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Thread: Crazy year

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Spring Hill, TN
    Posts
    5

    Default Crazy year

    I have two really strong hives that I started this year. They filled out the 3 brood boxes and 3 supers each. When I extract the mostly capped frames and let the bees clean them out, what keeps the bees from feeling cramped and possibly swarming? What should you do to prepare them for the winter? They have a large amount of honey in the brood boxes and I was thinking of leaving one super on as well. Right now I have bees covering almost every frame in the brood boxes and supers.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    seattle, washington
    Posts
    64

    Default Re: Crazy year

    Good question!
    I have been wondering the same thing, I hope someone comes along with an answer.

    I am thinking that you do the extract, put the supers back on, and when the weather has turned, pull the supers off again and place the fames in a safe place until next spring?

    Just an uneducated guess.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Hampton CT
    Posts
    363

    Default Re: Crazy year

    It really comes down to a relationship with your first frost. Here in CT, we keep supers on till around 15th to 21st of Sept. By then the flow is over and it is time to treat and feed if needed. By then the bees will be past any swarming impulse. It surprises many beekeepers that we do have some swarming activity from mid August till mid September. Never as common as in Spring, but it does occur. Tennessee would be a little later than us, but Winter is coming. All of those field bees will die very shortly so dont be worried about crowding.

    As to winter prep, there is no reason to leave any honey supers on past the Fall flow. I'm guessing that you are using three med boxes for brood chambers. If so, the bees will be fine with two boxes full of honey. That would be plenty here, so also would be enough in TN. If you lack those stores, feed until they do have that much. Treat for mites, install mouse gaurds by first frost, insure a top entrance/ ventilation and wait till spring! If you have screened bottom boards, the bees will be better off with it open as it helps with air circulation.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Spring Hill, TN
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Crazy year

    Thanks adam.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    8,421

    Default Re: Crazy year

    Treating is optional. Read Michael Bush's site. There is no harm in leaving another box of honey. I would if you have a SBB and leave it open. I haven't been doing this for long but I think an extra surplus lets the hive take off strong next spring as opposed to just making it through the winter.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,433

    Default Re: Crazy year

    Sometimes I have to crowd really strong hives down simply to get the honey off. The bees might end up packed like sardines, and clustering on the outside of the hive also. But doesn't matter it'll tell the queen she really needs to slow down and they sort themselves out.

    They never swarm at that time of year where I am but if you are in a location where they do, you may have to modify your practises accordingly.

    But my theory is that once the flow is over excess bees are just a waste, consuming honey to no purpose. So sooner you get that population down to winter numbers, the better.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Posts
    867

    Default Re: Crazy year

    George Imrie writes in his pink papers (well worth read if you haven't already) give them extra room in the spring and crowd them in the fall.

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