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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Greenbrae, CA, USA

    Default Wintering in NorCal - a few questions

    Hi -

    I'm hoping to successfully overwinter my three hives in SF Bay Area after losing all last winter. A few questions:

    - One hive had lost it's queen a month or so ago. I requeened with a nuc I had, but the hive was left with little honey stores. I started to feed with an internal two frame feeder, but they've only used perhaps half of its contents. Should I leave the feeder in? I checked it yesterday and some bees seemed to be feeding from it. I have also given the hive a pollen patty and put a pile of drivert on the inner cover that they seem to be slowly eating.

    - Normally keepers overwinter with two deeps around here. The hive above has some honey stores in a super that I'm reluctant to remove due to the relatively little amount of stores in the hive. Any problem leaving it on? We have mild winters so I suspect that's fine, though I can imagine I might get brood in it come spring.

    - Maybe more of an observation that question, but my three hives have very different amounts of activity. One is bustling, another (the one above) has a modest amount, and the third very little. All seem to be OK internally, so I guess that's just how they are.

    Btw winters are mild here (rarely in the 30's and just at night, usually high 50's by day), the sun is shining, and I see lots of bees foraging and bringing in pollen.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Concord, CA

    Default Re: Wintering in NorCal - a few questions

    Hi From Concord,
    The Marin County beekeepers meet in San Rafael, not far from you. They might be a good source of information. There is also a Marin group raising local treatment free queens.
    Where I live we need 6 deep frames of capped honey or more for winter. Last year I had a hive raise a queen in Dec. I have a nuc trying to raise a queen right now, we'll see how that goes.
    All our hives have screened bottom boards, we never close them.
    You're bees will be able to forage on eucalyptus varieties all winter if you have them in you're area.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012

    Default Re: Wintering in NorCal - a few questions

    I am in Shasta County. Have 1 hive to start this first year. The hive consists of 2 deeps and 1 medium. We left the honey alone to see how they winter out. The upper deep and the medium are full of capped honey cells. From what I could see in the lower deep was alot of brood cells. Any idea if there is a local keepers group in this area? Would love to have a mentor to keep me heaed in the right direction.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Wilmington, Illinois, USA

    Default Re: Wintering in NorCal - a few questions

    Check to see if the problem is part of crop dusting, spraying trees and such. covers the midwestern states to let the farmers know about your hives. See if there's an equivalent in your area online. Also, make sure they have plenty within 3 miles to forage on. I've had to plant many nectar/ pollen sources to let the girls do their thing. If sources put close to the hives, they won't get worked very much, so plant at least 100 feet away. Good luck with your dilemma.
    Honey is the best thing ever discovered !


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