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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    688

    Default Can There be Too Many Bees

    Have a hive that is three deeps that is still full of bees. Will they eat themselves out of food?

    Air was humid, so bees were slow to cap the honey. Removed two deeps and a medium of honey about a month ago. Not capped to 80% and I am waiting delivery of a refractometer(got back ordered) and will deal with the honey or feed it.

    Fed some sugar syrup, to ensure they had cells full.

    Would have liked to go to two deeps, but there would have been some homeless bees.

    With three well stocked deeps and full of bees, will they have food till spring/April?
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    257

    Default Re: Can There be Too Many Bees

    I had a similar hive and looking back, should have split it in mid August, right after the honey harvest, and let them get set up for winter as two smaller hives. There were plenty of bees and brood to go around, and we had a good long fall, sunny and warm (most years we have nice weather right into October). The bees would have had 6 weeks to get set for winter...they already had enough stores for two hives even after the harvest, and time to put up more and get organized for winter.

    Your cluster may be large even when the summer bees die off, but perhaps its size will mean it can move from honey store to honey store more easily. The large cluster may be able to keep itself and the hive warmer more efficiently, thus offsetting the increased mouths to feed.

    It is a bit late to tinker, so why not just feed the bejeebers out of them, insulate and wrap for max warmth retention to slow food needs (a gabled, insulated roof may help), and leave them a candy board and be prepared to feed again early in the spring?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,903

    Default Re: Can There be Too Many Bees

    If I were wanting to get the population of bees down, I would not want to be heavy feeding them. Heavy feeding might very well stimulate the queen into keeping her egg laying at honey flow levels. Cut out the feed and let her shut down for Winter.

    Worker bees will die off rather quickly, and the hive will adjust to their Winter level based on available space and honey stores.

    cchoganjr

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    257

    Default Re: Can There be Too Many Bees

    Cleo, that does make sense. I would worry though, that Edmonton is going to be really cold for so long...there will be weeks below -20 C. I would expect them to have snow all through March, with the ice on the lakes going out in early April and the earliest spring nectar flow not till mid or late April? Would you heft the hive regularly to monitor their weight as an estimate of stores remaining? I would just be worried the girls would not make it through the very long and deep winter. That is why I wondered about putting on a candy board.
    Last edited by WesternWilson; 10-17-2012 at 09:38 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,315

    Default Re: Can There be Too Many Bees

    In my opinion if I were living in Canada where the winters were very cold and very long I would not hesitate to add candy or sugar just to be on the safe side.
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    257

    Default Re: Can There be Too Many Bees

    I do not live in Edmonton, but the last time I was there, it was late August, and it snowed at night. Gad.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Grey County, ON, Canada
    Posts
    104

    Default Re: Can There be Too Many Bees

    I would avoid tipping the hive regularly during winter as if you jar it the cluster could break which would likely be fatal in 20 below weather... As far as winter feeding I don't think they take much down when it's bellow zero anyways and it can cause dysentery, I'd just check em the first day it's above zero and they're doing cleansing flights at that point placing ziplock bags directly on the top bars, slicing through only the top layer of plastic with a knife and a formic rim to keep the inner cover off are probably the easiest if they need it. a chunk of 2" SM under the lid works well for insulation and tar paper around the outside if you're not going to buy a wrap specially made for hives. Just my 2 cents, good luck

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