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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Endeavor,Wi
    Posts
    34

    Default Wisconsin winter

    With Wisconsin winters being long and hard some years should I be running 3 deeps ? I am running 2 deeps now but the more I read on here I see alot of people use 3 deeps.
    Thanks for the advice.
    Dave

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Oshkosh, Wisconsin
    Posts
    67

    Default Re: Wisconsin winter

    Hi DAVE
    I'm from Oshkosh, Wisconsin. I don't know what the norm is but last year I ran 2 deeps on both my hives. They survived just fine. However this year I have four hives and am going to try running 3 deeps one one of them just to see if their is any difference.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,819

    Default Re: Wisconsin winter

    My opinion is that there is no reason to run more than two deeps for brood anywhere in the U.S., however if you wanted to throw on an extra deep for winter full of food, go for it. You can always remove the lowest deep in the spring because it won't be occupied.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,819

    Default Re: Wisconsin winter

    Karen1611, what kind of difference are you looking for?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Cedar Grove, WI
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Wisconsin winter

    2 deeps , though I have occasionally left on a medium with the 2 deeps.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Fenton, MI
    Posts
    204

    Default Re: Wisconsin winter

    If you leave a medium on with two deeps, doesn't that make the bees work harder to keep the hive warm? ::: SHRUG :::

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Oshkosh, Wisconsin
    Posts
    67

    Default Re: Wisconsin winter

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    Karen1611, what kind of difference are you looking for?
    I'm not sure but I read where someone else does this regularly and wanted to try it. I am also running 8 frame instead of 10 frame this year. The weight was a bit much for me with the 10's.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Platteville, WI
    Posts
    127

    Default Re: Wisconsin winter

    Dave,
    Three deeps is good insurance that the bees will not starve. Last winter was a joke, bees were flying almost every month - which is not the norm... last years survival means almost nothing.
    I LOVE three deeps. I have one three deep hive and some two deep hives - I am changing the two deeps to three deeps. I run 10 frame eqipment and the outer frames are packed full of honey. In the bottom and top deeps, the four outer frames are nearly all honey, with some brood in frames 9 and 2 (inner-side). I do not question that my bees will have enough food for the winter, reguardless of how rough this winter may be.
    Additionally, with 3 deeps I do not use a queen excluder. If you do this, you will find that the bees create a honey-bridge that the queen will not (generally speaking) cross. Good luck, Sir!
    "Life will find a way - it always finds a way." -Jurassic Park (MOVIE/BOOK)
    USDA Zone 5a

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    syracuse n.y.
    Posts
    1,834

    Default Re: Wisconsin winter

    exactly what kirk said, in addition with three deeps, the bottom deep always has extra pollen going into winter, causing the bees to start raising brood earlier and more, ie. no need to stimulate in the spring, at least with italian bees. In the 10 years I have lived near syracuse, I always have lower winter kill than the beeks I know.
    mike syracuse ny
    I went to bed mean, and woke up meaner. Marshal Dillon

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,819

    Default Re: Wisconsin winter

    wildbranch2007, having a box full of pollen at the bottom of three deeps really doesn't help them rear brood earlier in year, the cluster is at the top of the hive at that time and with the cold weather they can't get to it anyway.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,819

    Default Re: Wisconsin winter

    Kirk, it might be good insurance against starvation but to leave three deeps on all year insures you won't get as big of a honey crop because more will be stored in the three deeps first before they work on the supers. If maximum honey production is not an issue then use as many brood boxes as you want.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Cedar Grove, WI
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Wisconsin winter

    Quote Originally Posted by Jackam View Post
    If you leave a medium on with two deeps, doesn't that make the bees work harder to keep the hive warm? ::: SHRUG :::
    I don't believe they keep the hive warm, just their cluster.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Plymouth, WI
    Posts
    85

    Default Re: Wisconsin winter

    University of Minnesota recommends 3 deeps and wrapping the top two in tar paper, with an upper entrance somewhere as well. The also insulate the top with some fiber board above the inner cover. They have pdf's with pictures showing how they do it.

    This is my plan, but I may just have 2 deeps and 1 medium super.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    syracuse n.y.
    Posts
    1,834

    Default Re: Wisconsin winter

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    wildbranch2007, having a box full of pollen at the bottom of three deeps really doesn't help them rear brood earlier in year, the cluster is at the top of the hive at that time and with the cold weather they can't get to it anyway.
    tell that to my bees please
    mike syracuse ny
    I went to bed mean, and woke up meaner. Marshal Dillon

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    syracuse n.y.
    Posts
    1,834

    Default Re: Wisconsin winter

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    Kirk, it might be good insurance against starvation but to leave three deeps on all year insures you won't get as big of a honey crop because more will be stored in the three deeps first before they work on the supers. If maximum honey production is not an issue then use as many brood boxes as you want.
    just because it didn't work for you doesn't mean it doesn't work. I' one day from finishing pulling honey for the second time, I have some two deeps, the three deeps far out perform the two deep in the same yard, all those extra bees in the spring really got into that locust that others two deeps were not ready for.
    mike syracuse ny
    I went to bed mean, and woke up meaner. Marshal Dillon

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Platteville, WI
    Posts
    127

    Default Re: Wisconsin winter

    Seriously... when someone is talking about winter in Wisconsin - they are talking about bee SURVIVAL. Honey for me is not the primary concern. If I have to give-up 20 or 30 pounds of honey to have bees survive the winter - consider it done. My 3 deep hive WILL have more bees, more stored honey/pollen, and WILL have a better chance of surviving Wisconsin winters.

    JMGI is right (partially), I do give-up some honey... but what do I gain? I pulled 41 pounds of honey off of the hive a couple of weeks ago and some frames are still being capped as we speak... close to another medium full. If I don't have to replace that hive next spring and they give me lots of honey now, while still storing some for themeselves - that is a win. Would 60 pounds of honey have been better if it causes my bees starve this winter? If this fall's bloom is cut short by nasty weather, do you think I worry? I dont.

    Some beekeepers on this site haven't figured this out yet: beekeeping is regional. I have a friend in TN and a family member in IN who keep bees. We do things differently because we live in different environments/regions. Different bloom times, different plants, different weather, different humidity, different seasons, and different beekeeping beliefs. My friend (TN) uses one deep and one medium and it works great for him because thats what works in that region for his bees. My IN family member uses two deeps and it works for him. Beekeepers are kind of ignorant of this fact on these forums. Some believe things should be done one way and ONLY one way and every other way is wrong. When reading things on these forums, people should consider where others are coming from (literally)... and, dare I say, consider that whatever they are sharing with this community actually works for them where they are.

    I am still learning and I'll still be learning 30 years from now. Three deeps works for me. That is what Dave asked about.
    "Life will find a way - it always finds a way." -Jurassic Park (MOVIE/BOOK)
    USDA Zone 5a

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,819

    Default Re: Wisconsin winter

    wildbranch2007, I know you didn't imply it, but I wasn't trying to be sarcastic or a know it all with my answer. I have never run two deeps nor have I run three deeps for brood nests, I have run three mediums and am currently changing over to a deep and a medium, and this is what I will winter in, and I live in a northern climate. I have NEVER had a colony die over the winter from starvation using this brood nest size. If I feel that a colony is light on stores going into winter, because of a failed fall flow, I feed until they won't or can't take it anymore. Sure, I could leave a full honey super on the hive in addition to the brood boxes just for insurance, but I don't, I would rather harvest the honey to sell, and feed back sugar if need be. This strategy is not unusual with honey producers as I'm sure you know. Now if you personally ( as many do and I once did) have a problem with feeding sugar and would rather they winter on pure honey instead, that's understandable. Look, I'm not trying to tell anyone the best and only way to do something, in my first post I started out by saying "in my opinion", that's what it was and is. I make it a point to look at the location of a poster when they ask a question so that I take into consideration what region of the country they live in before I offer an answer, because I do realize that beekeeping is regional. So, my answer was based on my experiences with northern wintering also. I still say that a well provisioned double deep is usually sufficient for a northern winter, but if you have had better comparable success using three deeps in your area, then by all means do what has worked for you.

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