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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    San Juan County, WA
    Posts
    38

    Default Decrease hive population before winter?

    I've been wondering... since one of the virtues of Carniolans is that they winter over with smaller colonies (and thus need less food)...

    would it ever make sense to artificially imitate this virtue by just (gulp...) reducing the population of your hives in the fall? And if so, what's the best way to do this?

    I have Italian bees, whatever kind came with my packages last spring, and they're just reproducing at a staggering clip. I successfully warded off swarming this year, by giving them lots of room (and maybe was just lucky), but when I inspected last week I felt overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of bees. And they've still got plenty of uncapped brood at various stages.

    I use all 8-frame mediums, and I've got 3 boxes of mainly brood (with honey at the tops of frames and lots of pollen at the sides) and I've got a full medium of honey on top, partly capped. And tons and tons of bees.

    I'm worried that the population is so huge that they'll just chow down on that honey super and go through it in no time. Wouldn't it make sense to reduce the bee population somewhat, after the nectar-gathering season is finished?

    I'm only a second-year beekeeper, and last winter my two hives didn't make it. (They had both swarmed twice and had almost no stores of honey. I fed all winter, but then we had a non-Spring and they perished in the endless freezing cold rains of April.)

    So I started all over again this year with two packages, and I'm still trying to figure out the best approach.

    Thanks for any advice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    moravia,ny
    Posts
    1,188

    Default Re: Decrease hive population before winter?

    hard to believe but the bees know what to do. just make sure they have enough honey. most bees are killed by too much love.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Kingsville, OH
    Posts
    959

    Default Re: Decrease hive population before winter?

    I couldn't kill a bee on purpose, even to help over winter them.
    Also how would you go about choosing who go who stays?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    San Juan County, WA
    Posts
    38

    Default Re: Decrease hive population before winter?

    Thanks for the reminder, beeware. That makes a lot of sense. And I'm certainly not taking any honey this year, so they have whatever they have. Hopefully enough so that at least it'll tide them over for part of the winter, before I have to feed them.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,481

    Default Re: Decrease hive population before winter?

    The Italians need a larger cluster to make it through the winter. The carnis don't.
    Last edited by Michael Bush; 08-29-2011 at 10:34 PM. Reason: Text hidden behind misplaced buttons had typo
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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