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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rödön, Östersund, Sweden
    Posts
    30

    Default How to winter hives with honey in colder climates?

    Hi.

    I would like some help to figure out how to best and easiest winter my bees on honey.

    I'm located in the middle of Sweden (Östersund) where we have six month winter with temperatures of -5 to -40 celcius.
    The bees I'm keeping are the black local ones (apis Melifera Melifera) and they are overwintering in one box (with an empty box with empty frames underneath).
    I usually leave all the honey in the broodnest and feed about 12kg of sugar as a 2:1 syrup.


    Been thinking of some different aproaches.

    1. Take the supers off before the last flow of the year and let them backfill the broodnest (overwintering box).
    - Will they bee able to produce enough winterbees if they backfill the broodnest?
    - And will i bee able to figure out when to take the supers of at the right time?
    - This sounds difficult.

    2. Leave a box of honey on top of the broodnest.
    - This would bee easy, but will it work in a cold climate?
    - As we have very cold winters here and the bees are clustered up to 6month, will the bees bee able to go up to the box of honey?

    3. Save some frames of honey av put them in the broodbox late in the fall.
    - Guess I have to do this quite late in the season when the winter bees hatched out of the comb, and it could bee to coold to open up the hive.

    4. Harvest the honey and feed it back to them as syrup.
    - To much work. The hovey is allready in the frames. It must bee a better way..


    So what's your thoughts and experience about feeding honey in a cold climate?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,439

    Default Re: How to winter hives with honey in colder climates?

    I do 1 and 2. Granted, we get only 4 to 5 months of winter cold. Super come off before fall flow so they can backfill. I like to keep a super of capped comb on hand and this year, due to our extended cold, I put it on top late winter and the bees moved right up into it.
    Regards, Barry

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,136

    Default Re: How to winter hives with honey in colder climates?

    I just leave the honey. The only feeding I do is if they are actually short come fall, which sometimes happens, but then I usually give the light hive honey from other hives, and pollen if there is no fall flow, so I will have young bees going into winter.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rödön, Östersund, Sweden
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: How to winter hives with honey in colder climates?

    Found this on a Swedish forum from one with the same climate as me.

    -
    When harvesting honey/wintering the bees I collect 8 frames with plenty of honey in them.
    Then I put these frames in a 10 frame box together with 2 frames of brood.
    This have worked for several years.
    -

    This sounds like a good way as you will be harvesting and wintering at the same time. Then the bees can keep filling with what flow that's left.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    459

    Default Re: How to winter hives with honey in colder climates?

    Fall feeding is generally necessary to overwinter a single here as well, even with doing 1. With a double brood chamber, 1 usually works as long as there is a fall flow. I would think that 2 would be a good substitute for fall feeding. I always find my bees in the top box next to the cover in winter.
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Monroe County, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    171

    Default Re: How to winter hives with honey in colder climates?

    I go with 1 and 2. We are coming out of a harsher than normal winter this year. I just supplement feed if necessary.

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