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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Washington County, MD, USA
    Posts
    8

    Default Wintering question

    Hi everyone! I am new to beekeeping and this will be our first winter. We got a later start with our nucs, not getting them until July, although they were pretty strong. Total I have 4 hives, 2 are on my property and 2 are on a friends. We did not take any honey this year. I started off with one deep, when they had filled those frames I added an medium on each hive at my place and a deep on each hive at my friends (he already had the boxes). Everything seemed to be doing well but I admit, I had a pretty good stretch between going on vacation and being busy with the rest of the farm I didn't really get into the hives to check on them. So in September I checked on them and noticed not much of anything in the top boxes and small hive beetles. I was pretty surprised since we didn't take any honey from them, I thought those top boxes would be bursting! Got traps for the SHB which seem to have helped and have been feeding lots of syrup which they have been taking. One hive has now filled most of the frames in their top box but a couple of them don't have much of anything up there. I am still feeding them syrup (from what I understand it is safe to do until day time temps don't get above 50?) and hope they get some more stores before winter but if not, should I remove the top boxes on those hives or leave it? Can they winter in just one deep?? I really am hoping not to loose any so want to do the best thing for them! Thanks for any advice!! Also, I did/am treating for mites just as a precaution (used the apistan strips) and medicated their syrup with fumagilin b. I typically am not one to medicate unless necessary but really wanted to take all precautions this first year!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    1,017

    Default Re: Wintering question

    SHB in the supers usually means that the hive is not strong enough to cover them. I would have removed the empty supers, fed and tried to overwinter them in a single (less feed and quicker prep in this way). However, since they've filled them up, I would leave them on. A couple of empty frames are OK, as long as they are towards the outside of the box.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Posts
    363

    Default Re: Wintering question

    If there isn't anything in the top box remove. One deep, if full of honey, would be enough to get through most of winter down here but you are a little colder up there. Look up candy boards or mountain camp methods on the search link here--I'd do this and be sure they don't run out of sugar and you should be fine. Looks like you won't be able to feed2:1 much longer.

    Around here things really dry up in Jul/ Aug and the italians will eat everything if not fed. Started my first carni hive this year and they didn't touch a thing during the dearth and actually managed to collect a little more while the italians ate all the spring honey. Might want to consider for the future. Planning on splitting these for the farm in PA.

    Good luck.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,816

    Default Re: Wintering question

    Apistan is regarded as ineffective in much of the country due to mite resistance. Where these are first year hives you may be ok, but doing a mite count is the only way to be sure. See scientificbeekeeping.com for detailed directions on how to do mite counts. If you are looking at commercial mite remedies you should know that Checkmite is also regarded as ineffective due to mite resistance. Welcome to BeeSource.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Washington County, MD, USA
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Wintering question

    Ok, when I check on them again I will remove any top boxes that are empty or close to it. I have been researching candy boards and do plan to use them to help get everyone through the winter. I think what may have happened was I didn't start feeding soon enough and they did eat through a good bit of their reserves. I swear when I had checked in summer they were starting to fill the top boxes so I was quite surprised to see them pretty much cleaned out in September. I am pretty sure our nucs were Italians with a Carnolian queen. I didn't get off to the greatest start as the person we were getting our bees from was having problems getting them, kept saying next week, then the following and so on. I had pretty much decided we would wait until next year until out of the blue we heard he had them. It was right when we were super busy with things as well as doing some traveling. Anyway, I am hoping to be better on top of things next year and will have all winter to read up more and hopefully prepare! What is a good effective mite remedy? I got the Apistan as it seemed fairly simple and I was kind of behind doing anything. I have not done a mite count but have read about it and plan to.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    1,017

    Default Re: Wintering question

    The scientificbeekeeping website has a pretty comprehensive section on varroa management. He also has a section comparing the effectiveness of treatments.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Posts
    363

    Default Re: Wintering question

    Quote Originally Posted by Sunny Daze View Post
    I am pretty sure our nucs were Italians with a Carnolian queen.
    Did you see the queens? If they have an orange abdomen they are Italian, if brownish-black to black then they are Carnis. This spring was late and the weather delayed a lot of bee deliveries this year. I remember being surprised at how much they ate by Sep too my first year. My carnis were from a package of Italians w/ a carni queen. Shipping cost more than the bees but they were the only folks to ship when I wanted and I ordered late. Package was from Noble apiaries and was the best package I ever received both in terms of size and quality of the genetics. Installed them on one 8 frame med w/ drawn comb in April and they drew out two deeps and two mediums over the summer and supplied me w/ ~60lbs of honey on top of the 60-80lbs I left them.

    If you can swing the shipping I highly recommend them. Winter time is the time to read, read, read. Also, get the supers on next year right when the cherries are blooming and you should have a good year.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Washington County, MD, USA
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Wintering question

    Wow JCLARK, that's amazing yours did so well from a package. I will keep Noble apiaries in mind. I was not happy at all with who we dealt with. He is very nice but very disorganized and almost impossible to get ahold of. Had I known I would have gone elsewhere. 2 nucs we got beginning of July and the other two were towards the end of July so very late.

    No, I have not seen the queens yet. When I check frames I typically stop when I see evidence of a queen (eggs, brood, etc). I wish they would have been marked for my first ones but they aren't. Some of the bees are darker (brownish-black) and some a lighter yellower color. They definitely don't all look the same.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Manning, SC
    Posts
    2,084

    Default Re: Wintering question

    Quote Originally Posted by Sunny Daze View Post
    What is a good effective mite remedy?
    While I hate to "toot my own horn" vaporizing with oxalic acid is an excellent and cheap way to keep mites under control. You have a one time cost for the vaporizer and thereafter treatments are just pennies per hive.

    See my ad in the "For Sale" forum here on BS.

    Good luck!
    http://OxaVap.com
    Your source for Oxalic Acid Vaporizers

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Posts
    363

    Default Re: Wintering question

    Sucks you got the nucs in July. Here the spring flows are huge. Starting w/ the cherries and apples, then locusts (sometimes) and tulip poplars and berries. However, by July things are really tapering off. Not sure it will be the same up there but that is how it is here in Suburbialand. Would imagine that you might have more clover and alfalfa (unless cut for hay) plus "weed" annuals than I have here.

    Sounds like maybe you have a carni queen that mated w/ italian drones or she could be a hybrid herself.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,321

    Default Re: Wintering question

    You should add a protein paddy and get those hive beetles really tanked up. Maybe a cup and a half of more ineffective chemicals to offset what ever else is thriving.

    How many frames of bees do you have in each hive vs. how much honey (not sugar crap) did they collect. If you have 10 frames of bees the most you will need is 10 frames of honey. Most likely less.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    SNOW SHOE PA USA
    Posts
    1,223

    Default Re: Wintering question

    I'd feed 2.1 till they won't take it any more and then get them ready for winter . As far treating did you really have to treat being your first year you should of been ok with the VARRO but I know nothing about SHB I never seen one in my bee yards.
    GOOD LUCK.
    Say hello to the bad guy!
    year five==== 31 hives==== T{OAV}

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,994

    Default Re: Wintering question

    Sunny Daze, keep in mind that not all advice is offered on a serious basis. Click on the member's name to read some of their other posts and form your own opinion as to the quality of the advice offered.

    Protein (pollen) patties that are not consumed immediately are notorious for harboring small hive beetles.
    ultracrepidarian >> noting or pertaining to a person who criticizes, judges, or gives advice outside of his expertise

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    SNOW SHOE PA USA
    Posts
    1,223

    Default Re: Wintering question

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    Sunny Daze, keep in mind that not all advice is offered on a serious basis. Click on the member's name to read some of their other posts and form your own opinion as to the quality of the advice offered.

    Protein (pollen) patties that are not consumed immediately are notorious for harboring small hive beetles.
    that's what I tough .
    Why a answer like that ACE? You are a strange one.
    Say hello to the bad guy!
    year five==== 31 hives==== T{OAV}

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,321

    Default Re: Wintering question

    Quote Originally Posted by GLOCK View Post
    Why a answer like that ACE?
    What difference does it make if the top box is full if there are only 3 frames of bees in the bottom box? You people are giving advice on what I consider lack of information.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,994

    Default Re: Wintering question

    > You people are giving advice on what I consider lack of information.

    Yeah, Ace probably needs to know the original poster's zip code so he can look up the average real estate property value on Zillow.com. That way he will be able to offer proper beekeeping advice. Think I'm joking here? Check out post #11 in this thread:

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ombining-hives




    .
    Last edited by Rader Sidetrack; 10-23-2013 at 08:00 PM. Reason: typo
    ultracrepidarian >> noting or pertaining to a person who criticizes, judges, or gives advice outside of his expertise

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
    Posts
    3,167

    Big Grin Re: Wintering question

    wrong thread
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Washington County, MD, USA
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Wintering question

    Hmm, some interesting comments....I just used the traps with oil for the SHB. They weren't terrible...I would just see a few here and there when I would remove the cover. I treated for mites and did the fumigilin b following the recommended schedule from a local apiary that also is very involved with the class i took. Next year I certainly plan to do more monitoring and use less chemicals as that is not typically how we like to do things but I was trying to be safe rather than sorry being our first year plus getting such a late start. My hives are 10 frame and each hive has the bottom deep that is pretty loaded with bees. It has been cold but I think will be warm enough today or tomorrow to get a good look again and see how their stores look.

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