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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    54

    Default Wintering in 3 deeps

    Here in Nova Scotia it is custom to winter in 2 deeps and I usually try to have them weigh approx 100lbs. They are still foraging on goldenrod and aster and some other wild flowers, but we could have a hard frost at any time. I have used bee cozys for the past several years. My hives always winter well, but I am wondering if any of you who live with long cold winters have any experience with 3 deeps rather than 2 and if it is a good idea? Most of my hives are strong with lots of bees and it can be a challenge to push them into 2 deeps, also I then worry about cluster space.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Hampton CT
    Posts
    360

    Default Re: Wintering in 3 deeps

    If you have had good luck with two deeps, why change? If you remove the extra boxes the bees will cluster fine. Many of those bees are feild bees and will die in a short time any way. Your bees will winter with the young bees and the brood that is still in the hive. Make sure the upper box is full as well as the equivalant of two or three frames full in the lower box. That with your bee cozies will be fine.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    54

    Default Re: Wintering in 3 deeps

    yes, I think you are right, since it seems to work well for me in the past. thanks for the reply.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,078

    Default Re: Wintering in 3 deeps

    I'll admit up front, I do not have long cold winters, I have short cold winters, with occasional temps down below -20F, -29C. I winter with all supers on hives and often with three deeps set aside for winter consumption. I see no reason why there should be any starvation going on, or anything close to it. Unused honey can always be re-purposed in spring, to bolster nucs and mating nucs or as a safety factor in case of late or very rainy spring.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Default Re: Wintering in 3 deeps

    It depends a lot on the race of bees what size the cluster is and it depends on the size of the cluster how much they can actually utilize. In general with Italians and a large cluster they can burn up some of the extra stores to make more brood earlier. But with Carni or Russian bees and their smaller clusters it's doubtful they would use it.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    54

    Default Re: Wintering in 3 deeps

    Thanks Michael, I think I will stay with the 2 supers for now.
    Just ordered your book, l have read most of your website but I am looking forward to the book so that I can read and take anywhere.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: Wintering in 3 deeps

    If you want you can throw a box of empty frames on the bottom of the stack. It will give them extra space and has the same effect as a "slatted rack" as far a drafts go... without owning an extra piece of equipment.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Casper, Wy, USA
    Posts
    804

    Default Re: Wintering in 3 deeps

    Hi d.frizzell

    In Dadant's The Hive and the Honey Bee, page 836:

    The three standard Langstroth hive body ... or its equivalent in hive space, with adequate and proper organization of food reserves, will preclude starvation as a significant cause of winter loss in the cold northern states or parts of Canada. Sugden et al. (1988) comparing four methods of wintering colonies in Minnesota found that significantly more colonies wintered in three deep hive bodies survived the winter than did colonies wintered in two deep hive bodies.
    And that's been my Wyoming experience as well. Although winters here aren't what they used to be, I found that using three hive bodies:

    - allows the bees to cluster and move farther away from the entrance.
    - permits for later spring inspections with better weather, higher temperatures.
    - eliminates the need for spring sugar feeding.
    - facilitates checker boarding.

    If what you're doing is working stick with it. But if you're curious, forced to spring feed when it's cold and nasty, or want to try checker boarding, try running a couple of 3 story hives. You might like the difference.

    Checker boarding alone is enough for reason for me.

    Regards - Dennis
    I once wrangled bees. But now, knowing better, I just let them bee.
    http://talkingstick.me/category/bees/

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