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yukonjeff
08-15-2019, 01:11 AM
I hear about beekeepers in Alaska that throw their bees to the wind every fall. I hope this can encourage more to overwinter. Its not that hard. And yes your bees can survive Alaska cold just fine. I didn't even need to feed mine this spring,and they could of made it through the summer without me. All I did was rob honey and treat.

I am in Western Alaska 70 miles inland from the Bering Sea on the Yukon River.
This wintering set up has worked successfully for me in this location. I think it would work anywhere in Alaska, or northern climate.

I start by having all of my equipment painted flat black. (I keep it black in summer as well).

I winter in three deeps.( But two would work IMO) The one on the bottom is just mostly half drawn frames , pollen stores, or even empties. Next is the brood nest,. Then a deep of sugar syrup, fed early enough to get capped if possible. (not honey,too many solids for long winters) I also feed a pollen patty in August, to fatten the winter bees.

https://i.imgur.com/I2Zyt3G.jpg

Then a three inch shim for space for sugar bricks.

https://i.imgur.com/5lQIQ5f.jpg

Above that, a notched inner cover/upper entrance, with a screened 3" feed jar hole, (Important for ventilation.)

https://i.imgur.com/wKLsWgl.jpg

Then a empty medium stuffed with dry grass /straw.

https://i.imgur.com/WtKHo3T.jpg

I also put a foam 1/2" foam board inside the lid.
And wrap with colony quilts, but leave the lower box exposed, make sure the super is wrapped.

On a warm spring day in March/April you can put on a jar of warm syrup for the afternoon, but remove before sunset. This will encourage a cleansing flight if you pick the right day.

https://i.imgur.com/qU1S6dz.jpg

I also sprinkle ashes from my woodstove around my hives to melt the snow in early spring, It helps them orientate in the bright winter sun and snow reflection. stops the death spiral some.

https://i.imgur.com/Newq9yL.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/7wJOzrM.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/7ZZUQBZ.jpg

Also.

YOU MUST TREAT YOUR BEES or its all for nothing. I have used MAQS and OA
Good luck

GregV
08-15-2019, 08:41 AM
.. Then a deep of sugar syrup, fed early enough to get capped if possible. (not honey,too many solids for long winters)
.............
YOU MUST TREAT YOUR BEES or its all for nothing. I have used MAQS and OA
Good luck

Thanks for the good review (I have seen your notes already, but this is a good condensation of it).

Especially I like how you confirm the benefit of large empty space under the bees (largely empty super).
Clear demonstration of what the people argue about - sufficient under-frame buffer (or empty super) is good for wintering.

Speaking of sugar syrup for the winter..
If possible for the bees to have light types of honey (fire weed, clovers) - those are good for wintering and work fine.
For example, frames of early light honey can be taken off and saved for the bees (to be returned for the wintering).
It is the dark kinds of honey that better taken off due to solids.
If not possible to separate the honey types, might as well do the sugar than.

Treating of course a different subject.

yukonjeff
08-15-2019, 11:20 AM
Thanks Greg. I hope it helps someone save a hive. When I was starting out (not that long ago) I checked in here for wintering advice and there was none.
As far as the empty deep under, It is a big open space, but the face of that box will attract solar heat and chimney it up to the rest of the hive. Being black helps a lot. Keeps the brood nest off the cold/wet ground/snow as well.

I imagine the light honey like fireweed would probably be fine for winter. The pollen in it might not be good if their is any. I will be extracting any honey I get, not feeding it to bees. :)

As far as treatment: Some think we don't have Varroa in Alaska. They comes in with the packages. And we need to treat. Right after the honey pull is a good time, and then OA again in November when broodless if you can.

I am on my third year of not getting packages shipped in . So I hope to be able to clean up my mites, and be mite free, since no other bees or beekeepers here.

grozzie2
08-15-2019, 05:58 PM
I imagine the light honey like fireweed would probably be fine for winter.


Our experience says otherwise. Leave a super of fireweed on in the fall and find a deadout in the spring has been my experience, so much so, wont leave any on anymore. Our winter is nothing like yours, we only get a couple weeks of snow typically, and we get a flight day every month, so I dont think it's to do with solids in the honey, our bees get lots of chances to get out for a flight thru the winter. But I do know our experience has been that any colonies where I have left a super of fireweed on to see if they winter better than on syrup, they died. I'm not going to do that again.

GregV
08-16-2019, 10:51 AM
Our experience says otherwise. Leave a super of fireweed on in the fall and find a deadout in the spring ..........

Interesting case.
Siberian beeks consider fire-weed as one of the best honeys for wintering.
Local issues, I can only guess.

yukonjeff
08-16-2019, 11:52 AM
Thanks for the heads up Grozzie2 I didn't know that. Although I never considered leaving a super of Fireweed honey for bees to eat when it sell for $20 a pint here in Alaska.

Vance G
08-17-2019, 10:36 AM
You have a sound plan. Not exactly as I do it, but if it works, it works.

yukonjeff
08-17-2019, 11:27 AM
Thanks Vance. I hope I didn't jinx it now and lose them all this winter, and delete this post in the spring. lol

I want to also mention that with the three deeps you need to get into the hive early in the spring, like the day they are doing their cleansing flight, and clean out the dead bees and pull the bottom empty deep, since they cant all get out to die, and alot fall down between the frames, and will mold in the hive.

Also( I keep my entrance reducer on the large opening and turned down with the wood up, so the water can run out of the hive when the ice on the walls melts.

yukonjeff
10-30-2019, 01:16 AM
My three hives and a nuc going into winter 2019-2020 They were treated with two rounds of OAV got a mite drop of about 50 both times. Might do another round yet, the Alaska fall has been mild so far. I have sugar bricks on, and quilt boxes with a upper entrance.

https://i.imgur.com/4XwLPmL.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/aNTyaWL.jpg

I will report back in the spring what makes it, and what don't.

Juhani Lunden
11-04-2019, 09:30 PM
The use of upper entrances and consumption of food:
https://www.beeculture.com/winter-management/

"E.B. Wedmore calculated the amount of honey required to overwinter a measured population of bees in his influential 1947 book, The Ventilation of Bee-Hives. Wedmore converted the caloric content of honey to watts and then using wattage he calculated that the basic needs are about three lbs. per month between mid-October and mid-April. Therefore, if Wedmore is correct, and the primary Winter honey requirements of an average population of bees are in the range of ~21 lbs., it seems like our need to provision Winter stores at four times that amount, may indicate something about the burden on bees to generate additional heat beyond their basic needs. One obvious reason is the loss of heat by an abundance of added ventilation."

The figures of consumption are pretty much what I have measured, although I have always said that everything above 1,5 kg /winter month is a sign of troubles or too much ventilation.

Saltybee
11-05-2019, 05:24 AM
What is the insulation/black cover?

Hogback Honey
11-06-2019, 12:44 PM
yukonjeff,
very interesting, I knew it could be done somehow, glad you posted the photos and how you do it. Love to hear that someone up there is able, and willing to get their bees wintered. Interesting about the ashes, I'm gonna hafta do that, as a nice sunny bright winter day, I do end up with a scattering of bees on the snow.

yukonjeff
11-19-2019, 11:20 PM
The use of upper entrances and consumption of food:
https://www.beeculture.com/winter-management/

"E.B. Wedmore calculated the amount of honey required to overwinter a measured population of bees in his influential 1947 book, The Ventilation of Bee-Hives. Wedmore converted the caloric content of honey to watts and then using wattage he calculated that the basic needs are about three lbs. per month between mid-October and mid-April. Therefore, if Wedmore is correct, and the primary Winter honey requirements of an average population of bees are in the range of ~21 lbs., it seems like our need to provision Winter stores at four times that amount, may indicate something about the burden on bees to generate additional heat beyond their basic needs. One obvious reason is the loss of heat by an abundance of added ventilation."

The figures of consumption are pretty much what I have measured, although I have always said that everything above 1,5 kg /winter month is a sign of troubles or too much ventilation.

That could very well be true. But without a upper entrance, my bees would not get in their cleansing flight, because the bottom entrance is buried in the snow.

Saltybee the wraps are called Colony Quilts. I like them a lot. (Search online)

Thanks Hogback. I hope we can come up with a reliable system for us extreme northern beekeepers.

Juhani Lunden
11-19-2019, 11:31 PM
That could very well be true. But without a upper entrance, my bees would not get in their cleansing flight, because the bottom entrance is buried in the snow.



It is amazing how the bees which overwinter the best come out last in spring, they donīt have a hurry, and can pick up a good day. Sometimes I need to do snow shoveling, but usually sun melts just right before the actual NEED to come out, at latest late April. Many times snow is right up to the entrance (about 35 cm, + 1 ft, from ground).

I take the queen excluder away from the hive bottom, shut the rear entrance (has been open all winter) and turn the landing board open. Spring can start.

Saltybee
11-20-2019, 06:14 AM
Saltybee the wraps are called Colony Quilts. I like them a lot. (Search online)

https://www.bbhoneyfarms.com/store/p-486-colony-quilt-1--two-deep-colony

Reminds me of sound dampening found in dishwashers.

yukonjeff
11-20-2019, 11:26 AM
It is amazing how the bees which overwinter the best come out last in spring, they donīt have a hurry, and can pick up a good day. Sometimes I need to do snow shoveling, but usually sun melts just right before the actual NEED to come out, at latest late April. Many times snow is right up to the entrance (about 35 cm, + 1 ft, from ground).

I take the queen excluder away from the hive bottom, shut the rear entrance (has been open all winter) and turn the landing board open. Spring can start.

By April my bees have been in the box for six months, so my bees ARE in a hurry for a cleansing flight. If its working for you there don't change a thing.

This spring my big hives had about 5-6 frames of honey left in April ,so I guess it really don't matter if I give them a upper entrance, when it gets really cold it about frost shut anyway.

Salty bee. They probably are some kind of industrial insulation. They are made of materials that don't rot, so they look like brand new after a few years even. And easy to store.
I use push pins to attach them, so its easy to get in and out to put on sugar bricks without dealing with big foam boards.

Biermann
11-20-2019, 03:36 PM
Yukonjeff, thank you for the hint with the ashes, sometimes one is to ignorant to think about the simplest things.

This is how I winter my hives now in southern Alberta. Our problem is the Chinook warm wind, sometimes in Dec., Jan. or Feb. changing the temperature from -20or 30°C (-4 to -22°F) to +15 or +20°C (59 to 68°F) in hours. I have jar feeders under EPS blocks all winter and noticed that the hives that need feed take it, others don't.

The second from the right was leftover EPS, but it is not enough insulation, the 12" cube with a 4" hole works great.
52495

Robert Holcombe
11-20-2019, 05:55 PM
Hi Yukon Jeff, It amazes me at the similarities in our approaches yet I am in "southern Rhode Island, about 3-5 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean. My season is longer than yours and definitely warmer averages in the summer but some pretty good cold nights in winter.

To quote you "I winter in three deeps.( But two would work IMO) The one on the bottom is just mostly half drawn frames , pollen stores, or even empties. Next is the brood nest,. Then a deep of sugar syrup, fed early enough to get capped if possible. (not honey,too many solids for long winters) I also feed a pollen patty in August, to fatten the winter bees." After 5 years I have decided on a similar approach but using a medium + deep + medium apporach. I call the bottom medium grand central station in the summer and my moisture condenser in winter. The deep is the brood chamber year round which gets back-filled with syrup honey in the Fall. The upper medium is the honey chamber. I leave some honey frames in the Fall for Spring brood rearing and feed syrup quickly in the Fall to a specific total hive weight or about 80 lb. of total honey around mid-November. It "seems" they take the syrup honey first and save older capped honey until Spring for brood rearing. I do not feed in winter or spring as weighting the hives in the Fall is an accurate method of verifying sufficient stores until the Spring flow and then some.

I R10 insulate the hives on top all year and add R10 to the sides in winter and early Spring. I am making 5-sided boxes out of R10 EPS Foam boards. I hope to be able to simply slip the boxes on-off when I need to inspect in the early Spring ( April 1st). The 5-sided box, 24 inches deep, will leave the entrance and a few inches of hive exposed to weather to promote condensation and moisture diffusion. I have no top vent - year round. ( Some around here think I am crazy.) I do like quilt-like or insulating boxes especially for emergency feeding a nuc or a sick hive in Spring. I even use old tee-shirts as insulating-absorbing material around feeders and sensors I use. The warm syrup bottle is also employed here especially for a nuc or a hive in trouble (intensive care units?).

I would point out that "black surfaces radiate energy at night as well as absorb daytime sun energy. A healthy hive in my apiary maintains winter temperatures in the upper regions of the hive at 50-60 F even in -10F weather (occasional event here). Good insulating techniques promote early Spring brood rearing. When it starts in earnest you can see the numbers jump up. If the hive is sick temperature values drop - a warning!

Best of luck and thanks for posting your setup.

yukonjeff
11-20-2019, 10:43 PM
Thanks for the responses folks and always good to see other northern beekeepers wintering methods. Thanks for sharing.

Here is a better picture of the wraps I use. This particular one has been on hives outdoors for three winters

https://i.imgur.com/gYMmXGy.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/XxF9j7w.jpg

My Hives today 11-20-19

https://i.imgur.com/cLKM6My.jpg

My bottom entrances are buried, but look at the summer forager bees that are able to leave the hive to die. I guess I would have a hive full of my last seasons dead bees come spring. Might be a big moldy mess without a upper entrance here.

https://i.imgur.com/1TzGZ46.jpg

Juhani Lunden
11-21-2019, 12:22 AM
I donīt like that pallet type of low hive stand, I have them 35 cm high, on just two 2x4s and this prevents the snow staying so close to hive structures. Later if there is much snow it does obviously not do it anymore, but the cavity under the hive helps snow to collapse and make entrances clear in time before cleansing flights.

(Main reason to dislike pallets as hive stands is the fact that I cannot get close enough hive when working. Stuck my feet to the pallet, in my structure my feet fit under it.)

Saltybee
11-21-2019, 06:18 AM
Rabbit tracks? Hardly ever see those anymore.

Juhani Lunden
11-21-2019, 08:40 AM
Rabbit tracks? Hardly ever see those anymore.

???

Plenty of rabbits here.

yukonjeff
11-21-2019, 11:29 AM
I donīt like that pallet type of low hive stand, I have them 35 cm high, on just two 2x4s and this prevents the snow staying so close to hive structures. Later if there is much snow it does obviously not do it anymore, but the cavity under the hive helps snow to collapse and make entrances clear in time before cleansing flights.

(Main reason to dislike pallets as hive stands is the fact that I cannot get close enough hive when working. Stuck my feet to the pallet, in my structure my feet fit under it.)

Its very windy here, I have to ratchet strap my hives or they will blow away. Pallets work great for that. 2x4s not so much.

yukonjeff
11-21-2019, 11:31 AM
Rabbit tracks? Hardly ever see those anymore.

These are Arctic Hare tracks. They are huge white rabbit about the size of a fox. the Snowshoe hares are much smaller. Google them , they are pretty interesting.

Saltybee
11-21-2019, 02:03 PM
We have almost lost cottontails. Snowshoes are way down as well to my observation. Glad to hear good news for you.

Juhani Lunden
11-21-2019, 11:27 PM
Its very windy here, I have to ratchet strap my hives or they will blow away. Pallets work great for that. 2x4s not so much.

52567

Strapping possible here too, but usually I donīt strap with the hive stand, just the hive parts.

A Novice
11-22-2019, 03:23 PM
The use of upper entrances and consumption of food:
https://www.beeculture.com/winter-management/

"E.B. Wedmore calculated the amount of honey required to overwinter a measured population of bees in his influential 1947 book, The Ventilation of Bee-Hives. Wedmore converted the caloric content of honey to watts and then using wattage he calculated that the basic needs are about three lbs. per month between mid-October and mid-April. Therefore, if Wedmore is correct, and the primary Winter honey requirements of an average population of bees are in the range of ~21 lbs., it seems like our need to provision Winter stores at four times that amount, may indicate something about the burden on bees to generate additional heat beyond their basic needs. One obvious reason is the loss of heat by an abundance of added ventilation."

The figures of consumption are pretty much what I have measured, although I have always said that everything above 1,5 kg /winter month is a sign of troubles or too much ventilation.

I only measured consumption one winter, and what I saw was that (as you suggest) bees don't need much food to keep warm. In the second half of December and January, they used very little food, two or three pounds each. (for a sample of two hives) However during warmer weather, they consumed much more, probably because they were foraging, taking cleansing flights, and raising brood. The hives had dropped nearly 40 pounds between the end of October when I closed them up, and the middle of December when I started weighing them. I personally try to make sure they have plenty of food, because a little too much is pretty harmless, while a little to little is a dead-out. I don't claim to be a very good beekeeper, though.

A Novice
11-22-2019, 03:48 PM
...

I would point out that "black surfaces radiate energy at night as well as absorb daytime sun energy. ...

While it is true that black surfaces radiate heat at night, it is also true that white painted surfaces radiate heat at night just as efficiently.
The reason is that The emissivity of white surfaces in the infrared part of the spectrum is about .95, while the emissivity of black surfaces in the infrared part of the spectrum is about .95. In the visible part of the spectrum, the white surface has an emissivity of maybe .05, while the black surface has an emissivity of about .95. This is the reason a white car is cooler than a black car on a sunny day. It reflects the visible light from the sun, while radiating in the infrared to lose heat just as effectively as the black car. The chrome trim on both is burning hot because while it reflects most of the visible light from the sun, it is an even better reflector in the infrared part of the spectrum, and as a result cannot re-radiate the heat it gains from the fraction of visible light it absorbs, as it does not radiate in the infra red much at all.

So in a cold climate there is no downside to painting a hive black. It will always be as warm as or warmer than a white hive.

yukonjeff
11-22-2019, 09:17 PM
52567

Strapping possible here too, but usually I donīt strap with the hive stand, just the hive parts.
I have bears to worry about so I need something a little more stable than that. My ratchet strapping them to a pallet locks them down pretty good.

I am also on a hill so that would not work too well. Here is a backside picture to get a better perspective on my bee yard location.

https://i.imgur.com/qjVYLUi.jpg

yukonjeff
11-22-2019, 09:18 PM
While it is true that black surfaces radiate heat at night, it is also true that white painted surfaces radiate heat at night just as efficiently.
The reason is that The emissivity of white surfaces in the infrared part of the spectrum is about .95, while the emissivity of black surfaces in the infrared part of the spectrum is about .95. In the visible part of the spectrum, the white surface has an emissivity of maybe .05, while the black surface has an emissivity of about .95. This is the reason a white car is cooler than a black car on a sunny day. It reflects the visible light from the sun, while radiating in the infrared to lose heat just as effectively as the black car. The chrome trim on both is burning hot because while it reflects most of the visible light from the sun, it is an even better reflector in the infrared part of the spectrum, and as a result cannot re-radiate the heat it gains from the fraction of visible light it absorbs, as it does not radiate in the infra red much at all.

So in a cold climate there is no downside to painting a hive black. It will always be as warm as or warmer than a white hive.
Interesting. Thank you for that.

yukonjeff
11-22-2019, 09:25 PM
My bee yard in summer.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYnnOVwEg8Y

Juhani Lunden
11-22-2019, 11:31 PM
I have bears to worry about so I need something a little more stable than that. My ratchet strapping them to a pallet locks them down pretty good.

I am also on a hill so that would not work too well. Here is a backside picture to get a better perspective on my bee yard location.

https://i.imgur.com/qjVYLUi.jpg

Your bears are pretty **** lazy or have eaten too much salmon if that wire is keeping them. :D

We have to have bear fences in all beeyards.

GregV
11-23-2019, 10:02 AM
Your bears are pretty **** lazy or have eaten too much salmon if that wire is keeping them. :D

We have to have bear fences in all beeyards.

That wire is live.

Juhani Lunden
11-23-2019, 10:16 AM
That wire is live.

Yes but I have 4 live wires and bears try over or under or fall trees on them first...

yukonjeff
11-23-2019, 10:49 AM
You got me there. That is a P Poor fence, only because I had to order the wire and didn't have enough, I live in a remote Eskimo village the local store don't have much in the way of bear protection. I should order more.

That said, we really do have good bears here. I have a deal with them, that if they don't bother my hives, I wont shoot them. My dogs are at the bottom of the hill and let me know when anything comes around.

Bears are not tolerated in the village here at all. Any that come in get shot by the police, or anyone else that wants to. So really no bad bears left here, they quickly learn to respect humans or get shot.

Juhani Lunden
11-23-2019, 11:25 AM
Bears are not tolerated in the village here at all. Any that come in get shot by the police, or anyone else that wants to. So really no bad bears left here, they quickly learn to respect humans or get shot.

Seems to me you donīt have bear problem. :D

Just the opposite here. Bears get arrogant and near people when the learn that only one bear gets killed in an area which is about 100 kmx100km (and to kill you have to have expensive permits which are VERY hard to get) and the hunting season starts end of August.

A Novice
11-23-2019, 01:04 PM
Thanks for posting this thread, YukonJeff. I am planning to help my sister get started beekeeping in the coldest part of the lower 48 (North and west of International Falls, MN). This gives me lots of good ideas. It should be easy there...

yukonjeff
11-24-2019, 01:09 AM
Seems to me you donīt have bear problem. :D

Just the opposite here. Bears get arrogant and near people when the learn that only one bear gets killed in an area which is about 100 kmx100km (and to kill you have to have expensive permits which are VERY hard to get) and the hunting season starts end of August.

Here we can shoot them in defense of life or property. No permit required. The bear goes to the state though.

yukonjeff
11-24-2019, 01:10 AM
Thanks for posting this thread, YukonJeff. I am planning to help my sister get started beekeeping in the coldest part of the lower 48 (North and west of International Falls, MN). This gives me lots of good ideas. It should be easy there...

Your welcome. I hope you found some it useful.
Good Luck !

yukonjeff
12-24-2019, 10:06 PM
Well Thought I would update this as of Christmas Eve, All hives are still alive, Judging by the audible hum coming from each box when my ear is near it. Our Alaskan winter has not been too bad here we have bad storms here but not terribly cold yet. I believe its -8 F or so out now.

https://i.imgur.com/cmAUW6L.jpg

You can see the cluster where the frost is melted.

https://i.imgur.com/5e1AOSN.jpg

I will open them up this next month and add sugar bricks.

Merry Christmas, and good luck wintering your bees.

Swarmhunter
03-16-2020, 05:55 AM
Great ideas!! How are they doing this Spring?

A Novice
03-16-2020, 08:33 AM
Here we can shoot them in defense of life or property. No permit required. The bear goes to the state though.

With any varmint problem, it is important to act before there is a problem. Once they taste the goodies in your yard/garden/hive, they never forget.

This is true of bears, deer, raccoons, pigs, cows, etc.

A pathetic looking electric fence may well stop a bear that doesn't know what is in the hive. Once he has a taste, it will be a different story.

This is a real problem when there are grain spills along the railroad tracks. Bears love corn. And they will come back every year looking for it.

See this link. It is a good story.https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1990-08-20-mn-768-story.html

erinfschroeder
04-02-2020, 12:03 PM
Hi,

We're in the Mat-SU Valley in Alaska, and we wintered our bees this year. Although not all of them survived, you can still hear some of them buzzing around in there. We left the hive outside and insulated it with foam. When do you recommend removing the insulation? We're in early April right now, and it's in the 30s most days but dips into the 20s most nights.

Thanks!


I hear about beekeepers in Alaska that throw their bees to the wind every fall. I hope this can encourage more to overwinter. Its not that hard. And yes your bees can survive Alaska cold just fine. I didn't even need to feed mine this spring,and they could of made it through the summer without me. All I did was rob honey and treat.

I am in Western Alaska 70 miles inland from the Bering Sea on the Yukon River.
This wintering set up has worked successfully for me in this location. I think it would work anywhere in Alaska, or northern climate.

I start by having all of my equipment painted flat black. (I keep it black in summer as well).

I winter in three deeps.( But two would work IMO) The one on the bottom is just mostly half drawn frames , pollen stores, or even empties. Next is the brood nest,. Then a deep of sugar syrup, fed early enough to get capped if possible. (not honey,too many solids for long winters) I also feed a pollen patty in August, to fatten the winter bees.

https://i.imgur.com/I2Zyt3G.jpg

Then a three inch shim for space for sugar bricks.

https://i.imgur.com/5lQIQ5f.jpg

Above that, a notched inner cover/upper entrance, with a screened 3" feed jar hole, (Important for ventilation.)

https://i.imgur.com/wKLsWgl.jpg

Then a empty medium stuffed with dry grass /straw.

https://i.imgur.com/WtKHo3T.jpg

I also put a foam 1/2" foam board inside the lid.
And wrap with colony quilts, but leave the lower box exposed, make sure the super is wrapped.

On a warm spring day in March/April you can put on a jar of warm syrup for the afternoon, but remove before sunset. This will encourage a cleansing flight if you pick the right day.

https://i.imgur.com/qU1S6dz.jpg

I also sprinkle ashes from my woodstove around my hives to melt the snow in early spring, It helps them orientate in the bright winter sun and snow reflection. stops the death spiral some.

https://i.imgur.com/Newq9yL.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/7wJOzrM.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/7ZZUQBZ.jpg

Also.

YOU MUST TREAT YOUR BEES or its all for nothing. I have used MAQS and OA
Good luck

Swarmhunter
04-09-2020, 07:03 AM
Hi- I'm not sure I'd take insulation off at all on the top. Maybe the sides for the summer. Good Luck!
Jerry

Fivej
04-09-2020, 07:27 AM
Looks like you have thought things through Erin. I will try the wood ashes in front of my hives next winter. Thanks for the tip.
I don't know the timing for Alaska, but I can tell you the longer you keep insulation on, the better. They will brood up faster and you lessen the chance of chilled brood. Ideally, I like nights in the 50's before I take my insulation off, but realistically, it stays off when I need to start going into the hives on a more frequent basis. J

Gray Goose
04-09-2020, 07:41 AM
To quote you "I winter in three deeps.( But two would work IMO) The one on the bottom is just mostly half drawn frames , pollen stores, or even empties. Next is the brood nest,. Then a deep of sugar syrup, fed early enough to get capped if possible. (not honey,too many solids for long winters) I also feed a pollen patty in August, to fatten the winter bees." After 5 years I have decided on a similar approach but using a medium + deep + medium apporach. I call the bottom medium grand central station in the summer and my moisture condenser in winter. The deep is the brood chamber year round which gets back-filled with syrup honey in the Fall. The upper medium is the honey chamber. I leave some honey frames in the Fall for Spring brood rearing and feed syrup quickly in the Fall to a specific total hive weight or about 80 lb. of total honey around mid-November. It "seems" they take the syrup honey first and save older capped honey until Spring for brood rearing. I do not feed in winter or spring as weighting the hives in the Fall is an accurate method of verifying sufficient stores until the Spring flow and then some.

Jeff,

Great thread thanks for showing us your mrthods.

do not underestimate the value of the "bottom. 3rd box" Go into an Igloo once, getting above the cold air entrance is very important.
This year I put wet medium frames into a deep on the bottom board. Placed NUCs (5x5) above that and they all to my surprise wintered well.
Every little bit helps when facing very cold weather.
GG

Robert Holcombe
04-09-2020, 08:07 AM
GG - I think of the colony / cluster andit's immediate ambient as the "Living Bubble". It has a huge tendency to float up ( hot air and water vapor). Grand Central is always cool or cold. One issue I have with med+deep+medium is when I have to split via Snelgrove Board I don't have enough deeps. All the brood seems to be in the deeps, all the deeps became hives. Gotta build more deeps. :)

Gray Goose
04-09-2020, 08:31 AM
GG - I think of the colony / cluster andit's immediate ambient as the "Living Bubble". It has a huge tendency to float up ( hot air and water vapor). Grand Central is always cool or cold. One issue I have with med+deep+medium is when I have to split via Snelgrove Board I don't have enough deeps. All the brood seems to be in the deeps, all the deeps became hives. Gotta build more deeps. :)

Robert I Concur, living bubble, However the same bubble in a taller "tube" with extra space at the bottom, should/will have less influence from the exterior thermo changes known to exist at the bottom of the Aforementioned tube. that extra "distance" helps mitigate fast thermo swings at the very bottom. And in a blocked entrance scenario would allow more time before suffocation. In Alaska, I would think these temp swings can be bigger than where I am, so Impactful. I used the wet medium frames to feed a bit and have the effect of a slatted rack, allowing cluster space and wind/draft suppression. I also noticed that when dead bees pile up the bottom, the bottom 2 inches of the comb can mold, the shorter frames also mitigate this spring issue as well. And if I am "late" getting in for a spring inspection, swarm prevention. I can get side tracked and mis a spring inspection, to many Irons in the proverbial fire.
"A nadir in Fall is best of all"
GG

yukonjeff
05-02-2020, 01:59 AM
Well it saddens me to report I had 100% loss this winter. It was a cold one here in Western Alaska, and they went through stores faster than previous winters and starved out.

The one thing I did different was stop feeding about September 1 (to let the cap it), normally I jar feed them right up into October, and stop when they quit taking it. That extra month of feed was lost on the other end of winter when they really needed it.

In the month stretches of below 0 weather, it was hard to get in to add sugar bricks, and my boxes became iced so bad I could not even get into one.
I am going to rethink the sugar bricks, in sub zero weather they boil straight up though the sugar and when they hit daylight its over. and maybe just stick a jar of warm syrup on into my quilt box under the grass when I think it might need it. Or better yet, Feed them up to a propper weight.

Well I picked myself up and dusted off my smoker and installed another couple packages,made into four nucs. I treated two rounds of OAV the first 10 days and I will report back this fall and give it another go.

I got this.

A few highlights.

https://i.imgur.com/rtTjMQ1.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/TRNbwfD.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/9SlG0TI.jpg

Saltybee
05-02-2020, 05:41 AM
I have enjoyed your posts, certainly challenging conditions pushing the edge of tundra. Probably quite windy as well.
I am wondering about the straw. I bagged shavings in onion bags for the first time this year. Bees went for the water as much as the sugar, have to believe the water is necessary to work up enough spit to dissolve the sugar. I see people use old cotton cloth and such as well. Either would absorb more and be a better recycle source for the bees.

Juhani Lunden
05-02-2020, 10:40 AM
Looking at those pictures it is obvious that there has not been enough ventilation. Water is not getting away, and is condensing in wrong places.



Not many reports how have bees been wintering in the Finnish Lapland (because there is still 1 meter snow) but I can report later.

Juhani Lunden
05-12-2020, 09:44 PM
No cleansing flight yet in Finnish Lapland.


Here is one beekeeper who snapped: she decided not to wait and shoveled her hive out of 1 m snow. And now (when temperature does not allow bees to fly) hopes that they wont come out and try to fly.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=3099607130074707&set=gm.3202848743099145&type=3&eid=ARA7-WIG-YW7KYQ8O5xOtDC-Po6xGOIQa9AawqYi8HgsHFxAOKeeO-mwqDcvuPGFHXiweDj67VekcOC7&ifg=1