives that I could use to stack those single deeps on top. We don't get as much snow as you do in Vermont, at least not in a normal winter and usually not for months at a time. That's why I thought I wouldn't need to put them on top of two deep production hives. The only reason I could see for putting them on top of production hives would be to share some of the heat rising from those hives. That's why I thought stacking them all together might accomplish the same thing. Any thoughts on that thinking, Michael? I very much appreciate your feedback and thoughts.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    310

    Default Re: Overwintering in one deep

    Quote Originally Posted by Delta Bay View Post
    You may find this helpful from a outfit that over winters all singles located in Cut Knife Saskatchewan.
    Thanks Delta Bay, very interesting link.

    It seems that some beekeepers have successfully wintered single deeps while others warn against it. We'll see how mine are going to do. I did all I could in getting them ready, I will add insulation and wind breaks, but than leave them to fend for themselves. We usually have a day or two of moderately mild weather sometime in January or February, and usually a 60 plus degree day in March. I'll use those days to check on them and to have some extra feed ready in case they need it.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    164

    Default Re: Overwintering in one deep

    I overwintered 10 nucs in 5 frame Bee Max boxes last winter (a rough one) in SW PA. They were set about 6 feet apart simply on bricks on the ground. I made shims and put dry sugar on them. Some used the sugar, some didn't. Transferred them to single deeps in April. I didn't have time to make up any late Summer nucs this year. Wish I had. I have used Styrofoam (blue) boards on my single and double deeps. I use a propane torch to melt a canal of sorts from the area in the center to the outside providing an entrance/exit out of the inner cover opening and some ventilation. Your touch with the torch has to be very light.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Walker County, Texas
    Posts
    201

    Default Re: Overwintering in one deep

    If you have long hard winters you will want to leave the second brood box on for their store. In Texas we only need one brood box.
    Before man took over bees there was nature,it did a better job.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Knox County, Ohio
    Posts
    2,694

    Default Re: Overwintering in one deep

    How big is the cluster? A big booming colony can eat a double deep and end up starving, yet Mike Palmer's 4 frame nucs successfully overwinter.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    310

    Default Re: Overwintering in one deep

    Yesterday I finally had a chance to look into all my hives. I must say they are stronger than I have ever seen them coming out of winter. The massive feeding we had to do last fall paid off. Now some are still so full of capped stores it might impede the queen from laying...always something.

    In any case, the single deeps that I tried to overwinter are all strong and thriving. I didn't loose a single on. Thank you all for chiming in last fall on how you would go about it. I basically pushed them all together on a pallet and provided a windbreak for them. They are doing really well, a lot of brood and still plenty of stores left over. Together with fresh pollen coming in I am hoping we are looking at a really good year this year.

    Also, I overwintered two nucs in a split deep hive like Mike Palmer does. I checked on them as well and I couldn't believe how strong they are. They are basically ready to be moved to ten frame deeps...in the middle of March!! I am really encouraged and will overwinter more nucs this year. I tried to not overthink this, just followed the advice from Mike Palmer and others in when to feed, how much feed and leave the rest toMother Nature. Awesome results. Thanks again everyone for your feedback last year.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Overwintering in one deep

    Thanks for giving us a follow-up. I had a lot of success overwintering nucs per Palmer's directions. Think if he had just kept his success to himself and not shared with the rest of us? Thanks to Mr. Palmer and all the others sharing valuable information!!!

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