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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Fort Bragg, California, USA
    Posts
    13

    Default Yes it's June, but what should my N CA hive look like for Winter?

    This is my first year, so forgive my off-season question. On our coast, freezes are few and far between. The biggest concern I have is the rain we get: we receive a considerable amount in winter. On our property, much of the area turns to "swamp"--several inches or so of water just about everywhere (the ducks are exceptionally happy about this).

    What is the best way to protect the hive from all that water?

    The hive is positioned on a "hill" on a 2' stand, but come winter, this spot will be surrounded by water. I have an all med. 10 frame setup--3 boxes on right now. I have a screened bottom board from Country Rubes and a ventilated inner cover underneath my telescoping cover from Mann Lake.

    Thank you,
    Jennie Alice

    by the way, bees and ducks seems to get along happily.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Los Altos, CA
    Posts
    121

    Default Re: Yes it's June, but what should my N CA hive look like for Winter?

    I like to provide some sort of roof above all my hives to keep the woodware dry. You might consider doing that and also ratchet strap the roof down instead of using bricks or whatever. Also, if there's a pond beneath them in the Winter, on days they can fly out to forage, you don't want them to accidentally fall into the water. Perhaps a easier to land area but be sure it will not allow water to roll into the hive if your hive is not leveled or slightly tilted forward. And of course the roof to cover all around to keep everything dry as mentioned above.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,192

    Default Re: Yes it's June, but what should my N CA hive look like for Winter?

    All that moisture isn't the best thing for you're bees, but I guess you already know that.
    Besides the moisture, are you're hives going to stay stable once the ground starts getting soft. I'd be concerned with one side sinking & the hives falling over.
    Dan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Fort Bragg, California, USA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Yes it's June, but what should my N CA hive look like for Winter?

    That's a good point--I was thinking about laying down something to keep the grass from growing underneath (leftover pavers). Tamping it level with gravel should keep it stable. And to jip, I'm beginning to wonder if I shouldn't get out and move some earth while the ground is dry--maybe a large bee "landing strip" of high ground. They're doing very well right now--are they going to let me work in their space if I move them a few feet?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,192

    Default Re: Yes it's June, but what should my N CA hive look like for Winter?

    If you move them a few feet many will continue going to the old place circle around then go into the hive. Sometimes they do this for weeks.
    They probably won't bother you, but who knows.
    Dan

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Posts
    159

    Default Re: Yes it's June, but what should my N CA hive look like for Winter?

    Quote Originally Posted by jip View Post
    I like to provide some sort of roof above all my hives to keep the woodware dry. You might consider doing that and also ratchet strap the roof down instead of using bricks or whatever. Also, if there's a pond beneath them in the Winter, on days they can fly out to forage, you don't want them to accidentally fall into the water. Perhaps a easier to land area but be sure it will not allow water to roll into the hive if your hive is not leveled or slightly tilted forward. And of course the roof to cover all around to keep everything dry as mentioned above.
    Thanks for this input! My husband was planning to make a roof out of plywood for our hives to not only keep falling debris out of the buckets of old motor oil that the leg stands are in, but to keep rain from the hives.

    Do you have any pictures of the roofing that you made for your hives that you can show me?

    Thanks!

    Lori

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,192

    Default Re: Yes it's June, but what should my N CA hive look like for Winter?

    Don't forget you're hives can get over 6' tall with honey supers on.
    Dan

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Posts
    159

    Default Re: Yes it's June, but what should my N CA hive look like for Winter?

    Quote Originally Posted by KQ6AR View Post
    Don't forget you're hives can get over 6' tall with honey supers on.
    What if I want to keep them to only one deep with 3 medium then queen excluder and one more med (honey super for my use)?

    I will keep the honey supers on year round (so the bees can still eat from it during winter), and only steal 5 frames of comb out of my two 10-frame honey supers per year. Thus, each set of 5 frames will always have 2 years before the comb is extracted from it again. I only wish to have two hives for personal use, not to make lots of money selling the honey or comb.

    I heard over You-tube that if I leave at least 1/2 to 1 inch of comb left around the edges of the frame, the bees can fill it again easily. What do you think?

    -Lori

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    5,035

    Default Re: Yes it's June, but what should my N CA hive look like for Winter?

    [QUOTEI will keep the honey supers on year round (so the bees can still eat from it during winter-Lori[/QUOTE]

    I doubt that bees in San Diego need much in the way of winter stores. Your plan will probably produce lots of swarms to bother your neighbors. Maybe let a local beekeeper harvest and sell the honey you don't want for you. Then donate the income to BeeSource for all the good advice you get here.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Fort Bragg, California, USA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Yes it's June, but what should my N CA hive look like for Winter?

    Quote Originally Posted by KQ6AR View Post
    Don't forget you're hives can get over 6' tall with honey supers on.
    That's a good point, and especially so for people using 8 frame. It would have to be a somewhat "open" structure so the bees can still gauge the weather (sunlight), I would think. My bf suggested just putting the hive in the old sheep shed with the door open, but I would think the space would be too "enclosed" for the bees.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Fort Bragg, California, USA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Yes it's June, but what should my N CA hive look like for Winter?

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    I doubt that bees in San Diego need much in the way of winter stores. Your plan will probably produce lots of swarms to bother your neighbors.
    Would you suggest less stores for a mediterranean climate winter? And also, for cluster temperature, should there still only be the minimum amount of space going into winter (2-3 med brood boxes plus honey super)?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,192

    Default Re: Yes it's June, but what should my N CA hive look like for Winter?

    An entomologist from UC Davis told me I only need 6 deep frames of honey in the hive to overwinter in Contra Costa County.
    Bees hoard honey, whether you want it or not you might have to extract over #100 pounds per hive.
    Dan

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,869

    Default Re: Yes it's June, but what should my N CA hive look like for Winter?

    Three mediums alone going into winter should be good for Fort Bragg, CA. Same goes for San Diego, a deep with a single medium should be good for wintering there. Queen excluders should not be used over winter.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

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