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Success with Heated Hives over Winter

Here’s a mild story of success with heated hives

by: Matthew Westall

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Last summer I went to the trouble of removing feral bees all the way through September starting them on pieces of their own brood & comb. Of course, late in the season, their chances for survival aren’t much better than Clinton to keep office.

On the theory that wide swings in weather are a primary cause for bees to engorge on honey & energy I constructed a frame for nucs to sit part way out an upstairs window.

From this, I had four nucs staggered one on-top the other with removable ‘feeder’ holes screened-in atop at the rear which I fed sugar-syrup from late-November on. The feeding started with pouring honey by the spoonful and moved to 1 gal top-feeders.

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I only found time to fill three of the four nucs but all three started with less than 2 filled frames and survived with 3 – 5 frames at the end of March.

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This room sits away from the heated majority of the house and is unused except for storage, leaving both the door and the heat risers closed. The general room temperature is probably 30-50 degrees F throughout the winter. With the entrance to the nucs closed down to 1/2 inch on the entrance and duct-taped to seal outside winds, I’m estimating the bees were able to survive by reducing the temperature to more of a constant cluster-forming climate.

Happy Keeping,

Matthew Westall

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