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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Winter clusters chimney up and starve out

    ccar2000:
    The posters above pretty much covered everything else. I recommended a follower board, so you can keep using your current equipment without ending up with a bunch of boxes that you cannot use throughout the whole year. In this way you can overwinter in a narrower box, expand it in spring, and be able to use all your boxes for harvest. Otherwise, you might end up with 5 frame "winter" boxes and 10 frame "summer" boxes.

  2. #22
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    Littlerock, California, USA
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    Default Re: Winter clusters chimney up and starve out

    Quote Originally Posted by wcubed View Post
    Interesting thread. A dozen or more responses and IMO all are correct. Must be some kind of record. If you are satisfied with letting colonies die from mite effects, and that's your choice, learn to live with it.

    Of the other responses, Mr. Palmer's suggestion of increasing young bee numbers (brood) in the early fall is likely your best bet. You should have two brood cycles of essentially a deep of brood in Sept. and Oct. in a double deep. Check it now and see what you have. The fact that they are working your dry protein supply vigorously now would add some credibility to that theme.

    Walt
    Yes Walt, it certainly has been an educational thread. Received a lot of excellent advice from some heavy hitters (beekeepers with a lot of experience) and I am grateful to have such a resource available. I hope that others with similar scenarios are able to distill this information down to something that works in their individual climate and management technique.
    With my work schedule I will not have an opportunity to do an inspection until Monday at the earliest. I have not done an inspection any deeper than lifting the lid, looking between frames and checking to see if they need another pollen patty in over a month. It has been robbing season here and breaking down a hive just gets them going. Sometimes it takes overnight for things to settle out. Thank goodness for robber screens! I have also had two usurpation swarm attempts on my strongest hive, once again, thanks for robber screens. Hopefully I can open the hives soon and it will be warm enough to do so.
    I failed to mention that I have been feeding pollen patties since the beginning of August. Seems to me that the while the pollen patties do help build brood I am more interested in seeing the results of the open feeding of the pollen substitute.
    When you say "of essentially a deep of brood" does that mean a 10 frame brood nest of all stages between the two boxes or am I misinterpreting?
    “Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not yet the end”

  3. #23
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    Jul 2012
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    Bertie County,NC
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    Default Re: Winter clusters chimney up and starve out

    Quote Originally Posted by merince View Post
    ccar2000:
    Otherwise, you might end up with 5 frame "winter" boxes and 10 frame "summer" boxes.
    The Fatbeeman actually uses some five frame boxes all year long. I actually have 4 hives that are all five frame equipment and they are fine. I am actually considering going to more with just five frame equipment because of the weight (bad back), the eight frame stuff I use still gets very heavy for me. They will get too tall if you let them, but when needed I put supers on top and if it starts to get too tall, just pull a couple of boxes and extract.

    Also I believe it is beneficial for everyone to have a certain amount of five frame boxes around for small swarms...splits...new hives...and weak hives. The availability of some five frame stuff makes it more convenient to meet almost any need you come up against in the bee yard.

  4. #24
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    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Winter clusters chimney up and starve out

    ccar,
    By essentially brood, I mean the typical max bood and stores. In my 9 frame brood nest that's typically 5 frames of brood and a frame of pollen and a frame of honey at the outside on both sides. There are all kinds of variation between colonies but the average falls in that range.

    In my area, by Aug, most colonies have settled on one deep or the other to rear fall bees. Normally, the bottom deep, but not always.

    Walt

  5. #25
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    Aug 2009
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    Littlerock, California, USA
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    940

    Default Re: Winter clusters chimney up and starve out

    Quote Originally Posted by NewJoe View Post
    The Fatbeeman actually uses some five frame boxes all year long. I actually have 4 hives that are all five frame equipment and they are fine. I am actually considering going to more with just five frame equipment because of the weight (bad back), the eight frame stuff I use still gets very heavy for me. They will get too tall if you let them, but when needed I put supers on top and if it starts to get too tall, just pull a couple of boxes and extract.

    Also I believe it is beneficial for everyone to have a certain amount of five frame boxes around for small swarms...splits...new hives...and weak hives. The availability of some five frame stuff makes it more convenient to meet almost any need you come up against in the bee yard.
    Sounds good to me. I like the idea of harvesting five frames here and there. That would work out really well since I process my honey by crush 'n strain. You don't have to harvest full supers. I suppose you could put those five frame supers away in a safe place and put them on for winter stores if they were needed too. I do have a few USDA type of nuc boxes (with the reduced entrance and bottoms attached) just for the tasks that you mention. I was thinking of employing them for the summer splits and then hive them once the queen got going laying brood, would that be a bad time to move them from a nuc to a full hive? Sometime between late summer and mid fall.


    Quote Originally Posted by wcubed View Post
    ccar,
    By essentially brood, I mean the typical max bood and stores. In my 9 frame brood nest that's typically 5 frames of brood and a frame of pollen and a frame of honey at the outside on both sides. There are all kinds of variation between colonies but the average falls in that range.

    In my area, by Aug, most colonies have settled on one deep or the other to rear fall bees. Normally, the bottom deep, but not always.

    Walt
    I think I got got it! so in my case, September to October I should have 6-7 frames of brood from two laying cycles (capped and uncapped) in my 11-frame hive body wether or not they are single or double deeps with pollen and honey stores in the outermost frames. These will be my winter bees. Ideally they should be in the lower box with honey above as well, right?
    “Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not yet the end”

  6. #26
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    Sep 2011
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    Reno, NV
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    Default Re: Winter clusters chimney up and starve out

    The mention above about small size boxes. I wanted to point out one thing about making them. I make 5 frame nucs. But in doing so I also realize they cost almost as much as a full size hive. the bottom board and outer cover are only half the plywood. but the savings on the box itself is only the wood for one end. Just keep that in mind if you decide to use them. they are basically a very expensive alternative. They take exactly the same amount of time to make. and they save only roughly 1/4 the material. Follower boards start sounding pretty good if you think about that for very long.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  7. #27
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    Aug 2008
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    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Winter clusters chimney up and starve out

    If all the space they have to work with is a single deep, the brood will have less volume and the stores more volume. The colony makes an effort to balance the population to stores ratio. Anything else would be suicidal.
    Walt

  8. #28
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    Aug 2009
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    Littlerock, California, USA
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    Default Re: Winter clusters chimney up and starve out

    Much thanks to you all. This thread has helped me with several updates/modifications to my broodnest management plan for winter 2013 and going forward.
    “Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not yet the end”

  9. #29
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    Jul 2011
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    McClure, OH
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    Default Re: Winter clusters chimney up and starve out

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    The mention above about small size boxes. I wanted to point out one thing about making them. I make 5 frame nucs. But in doing so I also realize they cost almost as much as a full size hive. the bottom board and outer cover are only half the plywood. but the savings on the box itself is only the wood for one end. Just keep that in mind if you decide to use them. they are basically a very expensive alternative. They take exactly the same amount of time to make. and they save only roughly 1/4 the material. Follower boards start sounding pretty good if you think about that for very long.
    My point exactly! The cost and the time involved are about the same per box, but you need double the boxes. Also, those nucs get really tall in a hurry.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Bertie County,NC
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    870

    Default Re: Winter clusters chimney up and starve out

    Wouldn't it be kinda tricky to get follower boards fitted properly to be able to stack boxes more than one high? The purpose for the 5 frame boxes is not to save materials, but provide a way to give the bees a narrower and taller box so they could chimney up and use all the available stores as they move up and still stay in the cluster and not starve out.

  11. #31
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    Default Re: Winter clusters chimney up and starve out

    Quote Originally Posted by NewJoe View Post
    Wouldn't it be kinda tricky to get follower boards fitted properly to be able to stack boxes more than one high? The purpose for the 5 frame boxes is not to save materials, but provide a way to give the bees a narrower and taller box so they could chimney up and use all the available stores as they move up and still stay in the cluster and not starve out.
    Not really. Stack the boxes one on top of the other. Push the follower board against the frames. If your boxes and frame numbers are the same (standard) they will line up. If you really want to be OCD about alignment, you could use a straight board to line them up.

  12. #32
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    Bertie County,NC
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    Default Re: Winter clusters chimney up and starve out

    Do the follower boards actually extend all the way so there is no gap between the follower boards as you move up? Would they actually meet from the top of one box to the bottom of the next? If so...I guess the follower boards would work just about as well as the five frame boxes...but then it still brings up another worry in my mind...SHB...wouldn't the follower boards give the SHB a crack to run and hide in? I am asking because I have not used follower boards before, and I really do not know how well they fit inside of the box.

  13. #33
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    Default Re: Winter clusters chimney up and starve out

    Quote Originally Posted by NewJoe View Post
    Do the follower boards actually extend all the way so there is no gap between the follower boards as you move up? Would they actually meet from the top of one box to the bottom of the next? If so...I guess the follower boards would work just about as well as the five frame boxes...but then it still brings up another worry in my mind...SHB...wouldn't the follower boards give the SHB a crack to run and hide in? I am asking because I have not used follower boards before, and I really do not know how well they fit inside of the box.
    Yes, they should fit flush top to bottom and side to side and they do have "ears" like the frames, but the ears are thicker to make them flush with the top of the box. Think of them as moveable box wall. I don't know about SHB, because by the time they show up in my region, the bees occupy the whole box.

  14. #34
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    Jul 2013
    Location
    Romania, Sibiu
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    Default Re: Winter clusters chimney up and starve out

    Hi,

    I have a nuc in a single deep started in June. I tried to move them in a 5 over 5 box but it was too late to do that. They arranged themselves for the single. I realized only after seing the cluster formed inside the second box and still having frames of honey bellow them. So I moved them back, reduced them to 7 frames and added another box with 7 undrawn frames bellow(I don't have other)... just for ladder. I also added same kind of follower board - simple cardboard to keep them warm.
    So if we were to use the space vertically probably we should do this right from the starting point of the nucleus: have the brood,pollen, honey frames in the first box and after a while adding the second box above it. Splitting a 10 frame box in half vertically could also lead to hosting 2 families in the same hive.
    I'm not very sure about the whole procedure, how is best, as I have almost no experience.

    Cristian
    Last edited by cristianNiculae; 10-14-2013 at 11:17 AM.

  15. #35
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    Default Re: Winter clusters chimney up and starve out

    Quote Originally Posted by cristianNiculae View Post
    Hi,

    I have a nuc in a single deep started in June. I tried to move them in a 5 over 5 box but it was too late to do that. They arranged themselves for the single. I realized only after seing the cluster formed inside the second box and still having frames of honey bellow them. So I moved them back, reduced them to 7 frames and added another box with 7 undrawn frames bellow(I don't have other)... just for ladder. I also added same kind of follower board - simple cardboard to keep them warm.
    So if we were to use the space vertically probably we should do this right from the starting point of the nucleus: have the brood,pollen, honey frames in the first box and after a while adding the second box above it. Splitting a 10 frame box in half vertically could also lead to hosting 2 families in the same hive.
    I'm not very sure about the whole procedure, how is best, as I have almost no experience.

    Cristian
    Hi Cristian:

    Cardboard might work in the winter, but the bees tend to chew it, so it is not going to be useful long term or when dividing 2 colonies. You really need some kind of wood or masonite divider that is bee tight. In my experience, 2 colonies in the same box work, but again, the divider must be tight or they merge and the queens duke it out.

    I tried it last year and this year switched to separate nuc boxes that I have side by side and they share the same telescoping cover. I prefer this setup, because it is easier to move indivdual colonies as needed. In the previous setup, I had to grab the frames and make sure the queen did not get left behind. In this one, I grab the whole box with the bottom board and inner board. This also allows me to sort the colonies so that colonies of similar strength are neighbors. Separate nuc boxes or a deep with a follower board (just one side occupied) just work better for my management style.

  16. #36
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    Romania, Sibiu
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    Default Re: Winter clusters chimney up and starve out

    Quote Originally Posted by merince View Post
    Hi Cristian:

    Cardboard might work in the winter, but the bees tend to chew it, so it is not going to be useful long term or when dividing 2 colonies. You really need some kind of wood or masonite divider that is bee tight. In my experience, 2 colonies in the same box work, but again, the divider must be tight or they merge and the queens duke it out.

    I tried it last year and this year switched to separate nuc boxes that I have side by side and they share the same telescoping cover. I prefer this setup, because it is easier to move indivdual colonies as needed. In the previous setup, I had to grab the frames and make sure the queen did not get left behind. In this one, I grab the whole box with the bottom board and inner board. This also allows me to sort the colonies so that colonies of similar strength are neighbors. Separate nuc boxes or a deep with a follower board (just one side occupied) just work better for my management style.
    Yes cardboard - cheap solution only for winter not for separating colonies and regular boxes with follower board instead of nuc boxes so we don't waste the wood. I think this is best for the "lazy beekeeper"

    How do you guys provide the second brood box for the nucleus started in a single deep? Do you add it on top or bottom? Do you add all frames at once? What's the most common practice?

    In our country where using only a dadant deep box(not me) beekeepers forms the nucleus on let's say 4 frames and follower board, then as the nucleus expands they keep adding foundation behind the last of the built frames. From what I've noticed this summer: giving too much frames at once will lead to incomplete frames instead of full frames of honey to overwinter with.

    Cristian

  17. #37
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    Default Re: Winter clusters chimney up and starve out

    Cristian:

    I've noticed that in my location, the early spring manipulations on singles and nucs need to be performed about 1 to 2 weeks later than those on the double deep colonies. For the nucs, I put them in singles with a follower board and then add frames on either sides until they have the box full, then super as needed. It does slow them down if they get a bunch of space early in the spring.

  18. #38
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    Default Re: Winter clusters chimney up and starve out

    I've noticed that if the colony is expanding I can get away with doubling the space they have. So a 5 frame nuc can be placed in a 10 frame box for example. as long as they continue to expand once that first box is full I then add a second one. again double the space they have. But I have noticed this can be a bit dicey. do it at the wrong time and the bees will avoid the empty space entirely.

    In a typical or I should say textbook 5 frame nuc you have 3 frames of brood nest in the center of the box. with two frames of honey toward the outside on each side. When I move these frames to a 10 frame the brood nest is placed in the center of the new box. a frame of drawn comb or foundation is put at the outside edge of the nest and the frames of honey are placed next to those. This as far as i can tell expanded the hive space to 7 frames as far as the bees are concerned. I am not sure the bees are paying attention to where the wall of the box is as much as they are paying attention to where that frame of honey is. As long as it is only one or two frames at a time they will take to them readily and expand the brood nest onto those two new frames. I have repeatedly sen them draw and fill two fraems in three days. I then move those two outside honey frames another frame toward the outside. in another few days the colony is 9 frames. I then move the final frame at one side in leaving a full frame of honey at each side of the new ten frame box. It is also at this time I add another box on top of them. Another way I determine when to add the next box is when the first is 80% full. For me they can have comb drawn on all 10 frames and still not be 80% full. full comb also has to do with it's depth and how much they have stored in it.

    I did this last spring with two 5 frame double deep nucs and had both of them to two deeps and two medium supers filled in less than 30 days. Both produced about 50 lbs of harvested honey.

    I now have 11 nucs going into this winter and will do it again next spring. I will see if my method holds up.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  19. #39
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    Jul 2013
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    Romania, Sibiu
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    Default Re: Winter clusters chimney up and starve out

    This year I've added the second brood box bellow - undersupering. I don't think it's a good idea for my location, not the fact that I've undersupperd but providing all frames at once in the new deep chamber. All this resulted in some untouched frames and partially filled frames. I don't have a spectacular flow except for the one in Spring on black locust and apples.
    I'm thinking of adding frames gradually(also for the honey supper) for the next year. I want to use deeps all the way, one single frame type. I know it's more work but for 2 hives that I have it's my pleasure.

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    Victoria, Australia
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    660

    Default Re: Winter clusters chimney up and starve out

    I call it "Opening the Sides" of the brood nest: Placing an new empty frame in-between the edge of the brood nest and honey frames (or the edge of the box). You can do both sides at once.

    See: http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ning-the-sides

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