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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Burlington, Iowa
    Posts
    26

    Default Wintering a single deep

    I have one colony that was a late swarm I caught that only made enough to fill out a single deep. I want this colony to overwinter. Should I place it on top of a strong colony with a divider for warm, or does that matter. I hear a lot of people say bees don't die from cold, but moisture. I am going to put fondant and pollen substitute on all winter.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Default Re: Wintering a single deep

    it will be ok by itself. you might do a search here for "mountaincamp method" i prefer that to fondant. another big help is a windbreak.
    good luck,mike
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,673

    Default Re: Wintering a single deep

    Survival for this colony will depend on several things: Is there enough food in the box to support the bees through the winter? Is the cluster large enough to move about the box to food stores during the winter? Are there enough young bees that will live through the winter and be the field force starting in the spring?

    There is not much you as a beekeeper can do about the cluster size and age of the bees you have. What you can control is the quantity of food resources (ie you can feed them) and you can help set the optimum environmental conditions for the bees to make it through.

    How much snow do you get? If a single deep is likely to be covered by snow than I would put it on top of another colony. No special dividers are needed. The bottom board of the small colony goes on top of the cover of the larger colony. The advantage is that you are elevating the small colony so that it won't get covered completely by snow. While snow does serve as an insulator, ventilation can easily get messed up if a colony is buried in snow. You'll get a minor heat benefit too for the upper colony - that mainly comes from the temperature beneath the bottom board not being subject to the ambient air temperature and drafts.

    Make an honest assessment of the colony and the likelihood of its survival. It may be that you'll be better off giving the stores from this colony to larger colonies.

    Good luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,380

    Default Re: Wintering a single deep

    We have a local pollinator who winters all his bees in single deeps, and is pretty successful. Winter is usually not the critical time period but rather late winter/early spring. When the colony is building up heavily in early spring they can starve within days if they are not fed early. Dry sugar on the frames will keep them going through the winter if they burn through their stores, then plan on probably feeding often in the early spring.
    To everything there is a season....

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Burlington, Iowa
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: Wintering a single deep

    Thanks for the input. I get some snow, but with the hives on blocks and a good windbreak, they should be alright. I'm going to add a 3 inch spacer and add dry sugar on top of paper. I'm also going to add a top entrance in it. With that I hope they make it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    moravia,ny
    Posts
    1,187

    Default Re: Wintering a single deep

    your best bet would be a candy board. this puts the sugar right above the cluster. anything above paper or inner cover is hard for the bees to acess in cold weather.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Bardstown, KY, USA
    Posts
    321

    Default Re: Wintering a single deep

    I use the "Mountain Camp" method of putting extra feed on top of all my bees. Since it sits on top of news paper, the bees can cut right to it.... I leave 1/3 of the top open. Also, the sugar will take some mosture out of the hives.... It beats making candy at 180 degree or more for 20 minutes (IMHO).

    I will be wintering two single hives this year.
    Phil
    Grandchildren are the best.... Bees a close second....

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    OKC, OK
    Posts
    67

    Default Re: Wintering a single deep

    I caught a small late swarm last year and overwintered it in a two-story, five-frame medium nuc. Borrowed some brood and stores from one of my big hives to help it through the winter. The colony did great. Put it in a regular 8-frame medium in March and it threw off a big swarm in late April.

    In general, I would prefer two eight frame mediums to one ten-frame deep. i think the cluster is more likely to move up than side to side and eight frame equipment helps with that in the winter. In addition to fondant on the top, you could also make candy board "frames" to put in position 1 and 10. Just use an empty frame laid down of wax paper and fill it with candy like you would a candy board form. Can run some fishing line or rubber bands across for strength if you want.

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