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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    North Pole, Alaska
    Posts
    145

    Default winter manipulation?

    So winters not all to far away and I figured its about time to start prepping.

    I'm still feeding one hive. The 2nd strong hive I need to start feeding again soon I would assume.

    The question is about manipulating the cluster/bars to get them where I want them for winter. When do you do this? Whats too cold? If I have empty unfilled bars in the brood chamber should I remove them (or move them to the rear of the hive) to help keep feed near the winter cluster? at what point do I start adding pollen patty's?

    What other preperations should I be considering?

    The plan is to winter them in a unheated garage. I figured temps would be about right sometime the end of october to bring them in to early nov.

    Thoughts on wrapping? (keep in mind, extremely cold and long winters). My main goal is to get them through winter successfully.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Moyock, NC, USA
    Posts
    207

    Default Re: winter manipulation?

    I watched a golden top bar video that showed them putting a layer of pink insulation (wrapped in plastic bag and taped) in between the roof assembly and the top bars.
    Then they sealed up all but one of the entrance holes. They also put in the solid bottom board, of course.
    If they are going to be in the garage, they will have protection from wind etc.. but they could use any sunlight they can get in the winter.(near window or something)
    I just read where you are, maybe you could leave a hair dryer running for them.!
    If your garage has a concrete slab floor then insulate somehow between that too.
    Other stuff you could do is check for any parasites that could hinder their overwintering. Mites or beetles. I assume there is enough isolation where you are that you don't have any yet.
    If they don't have pollen in the comb or some honey pollen mix in good supply, then put out a patty. A free meal is always good.
    You probably don't want to open your hive under 65, they can't even fly at around 55 or cooler.
    For moving bars you are going to need to move the empties out of the way leave about 30-40% of original brood chamber and put the honey right beside it (whichever side the bees had it on,)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    North Pole, Alaska
    Posts
    145

    Default Re: winter manipulation?

    so keep 30-40% of the brood chamber and move the rest away from the bees I take it?

    How much pollen is enough? I have close to 1 1/2 bars of it in my weak hive..its the very first two bars in the entrance.

    My garage isnt completely unheated, it gets some radiant floor heat from the house into the garage so it's cold but not overly miserable even when it's -50 outside. The plan was to build a enclosed shelf, basically a two shelved closet. I was thinking of taking blue foam board and setting the hives on it for bottom insulation. the sides have some 3/4 foam insulation and a piece under the lid. I figured another one on the lid. Possibly going to drill a vent hole up high in the rear of the hive for moisture.

    As for sunlight I was told to keep them dark? Hence the cabinet idea.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    533

    Default Re: winter manipulation?

    I have thought of the garage thing, but then the cleansing flight turned me off. Everything would be covered in bee poo.
    Not Michael Bush. My name is Dan. Sorry for the confusion.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    662

    Default Re: winter manipulation?

    There are articles around on wintering in a building with a controlled environment. Did a quick look but didn't locate one published by Beaverlodge Research Station in northern Alberta. It is on Beesource somewhere, Been through North Pole on a summer holiday.

    Have a printed copy and some hi lites are
    1. Ideal temp of building interior is 5C
    2. Need ventilation fans to exhaust CO2 and mositure.
    3. Need adequate ventilation of each hive for oxygen and moisture elimination with a bottom entrance and a top entrance. I run a additional 3/4 inch round hole in top super that doesn't get blocked by snow. Bottom entrance size regulates maximum air flow(need at least 5/8 inch. Isuspect your winter air is quite "dry" so you don't need a huge flow of air in each hive.
    3. Install red lights in garage so you can work but invisible to bees. Block other incoming light
    4. Medicate with Fumigillan in fall as Nosema/dysentry may be a problem.
    5. IMHO insulate top, bottom, and three sides. Inner cover and top insulation avoid top condensation and dripping on the cluster. A wet cluster is very likely a dead cluster. Leave a front/cold side on which there will some condensation and provides a winter water supply. Without water, bees can also get somewhat constipated and have thready poop when beeing fed fondants and sugar in late winter.
    6. Check with other local beekeeps to see what they find successful.
    7. Good luck!
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Moyock, NC, USA
    Posts
    207

    Default Re: winter manipulation?

    Hey AK-
    I meant sunlight shining on roof of hive as if it were outside. soaking up free radiant heat.
    How wacky is the daylight schedule where you are? does the sun go sideways?

    mgolden--
    Red lights...infrared? or just red bulb?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    662

    Default Re: winter manipulation?

    Article says "red lights"

    Found the paper using google search and searching for "beaverlodge research & biology of wintering"

    Paper is titled "The Biology and Management of Colonies in Winter"

    And maybe I copied the link as per below.


    http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&...60UKXfJONMZ5xg
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    North Pole, Alaska
    Posts
    145

    Default Re: winter manipulation?

    thanks for that link MG! definatly some great info.

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