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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Manhattan,Montana,USA
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    358

    Default how many mediums do you Very northern beekeepers winter on?

    I have all natural cell mediums and this year I am ready to do my final extraction of honey. I live in Montana so i was wondering - How many Mediums are you far northern beekeepers (who are non migratory) winter on? How many are stuffed with honey? at what point do you consider them too small and stack them on a big colony for warmth?

    thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Cattaraugus,New York, USA
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    Default Re: how many mediums do you Very northern beekeepers winter on?

    I winter in 3, which is equivalent. To 2 deeps. I am in ny, just east of lake Erie ands we get about 150 " of snow a year.
    Allegany Mtn. Bee Farm
    Quality Queens and Honey from Western New York

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    moravia,ny
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    1,240

    Default Re: how many mediums do you Very northern beekeepers winter on?

    3 high should work good and they all need to be really full. any left in the spring is a bonus and 1# short they are dead. they should be in the bottom super at the start of winter. If the cluster is on top they can get in trouble by not getting to their honey mid winter.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Billerica, MA
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    298

    Default Re: how many mediums do you Very northern beekeepers winter on?

    I over wintered in three last year on the NH border of MA. We had a lot of snow, even for us, but they came through it well. I did put 10#'s mountaincamp sugar on top for insurance though, it was gone by the first week of April, along with the first pollen sub patty.

    I'm looking at all the hives now, especially the July splits, and hoping the golden rod will fill out a few more frames in some of the lighter hives before we get a frost. I may have to combine a few and take my losses in the fall.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Keene, NH, USA
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    240

    Default Re: how many mediums do you Very northern beekeepers winter on?

    We get between 140" - 200" of snow so I try to put them down for winter with 4 mediums. Last year was a "make bees" year, not a "make honey" year for me. I took only 1 frame from a total of 8 hives and still got caught in a dearth and had to feed late into the fall. The problem was I fed too late and they never capped some of the frames which caused a moisture problem in 3 of the hives which I lost. Always better to leave them enough honey but if you have to feed make sure you allow them time to cap it...
    7 yrs, 6 hives, TF for 6 years, small cell, moved to OAV this fall.
    www.honeymeadowfarm.com, www.nhbees.wordpress.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Arcade,NY
    Posts
    151

    Default Re: how many mediums do you Very northern beekeepers winter on?

    I use two deeps. I try to get them about I00 lbs of stores. my winter is very long and cold. up to 200 inches of snow.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
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    2,001

    Default Re: how many mediums do you Very northern beekeepers winter on?

    It looks from the discussion that the op is using 10-frame mediums. Three 10-frame mediums do equal two 10-frame deeps. I think it takes four 8-frame mediums to equal two 10-frame deeps, though. Just pointing this out for newbees who may be lurking and trying to figure things out...like me.

    Ed

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Arcade,NY
    Posts
    151

    Default Re: how many mediums do you Very northern beekeepers winter on?

    I use 2, 10 frame deeps.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Syracuse, NY (upstate)
    Posts
    247

    Default Re: how many mediums do you Very northern beekeepers winter on?

    I am in the Syracuse, NY area (Central NY). I winter in 4 mediums. Usually the bees are in the bottom two mediums and so that equates to about 2 1/2 mediums of solid honey as the bottom medium tends to be mostly empty (may be the result of the Screened bottom boards). I often have un-eaten frames left in the spring since I don't feed them other than to stimulate brood production in April. Seems to work fine.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Clifford Township, PA
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    2,082

    Default Re: how many mediums do you Very northern beekeepers winter on?

    When I moved to Maine I started with 3-medium brood boxes. I've since decided to change to a deep and two mediums and on some hives I'm trying two deeps and a medium.

    I'm not all that sure that I really need all that space though, since I am in the process of switching all queens to Carniolans. I had a couple of what I though were weak hives last year come through the winter in a deep and medium.They were strong in the spring and are my heaviest hives now. The smaller winter population of the Carnis should be a factor in the discussion, in my opinion.

    I don't really get the connection people are making betewen deep snow and the amount of stores to provide. It's important to provide an upper entrance in snow country (we get a little snow here in Maine) but it's the short growing season combined with the prolonged cold that influences consumption, not the amount of snow. 2 inches or 20 feet of snow shouldn't change the stores you provide. A lot of snow can actually be helpful in its insulative value. The only "drawback" to the deep snow we get is the need to snowshoe to the hives in the beeyards for winter checks.

    Wayne

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
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    5,113

    Default Re: how many mediums do you Very northern beekeepers winter on?

    Wayne, why are you switching out queens when the ones you currently have seem to overwinter just fine? Why would you kill off those good genetics?
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    moravia,ny
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    1,240

    Default Re: how many mediums do you Very northern beekeepers winter on?

    not sure how this fits in the thread?

  13. #13
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    Jan 2009
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    Clifford Township, PA
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    Default Re: how many mediums do you Very northern beekeepers winter on?

    Solomon, I wasn't clear. The strongest overwintered hives I've had last year all had Carni queens (from Full Bloom Apairies.) I had a number of queens (and their daughters) from Michael Palmer but last winter was a really tough one here in Maine and I lost a number of those hives, fewer with the Carni queens.

    I bought a bunch of packages this spring and raised up enough Carni queens to requeen about two thirds of those. (Open mated, of course, so some of the Vermont genetics as well as local stuff is mixing in.)

    The reason the discussion of queens fits in this thread is because I believe, through my recent experience with Carniolan queens, that one could take into account the breed of the bees and their inherant traits when deciding on the amount of winter stores required and the equipment needed.

    Wayne
    Last edited by waynesgarden; 09-03-2011 at 06:16 AM. Reason: spelling

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Manhattan,Montana,USA
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    358

    Default Re: how many mediums do you Very northern beekeepers winter on?

    I agree with you wayne that its not the amount of snow as it is the amount of non flying days and days without a nector/ pollen source. We had our first frost here that killed my garden about a week ago so our season is virtually done from now until may 15th. i have about 30 days to get sugar water on any weak hives else it is too cold here. i do believe we have an advantage because of the long cold our bees here shut down good for many months so they dont go through a ton of feed. however they go through 3 months or more without a single fly day and they have a hard time moving the cluster to the honey stores. I have never insulated or wraped but i may try it this winter. we dont get alot of snow where i live so it is even harder on my bees because of the lack of insulation.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Redding CT USA
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    1

    Default Re: how many mediums do you Very northern beekeepers winter on?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eyeshooter View Post
    We get between 140" - 200" of snow so I try to put them down for winter with 4 mediums. Last year was a "make bees" year, not a "make honey" year for me. I took only 1 frame from a total of 8 hives and still got caught in a dearth and had to feed late into the fall. The problem was I fed too late and they never capped some of the frames which caused a moisture problem in 3 of the hives which I lost. Always better to leave them enough honey but if you have to feed make sure you allow them time to cap it...
    How long does it take for them to cap up what I feed them. I want to get my feeders off the hives in time. What is best to feed after the "tea" mixture. Is there a good dry food that will not have the moisture danger?

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    cloquet,minnesoat,usa
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: how many mediums do you Very northern beekeepers winter on?

    so if you had 8 frame deeps how many would be the same as 10 frame deeps? or use 2 8frame deeps and 1 med for winter? just wondering

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    10,005

    Default Re: how many mediums do you Very northern beekeepers winter on?

    I wintered over with two 8 frame deeps last year and just barely made it. This year I have 1 deep and three mediums. We will see what happens.
    Last edited by Barry; 10-28-2011 at 03:29 PM. Reason: quoting
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
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    9,592

    Default Re: how many mediums do you Very northern beekeepers winter on?

    I winter with a minimum of 3, but this year I'm keeping four on so I don't have to be so concerned about a cold spring or late winter cold snap.
    Regards, Barry

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: how many mediums do you Very northern beekeepers winter on?

    Quote Originally Posted by Intheswamp View Post
    It looks from the discussion that the op is using 10-frame mediums. Three 10-frame mediums do equal two 10-frame deeps. I think it takes four 8-frame mediums to equal two 10-frame deeps, though. Just pointing this out for newbees who may be lurking and trying to figure things out...like me.

    Ed
    comb area for any configuration is simple to calculate.

    For example; a deep frame has 272 sq inches of comb face.
    a medium has 187 sq inches of comb face.

    So 272x20 frames = 5440 sq inches of comb in two boxes of deeps.
    187x30 frames = 5610 sq inches of comb in three mediums.
    187x32 frames = 5984 sq inches of comb in 4 8 frame mediums.

    If you are on natural cell you can measure your comb size per square inch and calculate total cells for comparison
    If you are on foundation the calculation is already done for you. Commercial foundation averages 25 cells per square inch so a medium frame has a total of 187x25 = 4675 cells per frame.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Cattaraugus,New York, USA
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    345

    Default Re: how many mediums do you Very northern beekeepers winter on?

    wayne-

    you stated that you dont see the connection with the amount of snow and honey consumption. i am not a oldtimer by anymeans, but from what i have gathered there actually is a connection. with more snow on the ground, there are less possible nectar days availible for the bees. i previously stated that we received around 150-200 inches of snow a year here, most of which does not fall in one storm, making it a long winter.
    i leave my bees with usually 3 boxes, but this year most are 4 high. the snow does act as an insulator, but also a hinder. the extra snow does not allow all of the hot, moisture filled are to escape the hive, sometimes causing condesation problems.
    we tend to lose our last nectar source around the 1st of october, with snow not far behind. our first nectar source is around the 2-3 week in may, pollen sooner with willows, maples and elms in late march-early april depending on the year. so we are without fresh stores, both pollen and nectar for about 6 months a year, with many years more than that. 2 years ago, it snowed around the 15th of may.
    the original statement about snow fall wasnt to say that you have to have more or less honey stores if you have more or less snow, it was to say that we have a long, cold winter that holds on forever. usually the places with more snow expierence more intense winter storms more frequently, putting your winter preparations to the test. just my opinion, i may be completely wrong.
    Allegany Mtn. Bee Farm
    Quality Queens and Honey from Western New York

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