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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Bayfield, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    136

    Default Wintering one deep? Surviving a bear attack!

    So, here is the story! I kept a brand new 8 frame hive at a friends house this summer. excellent, fertile area with plenty of food and water for the girls. We pulled about 4 gallons of honey so they did very well for themselves. Because the queen had laid brood in one of the supers I left it on. So the picture is two deeps and one super. Then on Oct. 3rd we had a bear attack, the bear just ripped off the top super, of course then destroyed it, but only knocked over the two deeps. The bees were pretty angry but we tipped it back up, put on some insulation to help them through the winter. (Yes, I know bear fence, but my understanding was that there was an electric fence around the hive. However there was not!) I strapped the hive with a small come along and was told the fence would be in place by the weekend. Well bears being what they are, she came back for seconds, understandably so, this time she ripped into the top deep. I drove over this morning early, picked up what was left of my hive and brought them home. I do have a bear fence and it is in operation. End result is I have one 8 frame deep chock full of bees, I feel there is a 50/50 chance of still having a queen. I can open er up and see but I am thinking it is already to cold around here to spend that much time in a box. Question being how to keep them alive through the winter. I live at about 7500 feet in Colorado, typically lots of snow and cold, though not necessarily wet. My thoughts are to buy a queen excluder and place this one deep on top of a healthy hive with the excluder between them. Bees get to roam around, share the warmth, and food, and the queens stay in their respective places. Thoughts or ideas would be appreciated. Over all it has been a great experience, all is theory until put into practice. So yes sad too loose the bees and all but it as been all very interesting too.
    "Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever." year 3, 14 langs and 2 top bars
    www.4cornersbeekeepers.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Peace River, AB Canada
    Posts
    456

    Default Re: Wintering one deep? Surviving a bear attack!

    Winter it on its own or above a double with a solid divider like an inner cover. If the single is light you will need to add a candy board or dry sugar since it is likely too late for syrup feeding.
    I have wintered single deeps with 8 frames and an empty frame feeder and they have done fine but they need to be checked early, I try for mid March, to be certain they have enough feed. In this case of a lighter hive you would want to check earlier if possible.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    1,017

    Default Re: Wintering one deep? Surviving a bear attack!

    I would advise against using an excluder - in the winter the cluster travels upward and it will leave the queen below the cluster. Also, the queens can and will fight through an excluder. Use a solid inner board instead.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Durango, Colorado
    Posts
    161

    Default Re: Wintering one deep? Surviving a bear attack!

    Quote Originally Posted by hideawayranch View Post
    So, here is the story! I kept a brand new 8 frame hive at a friends house this summer. excellent, fertile area with plenty of food and water for the girls. We pulled about 4 gallons of honey so they did very well for themselves. Because the queen had laid brood in one of the supers I left it on. So the picture is two deeps and one super. Then on Oct. 3rd we had a bear attack, the bear just ripped off the top super, of course then destroyed it, but only knocked over the two deeps. The bees were pretty angry but we tipped it back up, put on some insulation to help them through the winter. (Yes, I know bear fence, but my understanding was that there was an electric fence around the hive. However there was not!) I strapped the hive with a small come along and was told the fence would be in place by the weekend. Well bears being what they are, she came back for seconds, understandably so, this time she ripped into the top deep. I drove over this morning early, picked up what was left of my hive and brought them home. I do have a bear fence and it is in operation. End result is I have one 8 frame deep chock full of bees, I feel there is a 50/50 chance of still having a queen. I can open er up and see but I am thinking it is already to cold around here to spend that much time in a box. Question being how to keep them alive through the winter. I live at about 7500 feet in Colorado, typically lots of snow and cold, though not necessarily wet. My thoughts are to buy a queen excluder and place this one deep on top of a healthy hive with the excluder between them. Bees get to roam around, share the warmth, and food, and the queens stay in their respective places. Thoughts or ideas would be appreciated. Over all it has been a great experience, all is theory until put into practice. So yes sad too loose the bees and all but it as been all very interesting too.
    Hey! You are in my neck of the woods! I just did a combination and had an extra queen, until yesterday.

    Anyway...the weather is still good enough to check the bees today or tomorrow. It gets too cold by mid-week.

    You should look for the queen - should be easy in the low number of bees you have now in that hive. If there is one, I would try to overwinter the nuc, but feed the heck out of them and reduce their entrance. If there is not a queen, I would combine them with the strong hive.

    Are you in our bee club? Are you comfortable looking through the hive for the queen on your own?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO United States
    Posts
    360

    Default Re: Wintering one deep? Surviving a bear attack!

    As merince described/suggested, 86 the excluder idea. I would put them on top of a larger hive, dividing them with a double screen bottom board. Entrance/exit facing the opposite way.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Bayfield, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    136

    Default Re: Wintering one deep? Surviving a bear attack!

    I looked for the queen on Monday, couldn't find her. But I just "felt" she was there based on how the hive was acting. So today was another nice warm day, I put the suit on and with determination trekked out to the bee yard with an empty box. I pulled the frames one by one and placed them in the empty box. I found her on frame 5 of an 9 frame box. I was so excited to see her. I guess based on this discovery I will over winter the hive as it is. 5 of the 8 frames are filled with honey with some honey on the others and some brood on both sides of the center frame. Thank you to all!
    "Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever." year 3, 14 langs and 2 top bars
    www.4cornersbeekeepers.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    1,017

    Default Re: Wintering one deep? Surviving a bear attack!

    It is great that you found her. Sounds like a single is the way to go. Good luck!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Bayfield, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    136

    Default Re: Wintering one deep? Surviving a bear attack!

    Quote Originally Posted by merince View Post
    It is great that you found her. Sounds like a single is the way to go. Good luck!
    Thank You,
    "Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever." year 3, 14 langs and 2 top bars
    www.4cornersbeekeepers.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Durango, Colorado
    Posts
    161

    Default Re: Wintering one deep? Surviving a bear attack!

    Quote Originally Posted by hideawayranch View Post
    Thank You,
    Good luck, Paula, and keep a close on eye on them. Feed, feed, feed!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Bayfield, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    136

    Default Re: Wintering one deep? Surviving a bear attack!

    Quote Originally Posted by SunnyR2000 View Post
    Good luck, Paula, and keep a close on eye on them. Feed, feed, feed!!
    I will! and thanks again.
    "Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever." year 3, 14 langs and 2 top bars
    www.4cornersbeekeepers.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Grand Junction, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    231

    Default Re: Wintering one deep? Surviving a bear attack!

    Paula, You can throw a super on top of them of honey if you have it this will be similar to a double deep. I'm vetting a land owner who wants bees on their property next year and bears are a concern. Call your local DOW agent they will provide a solar equipped electric fence kit for free if there has been bears in the area. I think you have to have a minimum number of hives (3) to be approved, but I could be wrong. My partner has one of the kits around the big bee yard.
    Jack Moore ~ Sticky Bear Apiary
    Zone 7a ~ Elev: 4840ft. ~ https://www.facebook.com/StickyBearApiary

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Bayfield, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    136

    Default Re: Wintering one deep? Surviving a bear attack!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sticky Bear View Post
    Paula, You can throw a super on top of them of honey if you have it this will be similar to a double deep. I'm vetting a land owner who wants bees on their property next year and bears are a concern. Call your local DOW agent they will provide a solar equipped electric fence kit for free if there has been bears in the area. I think you have to have a minimum number of hives (3) to be approved, but I could be wrong. My partner has one of the kits around the big bee yard.
    Thank you Jack, I will definitely look into that option. I have 6 hives, and want to add more next year in other out yards, but with bears such a concern around here....well.
    But if the DOW will help then it would be much easier to have more hives elsewhere.
    "Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever." year 3, 14 langs and 2 top bars
    www.4cornersbeekeepers.com

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