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Thread: Next winter!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Rifle, Colorado
    Posts
    117

    Default Next winter!

    I might be jumping ahead a little BUT! I read that it's best to use 3 deeps in colder climates to make sure the hives make it thru the winter. Reads that the bottom deep will be full of pollen. The middle deep is where the bees will mostly be and the upper deep will be full of honey for hem to live on if everything goes right. I live at about 5200 ft. We get about 2 to 3 ft of snow that stays for about 4 months in a normal winter. Is this overkill or well advised? Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Pinewood Minnesota
    Posts
    124

    Default Re: Next winter!

    I'm just south of the Canadian border in northern Minnesota, and those of us here that overwinter(which is a small number of Beeks), generally do fine with using only 2 deeps. When I have lost hives overwinter, it's never been due to starvation,but rather moisture issues. PP
    If your pulling a trigger, it really isn't bowhunting

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Bartlett, Illinois
    Posts
    217

    Default Re: Next winter!

    I have heard that if you winter with three deeps it's just too much room for them to keep warm. My suggestions would be

    1) treat for Nosema in the fall, after all supers are removed
    2) weigh the hive to make sure they have enough stores.
    3) put an upper entrance on the hive for venting moisture
    4) reduce the lower entrance
    5) insulate the whole hive by wrapping in good quality Styrofoam insulation
    6) insulate the top by adding a medium above the upper entrance/inner cover and filling with Styrofoam insulation.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Dane County, WI.
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    3,721

    Default Re: Next winter!

    I used to think that overwintering in three deeps was the best way to go in southern WI. winter, with the assurance they would have plenty of stores. I don't think that way anymore. I have lost hives in three deeps overwinter. Was three deeps the reason--not sure; may have been other variables. Just too much space and too much chance of excessive moisture in the 3-deep hive. In spring, I've found there is less extra frames of whatever to deal with when reducing to two deeps again. Not sure what they overwinter in, in northern WI. or MN.

    This past fall, I became nervous about whether they had enough stores for winter and put an extra medium of capped honey that I had on the two deeps. In the spring; Mar/April, the bees had moved up into the top deep and part of the medium but there were still 7-8 [9 frames in medium] frames of capped honey that had not been touched. I thought that was amazing,..remarkable! I fed a lot of 2:1 syrup in early fall to get up to a good hive weight.

    I do most of what khaas15 does.
    Been keeping bees [2-4 colonies] for 6 years.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Council Bluffs, IA
    Posts
    127

    Default Re: Next winter!

    A local Beek store owner here recommends 2 deep bodies, one of which is full of honey. He also said it wasn't a horrible idea to take out the outer 2 frames, and basically put in a faux side. Use wood pieces to basically make the 10 frame the size of an 8 frame inside. His contention is that less heat will be lost to the corners of the box, more would rise and keep the honey thawed in the upper. I really like the idea of throwing a medium filled with styrofoam insulation above the 2 deeps. I'm in southwest iowa, and it stays below freezing here for up to a month at a time. We usually have a week or two in late jan/early feb where temps don't make it above 5 degrees, even in the daytime.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Keno, OR
    Posts
    734

    Default Re: Next winter!

    I'm new to beekeeping and haven't gone through a winter yet. I like to share what I've heard from local beekeepers here in the mountains. We are at 4000 with 6 month long winters, actually spring has just started with its first flowers. They recommend 8 frame equipment, because that means less room for the bees to keep heat. For wintering they recommend 2 deeps and one super full of honey. They also recommend wrapping the hive. That can be fiberglass insulation wrapped in plastic straight from the hardware store put it place with duct tape. Or put at least roofing paper around it so the sun can heat it up. We get over 300 days of sunshine so this does also make sense. They also recommend to have an opening in the top to let moisture evaporate. They say moisture kills more then the cold. We get very cold winters up here. We had several nights going down to -18 last winter. They also suggest to perhaps go with a breed that can handle winters better like the Carniolan or Russian bee. They said these breeds tend to go into winter with a smaller number and therefore need less food to survive. So that is what I did: 8 frame garden hive, the lid has a second floor in it insulating it that way. And I did get Carniolan bees too. Let see how it works out for me.

    Forgot to mention, one keeper puts a super on top filled with hay. He said it insulates much better in his point of view. He also puts hay bales around his hives to create a wind break. These bales are not leaning onto the hives to keep mice away, but they are about a foot away to protect the hives from cold winds.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
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    2,497

    Default Re: Next winter!

    Quote Originally Posted by Killervector View Post
    I really like the idea of throwing a medium filled with styrofoam insulation above the 2 deeps.

    I could see some real moisture issues with having styrofoam above the brood nest in winter. I find that a good top entrance works well and snow on top of the hive does a great job of insulating.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
    Posts
    1,824

    Default Re: Next winter!

    Call me crazy, but I'm going to try all singles next winter. Had my best survival in singles and 5 frame nucs. Going to use excluders and feed heavily in the fall.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Glenwood City, St. Croix County, WI, USA
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Next winter!

    This is something I've thought about too. My step-dad and I both had three deeps last winter on our hives. Mine went into fall weak anyway and then died in February so my case doesn't mean much. His made it just fine. He had the bottom entrance closed with a ventilation/entrance/exit hole in the top deep. Funny thing though, his bees never used any of that honey in the third deep, not a bit of it. It was a cold winter for us here and very long. We do know one guy much further north that is a career beek and he only overwinters with three deeps and recommended we do the same. I have more hives this year so I'm going to try to overwinter half with 2 deeps and the other half with three and see if I can tell any difference.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Tulsa OK. USA
    Posts
    846

    Default Re: Next winter!

    I started bee keeping in Delta Colorado just over the G mesa from you K.E.N., I ran 2 deeps for the most part and as long as they had plenty of stores going into winter they did fine. I had a couple that did not build up and totaly fill two deeps that did well .For your area two deeps should be good, course get a bad winter or late spring and even with three deeps you may have to feed. Jim
    Stop and smell the flowers, 50,000 ladies can't be wrong
    Bsweetapiary@aol.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,373

    Default Re: Next winter!

    Quote Originally Posted by alpha6 View Post
    I could see some real moisture issues with having styrofoam above the brood nest in winter. I find that a good top entrance works well and snow on top of the hive does a great job of insulating.
    What moisture issues do you see? I live in an area where it is cold, but we dont get enough snow to cover the hives, unless it drifts. I used a all season cover with, 1.5 inches of foam, last winter with a top enterance last winter without a issue, but this is only my second year.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 9 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,199

    Default Re: Next winter!

    3 deeps is the method advocated by the U. of Mn. In their scheme after the second year half of your hives (the splits) are building to three deeps to overwinter, whilst the other half (last years) parent hives (double deep brood chamber) are producing the current years honey crop. I think this method probably worked very well before mites. Mites change everything. I am not treating for mites.
    Year 2009/10 my three triple deeps overwintered hives wintered well. 2010/11 only one out of three overwintered. The other two petered out early in the winter with low populations. Strangely enough the surviving hive was not far from starving a while back and I added 4 frames of honey to it.
    However, I also overwintered a double storey 5 frame nuc, still looking good, a double deep, and a swarm I trapped - that is a dink. The thing that these surviving hives have in common is that they all came from 2010 homebred queens, and had a brood break.
    I think any consideration of overwintering is incomplete without mentioning mites. Bees can survive in nucs, singles, doubles, and triples if they go into fall with a healthy population of bees with a low mite burden.
    I forgot to mention that I also used an all season cover with two inches of styrofoam on it and a top entrance both years, no moisture issues I'm aware of.
    Last edited by Adrian Quiney WI; 05-10-2011 at 05:18 PM. Reason: forgot to mention all season cover.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Dane County, WI.
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    3,721

    Default Re: Next winter!

    I think any consideration of overwintering is incomplete without mentioning mites. Bees can survive in nucs, singles, doubles, and triples if they go into fall with a healthy population of bees with a low mite burden.
    QUOTE]

    You are right Adrian Q. WI. My two hives that overwintered with that "unnecessary" medium of honey on top, requeened themselves or accepted the queen I introduced in late July. So, there was a break or gap of time in brood production that would have been an interval in mite reproductiion also.
    Last edited by Oldbee; 05-10-2011 at 05:50 PM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
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    1,824

    Default Re: Next winter!

    All my hives were below threshold on 9/1, including those that didn't make it through the winter. Saw no evidence of nosema in the dead hives. Probably unadapted queens was the biggest problem. All the hives that survived were Carni's and I had no survivors from southern queens.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    syracuse n.y.
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    1,899

    Default Re: Next winter!

    I winter some in two deeps (new hives), the rest in either 2 1/2 or 3 deeps. I can usually get all three types through our winters, the Idea with the 2 1/2 and three deeps is the bees fill the bottom box with extra pollen, the extra honey on the hives in the spring, means extra bees in the spring if you have young queens and have done your mite treatement in the fall. extra bees allows you to take a nuc or two off without affecting your honey output. this year was the worst winter I have seen, lost some of each but most two deeps wouldn't have made it without the honey from deadouts, last year an easy winter, no honey had to be moved around. This year all my hives are living on the edge, first time I had to feed in the spring and the bees are easily two weeks behind. When I compare my losses to the beeks around me I'm happy that I run 3 deeps, my partner doesn't agree, tells me its a pain, even as we pulled the honey last year from his hives and I kept reminding him the majority of the honey he was getting was off the 3 deeps and this spring when most of his survivers were in three deeps. three deeps makes mite control harder? trickier? because they only give recommendations for two deeps or less so you have to find what works for you on that. I used mite-way II in the fall between upper two brood chambers, a pain to do but works, by the time I put it on the top chamber has no brood so in my opinion same as a two deep. good luck what ever you decide you will have to come up with a management style that suits what you do!!!
    mike syracuse ny
    I went to bed mean, and woke up meaner. Marshal Dillon

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