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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    Default When to remove wrap

    If you wrap your hive in the north what is the proper time to remove the wrap?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Columbia county, New York, USA
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    Default Re: When to remove wrap

    I removed my tarpaper yesterday, when I did my first brief inspection at 55F and sunny. Can't really inspect with the wrap stapled on.
    I put wrap to protect in blizzards with high winds, for like around 15F or lower....don't really expect any more of that now, from looking at the forecast and at average temps for this time of year. I figure the wrap isn't really necessary anymore if nights are above 20F and days are above 35F.
    I see wraps as a windbreaker during frigid mid-winter weather and blizzards, that's my view.
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  3. #3
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    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: When to remove wrap

    Thanks for the response. You are further south from me and we get some crazy weather so I will hold off for a week or two. Right now it is warm but the wind is blowing like crazy. I would like to throw them a honey patty but I am afraid to pop the lid because of the strong wind.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Columbia county, New York, USA
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    Default Re: When to remove wrap

    Yes you are a bit colder than me. I bet you'll be fine to remove the wrap in another 10 days unless there's a storm forecast for you.
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Munster Ontario
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    192

    Default Re: When to remove wrap

    This is from still further north in Western Quebec, but it may help.

    http://apiculture.ncf.ca/Wintering.htm

    When to remove the winter packing (wrap)?

    The hive protection is more important in spring than in winter. A cold spell will chill the brood and set the hive back. In our climate wait till the middle of May or later - not before the tomatoes are planted out.

  6. #6
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    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: When to remove wrap

    ashes or shavings may be spread on snow to reduce losses
    Thanks for the reply. This was under Cleansing Flight. How do ashes and shavings reduce losses?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Westford, MA, USA
    Posts
    479

    Default Re: When to remove wrap

    Grid

    Am I undertstanding this correctly from the QC doc? (1/2l of vinegar per 10 kg of sugar against nosema)

    They are saying to add 1/2 litre (just over 1 pint) of vinegar in addition to the water (approx 7 quarts) to 22lb sugar to make a 2:1 syrup mix ??
    Sound like an awful lot of vinegar, maybe my math is wrong.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Bristol,MA,USA
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    710

    Default Re: When to remove wrap

    Took mine off today. Saw the "Dance of the young bees" yesterday in front of some hives. It's the earliest for such behavior that it's ever been seen - here. I attribute it to the 2 inch layer of styrofoam on top of the outer cover. The queen probably started laying earlier because of it. OMTCW

  9. #9
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    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: When to remove wrap

    My problem is I am unsure how much they have left for stores. After doing some Internet research I learned that hive temps will affect consumption. If I leave the wrap on the bees might consume all they have left before the first nectar flow. Although I am not inclined to use a feeder the bees have built up comb around the hand hole in the inner cover and they congregate at that point. A feeder over that hole might not work so good. I have no idea how big the cluster is because I feel it is not warm enough or calm enough to pull the inner cover off.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Belfield, North Dakota, USA
    Posts
    605

    Default Re: When to remove wrap

    My problem is I am unsure how much they have left for stores. After doing some Internet research I learned that hive temps will affect consumption. If I leave the wrap on the bees might consume all they have left before the first nectar flow.
    They will consume a LOT more of their stores if they have to use them to generate heat to maintain the cluster temperature.

    In the north, it is hard to leave them on too long in the spring. Mine stay on until mid/late April or even early May. The wraps help the colony to maintain a stable internal hive temperature.

    Look at it this way - it is unlikely that they will get so hot early in the year (in the north) that the colony is harmed, particularly since if it is that warm, they will be able to fan.

    But if they get too cold (particularly overnight when temperature swings can be extreme), you can potentially chill and lose a lot of brood. That can be a major setback to a weakened colony coming out of winter.

    I grew up in upstate NY, so I am familiar with the winters there. If it were me, I would leave the wraps on until at least the first week of April.

    **RE: Ashes and shavings - provide contrast between the snow on the ground and the winter sky. Bees orient their flight toward light. They can have trouble differentiating between light reflecting off of snow and open sky. Anything dark on the snow provides contrast and helps to keep them from nose diving into the snow and dying.**

  11. #11
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    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: When to remove wrap

    Anything dark on the snow provides contrast and helps to keep them from nose diving into the snow and dying.**
    Ah that's a good thing to know. I actually witnessed that happening and thought they were just goofy or weak.

    buy the way are you a member of the mid-york beekeepers.
    Yes we are.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Vernon,New York,USA
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    240

    Default Re: When to remove wrap

    acebird if you are concerned about honey stores them feed them some sugar mt.camp methed just put a piece of paper on top bars and put sugar on top.buy the way are you a member of the mid-york beekeepers.
    Dwayne.S
    Westmoreland N.Y.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Bristol,MA,USA
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    710

    Default Re: When to remove wrap

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    My problem is I am unsure how much they have left for stores. After doing some Internet research I learned that hive temps will affect consumption. If I leave the wrap on the bees might consume all they have left before the first nectar flow. Although I am not inclined to use a feeder the bees have built up comb around the hand hole in the inner cover and they congregate at that point. A feeder over that hole might not work so good. I have no idea how big the cluster is because I feel it is not warm enough or calm enough to pull the inner cover off.
    You don't have to even crack open the inner cover. Since you fear disturbing them, just simply pour about 3 to 5 lbs. of granulated sugar around the hand hold where they have built comb. Try hefting the hive for its weight, if you have difficulty then it probably has enough honey. Pouring sugar onto paper directly over the cluster is like asking for ants in the spring. Especially if there is an open screen bottom board. Bees can just as well find sugar on the inner cover and this allows you to use the remainder from the inner cover for spring syrup feed. No waste and no ants. OMTCW

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Cortland, New York
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    3

    Default Re: When to remove wrap

    I live in Cortland, NY and have had two nice COLD winters in a row, 2+months continuous below 25 with many days below zero, and have some great bees from a swarm that adopted me 2 years ago. I wrap them really good in late fall w/ foam and paper and they stay that way until mid April. I keep them full of honey all winter(10 frames of Full and 10 of a Super~90lbs total).150lbs for me! They eat most of it up by spring. The fact is this, hive boxes provide minimal insulation. The bees need to maintain the proper temp throughout the entire winter. Keeping the wrap on longer will not drive them to consume more nor will it cause them to overheat. The activity of flying and collecting will not begin in earnest until the days are warm enough for blooms. They will continue to consume their stores until a true flow begins. My advice: Wrap em good in places that get harsh and keep em wrapped until lengthy cold spells are gone, warm days w/ nights in 40s are ok(we get frosts until Memorial day and I would never keep em wrapped that long because you need to get in and evaluate your queen as soon as possible). AND, here is the biggie, make sure they go into the winter w/ plenty of food!

  15. #15
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    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: When to remove wrap

    Since you fear disturbing them, just simply pour about 3 to 5 lbs. of granulated sugar around the hand hold where they have built comb.
    We prefer not to feed sugar and have been using capping material left over from the honey harvest that I flatten into a patty and lay on top of the inner cover. I have heard that sugar is not a good spring feed because of the moisture in our area. The weather is crazy though. Yesterday it was almost 60 and today it's in the low thirties with the wind blowing. It has been so long since I have picked up an empty hive that it is hard for me to tell by weight how much honey is left. I think we have to wait to late April to inspect the hive but I am not 100% sure on that one either. We are treading new water with the bees surviving this long on the second try.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Auger Hole, MN
    Posts
    433

    Default Re: When to remove wrap

    I like to see some fresh pollen coming in first before unwrapping. I agree that preventing chilled brood is more important the worrying about starvation.

    With a large number of hives I think my odds are in my favor by waiting and trying to keep the optimal brood rearing temps into April.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    syracuse n.y.
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    1,817

    Default Re: When to remove wrap

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    I have heard that sugar is not a good spring feed because of the moisture in our area. I think we have to wait to late April to inspect the hive but I am not 100% sure on that one either.
    lack of sugar or honey is worse, if they have none they will die. My partner and I checked 150 hives the warm day. I had never put sugar on a hive since I started bees, this was a long cold winter, 20 % of the bees were dead, most starved, In thirty years I never had a three deep starve due to lack of stores, I had two this year. If in doubt give them something. we ended putting sugar on 30 % of the hives, never had hives this light this early.

    late april is kind of late to inspect the bees as normal swarm season starts the 1st of may, the day you pull your wrapings you should inspect if above 55 and no wind to at least clean off the bottom board, you don't have to pull any frames.
    mike syracuse ny
    I went to bed mean, and woke up meaner. Marshal Dillon

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