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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
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    627

    Default Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools - Challenge 2013/2014

    Last year they had an overwintering challenge on the bee forum and while it was far from scientific it was interesting to find out how people came out of winter. Is anyone else up for this? Challenge win just brings bragging rights and happiness with your successfully overwintered bees.

    It seems to me that most posters on this forum are new or relatively new to beekeeping (with some very experienced exceptions) and I have been wondering what is behind that. Do they stop following the forum after they learn what they need, do they lose bees and move on to a different hive, do they get discouraged and quit beekeeping, etc...

    I think the challenge should start November 1st and go through April 1st (Fools Day!) and have a list of items that we report on when we start and finish. If there is interest in this I will come up with a list that you can help me tweak and we will be off!
    Last edited by Colleen O.; 10-11-2013 at 12:16 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Madisonville,TN
    Posts
    203

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools Challenge 2013/2014

    Count me in! The obvious one would be something like: how many horizontal hives do you have going into winter? How many made it through? Something like that maybe? Other suggestions? Good idea Colleen!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
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    627

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools Challenge 2013/2014

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt903 View Post
    Count me in! The obvious one would be something like: how many horizontal hives do you have going into winter? How many made it through? Something like that maybe? Other suggestions? Good idea Colleen!
    Cool! Yes. Hive Type & Size (long Lang, KTBH, HTBH, hybrid) , Total Colonies, how many are nucs, fed and what, test for mites, treat or not (no debate - just if so and what. You be your own judge of what treating is or go by the description the TF Forum has), etc...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
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    627

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools - Challenge 2013/2014

    Well, it doesn't look like there is much interest yet but I started a spreadsheet for us to use just in case we get more takers. You can find the spreadsheet here: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools - Challenge 2013/2014
    If you are interested in joining go ahead and put your information in the document. I should have it open to edit. If you have additional categories you think we should add let me know.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,389

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools - Challenge 2013/2014

    Perhaps have a column for regular langs as well. Also grouping by plant zone would be helpful.
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
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    627

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools - Challenge 2013/2014

    Thanks! I forgot to add plant zone and region! I put the columns in along with one for Conventional Langs and bee type.

    Edit:

    I picked 12 bars as the cutoff between nuc size and hive but I really don't know where the line should be so if anyone knows please correct me. My hives are currently sized after the Goldstar Hive (which is an adaptation of Phil Chandler's hive design) and with 10 to 11 bars filled in most of the colonies I still consider them nuc size. When I did a crop and chop from a Lang nuc one deep frame made almost two bars worth of comb so a 5 frame nuc would fill probably 9 of my bars. It probably depends on your hive volume but with these type hives that varies greatly from design to design.
    Last edited by Colleen O.; 10-11-2013 at 09:09 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    102

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools - Challenge 2013/2014

    Sounds like fun. Thank you for starting this Colleen. I have added my hive's details to the sheet.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Josephine County,Oregon,USA
    Posts
    141

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools - Challenge 2013/2014

    I did too, although my meager effort isn't part of a "challenge",just data! and I know I'll be truly blessed if my one hive makes it!!! I felt that I needed to treat and started too late. First the temps were too hot at 105 all the time and then I started too late and it got too cold so I only got 2 of 3 treatments in right. I think a "month of treatment" line might be good info too, as I found a study online once indicating it makes a difference whether a person does end of season treatment in July,August or September. Too late for this year but it actually said July was best because the bees recover from fumigation weakness and live longer over the winter than late treated bees do(despite any reoccurrence of some mites,they tolerate them better and more hives survived overall).......... Anyway,good idea, Colleen O! I'm looking forward to seeing everyones results next Spring!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Josephine County,Oregon,USA
    Posts
    141

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools - Challenge 2013/2014

    Oh....another column might be "winter insulation" or not............

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    627

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools - Challenge 2013/2014

    Quote Originally Posted by HappyBeeing View Post
    Oh....another column might be "winter insulation" or not............
    I wondered about that too. I added a column on winter prep which would cover insulating. I also added a Warre column, since we added conventional langstroth hives we may as well open it up to Warres too. TheGeneralsBees wanted a column on winter feeding, so I added that too. Thanks!!!

    I spent a lot of time today testing for mites so that I could have a baseline for survival and know what was likely a player if they didn't overwinter. The results were very educational/interesting. My main hive, the strongest with the most honey and bees, that I split everything from had a tremendous mite count (11%). It had been requeened but that was the only one of my colonies that basically didn't get any brood break and it had the highest count. I was a bit concerned because I didn't see the queen or any eggs in this one but I had been feeding it heavily and it looked like they were just out of space because they weren't drawing enough comb anymore. The oldest nuc, the only one that has a Minnesota Hygenic daughter queen, had the lowest mite count with just around or under 1%. One of the others was high too but the last two were pretty low.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
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    627

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools - Challenge 2013/2014

    Just an FYI, since I opened up the challenge to Langs and Warres I renamed the spreadsheet to Hive Overwintering Fools - Challenge 2013/2014

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Chicagoland, IL, USA
    Posts
    71

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools - Challenge 2013/2014

    I'm in!
    I'm curious to see how everyone fares for this upcoming winter season. It's been such a mild fall thus far and the bees have had a great fall flow here. I've still got snapdragons in the planters and had bees on them today (69 degrees!). I'm hesitant to pull out any plants yet - the bees are still active!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Missoula, Montana
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools - Challenge 2013/2014

    thanks colleen!

    i added my info.....fingers crossed for my girls to have a good winter.

    i really think they're a good strong hive already...very docile and chill around me, my two girls and my 3 dogs!!!!
    Zone4A
    “We can love completely what we cannot completely understand.” -Maclean

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    bucks county, pennsylvania, usa
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools - Challenge 2013/2014

    i'm in and hope the girls make it with the new beek.
    dave

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Montgomery Twp, PA
    Posts
    160

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools - Challenge 2013/2014

    Great Idea! I'm in.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO United States
    Posts
    403

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools Challenge 2013/2014

    I want to play! Good luck to all! I just hope I can get another yearly lost to better or match my last. Happy Wintering,,,

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
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    627

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools Challenge 2013/2014

    I took a quick look in the viewing window of my cedar hive that I have split into three nucs. I saw all three clusters, bees moving around staying warm. They are all on the side away from the window so I think I should put some insulation against it. I will miss being able to check them but I want them to have access to all their stores.

    Anyone else have an update? Hope they are doing well!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Montgomery Twp, PA
    Posts
    160

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools Challenge 2013/2014

    My bees seem to be doing great! Although the cluster has split and I believe they are queenless, they are ALIVE! They have tons of stores left too. I closed off 2 of the 3 3/4" openings, so there is one top entrance with a mouse guard on. I never ended up putting unsulation under the cover. Temperatures have been low for quite some time and we've had lots of snow in SE Pennsylvania. Fingers crossed they make it through the winter.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
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    627

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools Challenge 2013/2014

    I did put some wool over the bars on four of the five nucs for insulation. The cedar hive got the wool, the one with the biggest cluster but highest mite count didn't get anything.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Chicagoland, IL, USA
    Posts
    71

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools Challenge 2013/2014

    Before our deep freeze (-8 at night) last week, I put that silver insulation around the hive body. So I've blocked off any 'peeking' into the hive...but if it helps keep the bees warmer, it's worth it.

    Lots and lots of dead bees on the snow - seems like they're busy clearing out the hive. I've closed off all but one entrance - and that one is now 'plugged' with dead bee bodies. It's warmer today (35 and sunny), so I'll open up another hole, just so the bees can get out if they need to. Not sure if the girls blocked the freezing cold wind with dead sisters to stop the draft, or if they're trying to clean out the hive. Anyone have a clue?

    Always a trick trying to figure out what the bees are up to! They make me think long and hard about what I'm doing and why.....

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