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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    6

    Default When to winter the bees

    Just wondering what temperature or weather conditions everyone looks for to decide when to get the bees wrapped up for winter. I am up in central Ontario and our temperature last night was around -3C (26F)... the daytime high is around 10 to 14C. (50F to 57F). The bees are flying around... very little though I think I counted about 3 in 5 minutes. What do you guys think?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    7,053

    Default Re: When to winter the bees

    That would be an artic emergency down here.
    "Indeed, cold seems to have a decided beneficial effect on bees. The normal brood-rearing urge, manifested by the other colonies not thus protected, as well as the upsurge of energy and industry, was completely lacking. The results secured here in Devon as well as in Wiltshire palpably demonstrated that undue protection has a positive harmful effect and that cold – even severe cold – exerts a beneficial influence on the well-being of a colony. Winter losses are not the direct result of exposure to low temperature, but are generally due to a lack of timely cleansing flights, unsatisfactory stores, queenlessness, disease, etc."
    Beekeeping at Buckfast Abbey, Brother Adam
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,240

    Default Re: When to winter the bees

    Down here in WI/MN the practice is to do it in two stages. Entrances reduced by mid-september, and then winter wrapping done at the end of November.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: When to winter the bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Quiney WI View Post
    Entrances reduced by mid-september, and then winter wrapping done at the end of November.

    ditto
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,408

    Default Re: When to winter the bees

    Down here, most Winters we get a few days with nightime temps at or near freezing. Basically we never wrap them for Winter, and they just need a few frames of honey for Winter stores. If we get precipitation through the Winter (sometimes that does happen), we may even get a honey crop.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,539

    Default Re: When to winter the bees

    We don't wrap here, but if you do, wait until it's cold enough they are typically clustered (below freezing most nights). Otherwise you can heat the hive to the point where you could encourage more brood rearing, which you don't want.

    I put entrance reducers on when we start getting cool nights (40F or below) since we typically also start getting robbing incidents about the same time, and I just leave them on til spring.

    Peter

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    637

    Default Re: When to winter the bees

    My bees have really slowed down in the last couple of days, I plan to wrap tomorrow or next weekend. I have already reduced the entrance to ~1.5"
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,161

    Default Re: When to winter the bees

    It may be early but I have a bit of a special situation and I am going to wrap very soon. If these want to raise another brood cycle I am all for it. They are still building back up after being shaken on to foundation to get them off AFB contaminated equipment. I wrapped in Mid October last year in the year with no winter and it worked out fine even then. Course I started feeding in late February and some really needed it. Today I went out to selectively feed the lighter ones with baggies on the top bars and tho it was approaching seventy they were still mostly clustered below the top bars and the syrup was probably cold enough to be unuseable in these smaller clusters. I am talking myself into wrapping I guess.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    York Region, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: When to winter the bees

    I wrap my bees in late October or early November.
    I treat with an Oxalic Acid drench and wrap with tar paper the same day. I use about an inch or two of old newspapers on the top as insulation and have a notch cut in the inner cover and an entrance reducer in the bottom.
    Some colonies have open screened bottom boards and some have solid bottom boards, it doesn't seem to make a difference.

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