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  1. #1
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    Jan 2009
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    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
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    Default single deep wintering

    Just about every topic has been covered before, and I'm sure this is no exception, but to refresh everyone's memory, especially mine, I would like to get some feedback on single 10 frame deep wintering in the cold areas of the country, because that is what I will be preparing to do here in a couple months. I would like to hear from all those who do it regularly with good success, or are doing it for the first time. Also if single deep wintering is your thing, how do you prepare your hives for winter, food reserves(frames of honey/syrup), insulation, feed rims(fondant, dry sugar), other feeding, ventilation, windbreaks, etc., anything at all that you do to help get them through the winter. Please lets not get into a debate about singles vs. doubles for wintering and that sort of thing. Really just want to discuss single deep 10 frame wintering methods. Thanks.
    Last edited by jmgi; 08-04-2013 at 04:30 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
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    2,644

    Default Re: single deep wintering

    I am learning that most of the guys who are good at this call it a nuc. they do a 5 on top of 5 setup. 2-3 frames of bees the rest food. I have had a lot of success with the singles and a 2" rim filled with sugar. some hives eat it all and some never touch it. The down sides are to small of cluster I think the queen gets chilled, to large and they starve. its a art, thats for sure.

  3. #3
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    Jan 2009
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    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: single deep wintering

    gmcharlie, I'm more interested in wintering a single 10 frame deep, I don't call that a nuc. Wintering nucs I have done, 5 over 5 arrangement. I figure wintering a single deep is probably cutting it close in my area, but so is wintering nucs. With the single you should be equivalent to a 5 over 5 nuc as far as population of bees, and I do know that next to ample food reserves, cluster size of young healthy bees is extremely important towards your success.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
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    4,458

    Default Re: single deep wintering

    We used to do it on occassion. We would place a plywood board on a single and put another often smaller one (to benefit from the heat) on the top and winter them as a double. As gmcharlie points out it is a tricky getting the right balance of bees and feed. One problem with our method was that you needed to check them for feed in the late winter/early spring and had to disassemble the packing to get to the bottom hive and that was a problem if they were sitting in snow or ice.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  5. #5
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    Jan 2009
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    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: single deep wintering

    Jim, were you wintering them up in S.D. then? Do you recall your survival rate on the singles?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Bloomington,In
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: single deep wintering

    I am going to try it this winter myself I got a swarm back in June that has not done well and I also purchased a nuc that has not done well. I am feeding them both now I am hoping they get some stores built up and they make it through the winter. I am thinking about getting new queens for them. Next year when it starts warming up I will throw some bee patties in the hive and hope they make it. I do have a wind break from the north wind and I will wrap the hive. My plan is feed feed feed until it gets to cold.



    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    Just about every topic has been covered before, and I'm sure this is no exception, but to refresh everyone's memory, especially mine, I would like to get some feedback on single deep wintering in the cold areas of the country, because that is what I will be preparing to do here in a couple months. I would like to hear from all those who do it regularly with good success, or are doing it for the first time. Also if single deep wintering is your thing, how do you prepare your hives for winter, food reserves(frames of honey/syrup), insulation, feed rims(fondant, dry sugar), other feeding, ventilation, windbreaks, etc., anything at all that you do to help get them through the winter. Please lets not get into a debate about singles vs. doubles for wintering and that sort of thing. Really just want to discuss single deep wintering methods. Thanks.

  7. #7
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    Jan 2009
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    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: single deep wintering

    jly500, just curious why you feel the swarm and nuc have not done well? I think going into winter with a questionable hive or nuc is setting yourself up for a failure, ask me how I know? I would requeen asap if you believe the queens are the issue. Hope they make it for you.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
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    4,458

    Default Re: single deep wintering

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    Jim, were you wintering them up in S.D. then? Do you recall your survival rate on the singles?
    Yes, in South Dakota. What we were doing was tipping a double and looking up from underneath. If it appeared the bottom box was empty, or mostly empty we pulled it out, checked the occupied upper box for weight and paired them up with another single. It seemed logical that they would do better without that empty space below them which often served as nothing more than a good mouse nest if the entrances werent tight enough. Given that these were our smaller hives I am remembering that it worked all right, though certainly the neighboring doubles were much better the following spring.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Bloomington,In
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: single deep wintering

    I guess I thought I was thinking they should have been on their second deep. The swarm I got it just has now drawn any new comb out in a month still at 5 frames and the nuc is the same just the 5 drawn out frames. The part of Indiana I live in in a lot of woods if I had got these 2 when the locust trees were blooming I would have done better. All my other hives filled up. I thought about starting a couple of nucs up I think that is a good idea and I think I will get them new queens.

  10. #10
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    Jan 2009
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    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: single deep wintering

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    Given that these were our smaller hives I am remembering that it worked all right, though certainly the neighboring doubles were much better the following spring.
    Yes I can understand that they would be in better shape, maybe initially in the early spring, but I keep thinking about Mike Palmer and how he talks about his nucs that come through winter, and how they build up quickly and become some of his best producing colonies that year. I don't see why a single 10 frame deep couldn't do the same thing. Of course the key is getting them through till spring and them having sufficient honey and pollen to get brood rearing underway early.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: single deep wintering

    jly500, well maybe because they got a late start as you say, you can't really fault them too much as far as not getting into a second deep yet, but surely they should be farther along than 5 frames, I would say there is some sort of problem, are you sure they didn't supercede a queen once or twice that put them behind like that?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
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    2,213

    Default Re: single deep wintering

    JMGI, I believe Roland in WI overwinters using a single brood box. I hope he chimes in to correct me if I get the details wrong, but as I recall. It goes something like this. Take off all the honey from the bees, put a box with frames, or empty below it. Feed 60 pounds a single, and call it good. I think he said that the bees do better with an empty box below them, rather than just the single, even a completely empty box. The winter 2011/2 (that wasn't a winter) I overwintered 3 of 3 in this format which made for an interesting spring as we had a great Goldenrod flow and those singles were heavy.
    http://s1110.photobucket.com/user/Ad...tml?sort=3&o=0
    Last winter I just overwintered one which looked fine in the spring. I had an empty medium underneath it, and it built no crazy comb.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,070

    Default Re: single deep wintering

    Include in your research a couple of Canadian sites I like. One is frenchbeefarm.com They winter singles and two nucs in a divided deep with auxiliary shared foodsource above. Pederson apiaries in Alberta winter singles and have some good info on their site. You will have to search for the address if you want to go there. I did some last winter and filled a feeder rim full of dry sugar before they were wrapped. I was not overwhelmed by results but it merits more trial. Nothing wintered well here last winter.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Nevada, MO
    Posts
    204

    Default Re: single deep wintering

    I've got a swarm I trapped about six weeks ago that's only got ten medium frames drawn and hasn't done anything for a couple weeks. If they don't fill two mediums by winter, will they do better over the winter in five frame medium nuc boxes 2-3 high or in two partially filled mediums? I also thought about filling some of the space up with wood or insulation on one side. This is my first year and I don't no what to expect for a fall flow. It's been raining too much. I'm 90 miles south of KC MO.0

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    2,732

    Default Re: single deep wintering

    Adrian got it right.

    Up untill the 70's, we used tar paper and plaster lathe winter caves. They used just a single deep, with a burlap bag over the top bars. From there, straw was packed around and above the paired hives. As the winter caves from teh 40's wore out, they where replaced with coroplast double deep covers, like a RSC carton with out the bottom flaps. To augment them, we wax up regular corrugated RSc boxes from LeClaire in ixonia.

    On the whole, it appears that the fall flow is more important than how they are packed. Our best yard made 21/22 through the winter, but it also had the best fall flow.

    As for fall preps, ussually 4 gallons of syrup is given to all hives, packed before deer hunting, and not checked untill we can get into the yards in late March.

    Crazy Roland
    Crazyt Roladn

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