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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Kanabec county, Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    31

    Default winter leftovers

    Minn. winter (still going). Of my two hives, one has overwintered very well- large cluster, a lot of remaining honey. The other died out (probably froze), with most of their honey still there. I use all mediums and have more than three packed with capped honey left. I will be installing a package next month. What do you recommend for an arrangement of the boxes with the new package installed. Can I place the bees below all this honey and they will eat and then use the comb, or do I need a box of empty drawn comb right above and feeder, etc? I could take the honey, but I crush and strain and hate to destroy this deep drawn comb. I have learned more about the right amount of honey to leave for next winter, but would appreciate advice on what to do with this leftover honey this year and how to arrange my boxes for installing the package this spring. Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,070

    Default Re: winter leftovers

    If it were me I would not destroy any comb frames. They are very good to expand your
    hive as well to stop swarming. Here is what I will do.
    Install your package like you normally would. Then feed them like you normally would. It is better to install your package
    on the drawn combs so they don't have to build again. Use the existing empty drawn combs to alternate with the foundation(less) and honey combs. The extra honey will help feed them to build up the empty frames faster.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,276

    Default Re: winter leftovers

    My advice is to make up one medium with three or four mostly empty frames and fill the rest of the box with the honey frames. Your bees won't require feeding and they will turn those frames of honey into bees. Wait until that single medium has bees working all the way accross before adding more room. Giving them a smaller area that they can climate control is very important for the colony to build up. Screened bottom boards will slow down your buildup. Save it for later use if you must, but give that package a small entrance.

    Consider giving your package a frame or two of capped brood from your overwintered hive if it is strong. Gently brush or jiggle the bees off the frame, this way you won't be transferring and killing your queen. A package queen takes several days to get into full egglaying production and bees are dying every day. They are all getting older and the newly emerging bees from the donor frames are better suited to raise lots of brood allowing the aging package bees to forage as they would normally be doing.

    My sisterinlaw at Detroit still has snow as high as the house and more still coming. Hopefully your bees won't come for a little while

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Kanabec county, Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: winter leftovers

    Very good advice. Thank you. So, I take it I can also use my leftover capped honey in place of feeders this spring.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,276

    Default Re: winter leftovers

    You can, or you could eat some yourself or both and feed some sugar if needed beyond that. I just noticed in your first post you mentioned foundationless. The easiest way to draw good quality foundationless, is to place frames in between frames of capped brood. That way the bees draw it to the right depth. I used to try to alternate frames to attract the bees into building the new combs and better than half the time, I got bridge comb thru the foundationless frame to the comb on the other side. They will also make a honey storage comb with cells an inch and a half deep instead of building a new comb. Foundationless can be done but it is often difficult.

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