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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Casper, Wyoming
    Posts
    181

    Default Wintering statistics

    Alright as I am thinking about wintering top bars for the first time I want to poll ya'll, if you would be so kind. Please respond to the following

    Years keeping top bars: ?
    Plant zone: ?
    Average lbs of honey going into winter: ?
    Hive preparation: ? (tarps, tar paper, insulation, wind break, etc)
    Average hive losses in spring: ?

    If enough people respond I will tally, average, and some basic stats so we can all benefit.

    Hank

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    49,118

    Default Re: Wintering statistics

    >Years keeping top bars:
    15

    >Plant zone:

    Zone 5b 12 years
    Zone 5a 3 years

    >Average lbs of honey going into winter:

    ~50 pounds (feral survivors and Carniolans)

    >Hive preparation: ? (tarps, tar paper, insulation, wind break, etc)

    None.

    >Average hive losses in spring:
    ~25%
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: Wintering statistics

    I believe there were other factors at play in my first winter's beekeeping losses but as I think compiling information like this is a great thing to do I am going to support it by answering and let you decide whether or not to keep it in the stats.

    Years keeping top bars:
    1 year 2 months

    >Plant zone:

    Zone 6a

    >Average lbs of honey going into winter:

    Not known but it wasn't enough! (One Alleged Buckfast and one New World Carniolan)

    >Hive preparation: ? (tarps, tar paper, insulation, wind break, etc)

    Wool over top bars covered by shingles under the peaked roof. The NWCs also closed their entrance with propolis to half an inch diameter or less.

    >Average hive losses in spring:
    100% of two hives
    -one lost the queen and dwindled (Buckfast), other froze due to starvation (NWC).

    >Mitigating Factors affecting loss:
    -late start in a year that had an early spring
    -waited too long to requeen a queen with a poor pattern. (Italian requeened to NWC)
    -drought and heatwave. Should have fed sooner due to this.
    -battled SHB in the Buckfast hive which ended in them going into winter with a small/weak colony.
    -new beekeeper

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    81

    Default Re: Wintering statistics

    >Years keeping top bars:
    3

    >Plant zone:
    Zone 6b

    >Average lbs of honey going into winter:
    unknown

    >Hive preparation: ? (tarps, tar paper, insulation, wind break, etc)
    Lay a sheet of bubble-wrapped aluminum style insulation over top bars and on outer face of follower boards. Maintain year-round wind break that consists of a six-foot fence and evergreen trees behind the hives. Close down to a single entrance and add sugar bricks as emergency food reserves heading into winter.

    >Average hive losses in spring:
    Have kept two top bar hives each year and last winter also kept one top bar nuc. Have had one loss from a hive that came out of winter queenless and dwindled before I was able to address the issue and add new queen/resources.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,218

    Default Re: Wintering statistics

    Years keeping top bars: ? 1.5
    Plant zone: ? 7a
    Average lbs of honey going into winter: ? 10 extremely weak hive going into winter.
    Hive preparation: ? (tarps, tar paper, insulation, wind break, etc) None
    Average hive losses in spring: ? 0

    Hive dwindled to just a hand full of bees. was requeened in spring now has well over 100lbs of honey and is a 4 foot long hive packed full of bees.

    How this one made it to spring I have no idea. It is what convinced me bees don't eat honey in the winter. they eat it in the spring during build up.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Casper, Wyoming
    Posts
    181

    Default Re: Wintering statistics

    Bump. Anyone else want to weigh in?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Essex, England, UK
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: Wintering statistics

    Years keeping top bars: 5th Year.

    Plant zone: ? Sorry, not known but bit like New York.

    Average lbs of honey going into winter: 30lb

    Hive preparation: ? None.

    Average hive losses in spring:

    Just one loss over past 4 winters. It was a small summer swarm in 2011 that didn,t make it past November 2011.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Casper, Wyoming
    Posts
    181

    Default Re: Wintering statistics

    Plant zone: 3-4
    Average lbs of honey going into winter: 50-80
    Hive preparation: nothing
    Average hive losses in spring: 60%


    Thought I would update a post from the fall. Lost 4 of 7. No good explanation on 2 with lots of stores going in, the other 2 I was worried were low. 2 of the three that survived was a shocker one only had maybe 40lbs and the other a late season trap out that then got dumped over. I hope I don't jinx myself with this post. We are real close to having some blooms.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Marquette, Michigan
    Posts
    92

    Default Re: Wintering statistics

    [QUOTE=Silverbackotter;969675]Alright as I am thinking about wintering top bars for the first time I want to poll ya'll, if you would be so kind. Please respond to the following

    Years keeping top bars:
    1year
    Plant zone:
    Zone 4
    Average lbs of honey going into winter:
    75
    Hive preparation:
    Insulation between top of bars and cover, 6 inches insulation in roofers garbage bags wrapped around hive and tied down
    Average hive losses in spring:
    0 They survived



    Looking forward to results. Monty

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,218

    Default Re: Wintering statistics

    Years keeping top bars: 2 starting my third
    Plant zone: 7a
    Average lbs of honey going into winter: no idea how much should a bar full of comb weigh? I had about 30 or so.
    Hive preparation: ? none
    Average hive losses in spring: 0 Bees are all the way back in a 4 foot long TB. Brood starts at about 35 bars back. Comb is heavily covered in bees starting about 20 bars back. Inspected yesterday and so far no forming of queen cells. When it does try to swarm I expect it to be huge.

    I simply left them all the honey they made last summer. I added in 5 or 6 new bars this spring and they are working on all of them. I should just make a couple of splits from it.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Canada BC Delta
    Posts
    465

    Default Re: Wintering statistics

    Years keeping top bars: 7 years
    Plant zone: 8
    Average lbs of honey going into winter: 25 to 45
    Hive preparation: no different than the active season
    Average hive losses in spring: 18% maintain about 20 hives

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Milw, WI
    Posts
    192

    Default Re: Wintering statistics

    # of TBH's = 2
    Years = 1
    Zone = 5b
    #'s of honey= unsure
    Preparations = none (hive is made from 2 inch thick lumber)
    Loses = 100%
    Technology is great.....when it works.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Marysville, WA
    Posts
    489

    Default Re: Wintering statistics

    Years keeping top bars: 8
    Plant zone: 7B
    Average lbs of honey going into winter: 50 lbs
    Hive preparation: None
    Average hive losses in spring: about 25% (run between 6 and 12 TBH's)
    Beekeeper? Shoot, my bees keep me!
    Western Wa State

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Moscow, Idaho
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Wintering statistics

    years keeping top bars: 11months
    # of top bars 1
    Plant Zone 6a
    caucasian honey bees started in new cedar kenyan style top bar hive in June 2013 from local source.
    Average lbs of honey going into winter: unsure but probably about 30 lbs
    Hive preparation: tarp loosely wrapped over lid of hive
    Average loss: 0

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Casper, Wyoming
    Posts
    181

    Default Re: Wintering statistics

    Update if anyone wants to chime in too

    Years keeping top bars: 2
    Plant zone: 4
    Average lbs of honey going into winter: >70
    Hive preparation: fiberglass insulation on top of the bars

    spring survival: 5/5 full hives, 1 of 2 nucs(needless to say the nucs didn't have 70lbs of honey)

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    49,118

    Default Re: Wintering statistics

    >spring survival: 5/5 full hives...

    That's what you get for trying to winter top bars in a brutally cold climate.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Springfield, MO
    Posts
    98

    Default Re: Wintering statistics

    years keeping top bars: 1
    # of top bars 2
    Plant Zone 6b
    Average lbs of honey going into winter: all that they could produce in one summer.
    Hive preparation: r5 on top of bars.
    Average loss: 50%, local small, july swarm made it. Purchased wolf creek (Georgia) bees built up quick and died over the winter with plenty of honey left.
    Last edited by onesojourner; 04-13-2015 at 01:50 PM.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Seattle WA
    Posts
    172

    Default Re: Wintering statistics

    Years keeping top bars: 3
    Plant zone: 7B
    Average lbs of honey going into winter: 50 lbs
    Hive preparation: None
    Average hive losses in spring: 33% of 3 hives
    Lost to queen issues. Made it fine until March and the queen apparently died. The hive continues to dwindle and there are a few hundred survivors left with plenty of stores. This was a package installed last year and the only hive I did not re-queen in July. Treated with formic in August and OA in December.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Reedsport, OR
    Posts
    73

    Default Re: Wintering statistics

    Single hive, probably wild swarm taken last July, about 10 miles from my home.

    Years keeping top bars: < 1

    Plant zone: According to USDA, 8b
    Are you doing usda?:
    http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/

    Average lbs of honey going into winter: unknown, but I fed 2:1 heavily in the fall, one oa dribble end of about Dec 1, 50cc.

    Hive preparation: none, really, had them for a short time under shelter from the wind and rain. hardly had a winter, tho'.

    Average hive losses in spring: 0 They survived and are booming

    ===================
    I think you should also be asking about the bees origin - "wild" swarm, "kept" swarm, or package bees or queen, and perhaps how far away they originated.

    Perhaps it's just wishful thinking but I hope to see natural swarms come out on top of this.

    Is there a function to use polls here? They make this stuff so much easier...

    If not and folks REALLY want it, I can set one up on one of my sites and maybe have a sticky post with the url? It would be nice to have ongoing stats year to year and the right setup would archive and chart all of that, and maybe more...

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Casper, Wyoming
    Posts
    181

    Default Re: Wintering statistics

    Quote Originally Posted by Apismellifera View Post
    Single hive, probably wild swarm taken last July, about 10 miles from my home.

    Years keeping top bars: < 1

    Plant zone: According to USDA, 8b
    Are you doing usda?:
    http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/


    Is there a function to use polls here? They make this stuff so much easier...

    If not and folks REALLY want it, I can set one up on one of my sites and maybe have a sticky post with the url? It would be nice to have ongoing stats year to year and the right setup would archive and chart all of that, and maybe more...
    Yes plant hardiness zone

    I am not sure how to do the polling via a questionnaire . One can hand talley the stats no more than we have, it will take a couple years to get enough numbers to be meaningful.

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