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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Nashville, TN, USA
    Posts
    13

    Default Reducing hive supers in preparation of winter

    For overwintering, does anyone have a maximum number of boxes you like getting down to before winter sets in? I know here weight is used and the round about figure is 60 lbs.

    This past Monday I was at a Beek meeting and I overheard an old timer stating now is the time to start removing supers to start the bees preparing for winter. I have not found anything yet in the books I have which state a time frame to start removing supers so the hive is not too large going into winter. This is my first season with honey bees and everything seems to be going well - actually too well. I have four boxes (5 frames)* of brood and four boxes for supers. Because of the weird weather we are having in Middle Tennessee, I have been feeding them a 1:1 sugar syrup during July and I will probably keep doing so into August. As a side note, I am reading some really good articles on keeping the brood chamber open as much as possible to assist them in over wintering.

    *Why do I use five frames? This is a hobby and I have very limited space in my backyard. I want to get up to at least five hives and I find the width of five frame boxes easier to fit in my backyard. And then, after the fact, I read bees seem to prefer smaller spaces.

    Thanks for your time.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: Reducing hive supers in preparation of winter

    In my area we will have a fall nectar flow, so I am keeping an eye on my bees to be sure I add supers when needed. It seem early to be talking about removing supers other than to harvest.
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    Ralph

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Rockford, Il
    Posts
    488

    Default Re: Reducing hive supers in preparation of winter

    I have four boxes (5 frames)* of brood and four boxes for supers. Because of the weird weather we are having in Middle Tennessee, I have been feeding them a 1:1 sugar syrup during July

    You're feeding with honey supers on?

    As to your original question I was a bit concerned myself last year about taking boxes off to fast, shrinking their space and having them swarm. I did not want to leave the honey supers on as our fall flow contains alot of golden rod which supposedly crystallizes faster.

    I just took them off right when the golden rod started down to what I was going to leave them with for winter. Right or wrong it didn't seem to cause any problems and no swarms. As to "How many boxes" that will be different depending on your winter and probably better answered by the locals. In my area it's common to run two deeps of 8 or 10. More further north, less further south.

    This year I plan on leaving the honey supers on a bit longer and catch some of the GR/Fall flow. Then do the same thing. Last year I checked for stores and didn't feed because they all seemed full. I think I will feed later into the year this year as I think I got lucky with the mild winter and some hives used most of their stores.

    ~Matt

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