Winter preparation
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Central Oregon
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    55

    Default Winter preparation

    I hope this hasn't been answered before and if it was I apologize. I have some bees that I acquired at the end of June which was one deep and one medium. My current hive configuration is one deep and 3 supers. I have a mixture of 10 foundationless frames and 20 foundation frames between the 3 supers. The super on top has two foundationless frames that are not drawn out at all and two others that are partially (maybe 1/4 and 1/8) drawn. I was thinking of leaving everything to the bees this year and seeing if there is any leftover in the spring to harvest.

    Should I remove the partially drawn foundationless frames and replace them with foundation? I was just wondering if the empty space will effect them during winter when they cluster up.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Clark, Wasington, USA
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Winter preparation

    I didn't have any luck with foundationless frames. The bees just made a mess. I won't ever do it again. I would put in foundation.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Arbutus, MD USA
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    69

    Default Re: Winter preparation

    Consolidating may just be the way to go. Would you rather heat a place with vaulted ceilings, or keep a cozy cabin?

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Anderson, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: Winter preparation

    Quote Originally Posted by Hive Watcher View Post
    I didn't have any luck with foundation less frames. The bees just made a mess. I won't ever do it again. I would put in foundation.
    consolidate. Foundation less is easy and creates natural size comb which is what the bees want. When starting out place one frame foundation between 2 frames foundation less..so that you have every other frame foundation less. The bees will draw the foundation less out first and will be encouraged to draw it nice and straight. As one is drawn remove a foundation frame and replace with another foundation less frame. One thing I do is use grooved top bars and glue in a Popsicle stick..they attach comb better.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Clark, Wasington, USA
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    7

    Default Re: Winter preparation

    I appreciate your comments oldreliable but I tried exactly what you are saying this spring and the bees made a mess. It was impossible to inspect without killing every bee I came in contact with.

    That is what is so awesome about bee souce! We can all talk about our experiences and discuss what works and what doesn't. But in the end, to each his own... :-)

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Jamesville, NY
    Posts
    309

    Default Re: Winter preparation

    Quote Originally Posted by Hive Watcher View Post
    It was impossible to inspect without killing every bee I came in contact with.
    ??? How does working with foundationless cause you to kill bees during inspection. ???


    I have had great success with placing foundationless frames in between filled out and capped frames of honey.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Olympia, Washington
    Posts
    1,352

    Default Re: Winter preparation

    I've got a box of 9 perfect foundationless honeycombs in an 8 frame super, but that doesn't mean every colony will do that.
    Some will cross comb horribly if given too many frame at once.
    When I find this I put them in a nuc, alternating w. foundation and they do fine...but that only for establishing a hive.
    Once established, placing a reducer board on the hive bodyand putting the nuc on top also works.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO United States
    Posts
    1,441

    Default Re: Winter preparation

    Quote Originally Posted by scallawa View Post

    Should I remove the partially drawn foundationless frames and replace them with foundation? I was just wondering if the empty space will effect them during winter when they cluster up.
    I am not sure how replacing the partially drawn frames with frames of foundation (that is not drawn also?), will make a big difference. I would leave it as it is. It's still empty space, just a slight difference. In addition, if you leave it like it is and the cluster makes it to the top, they will not be sperated/divided with these sheets of foundation, or will chew holes through them to stay together.

    HiveWatcher, don't give up on foundationless, with only one try!, its the way to go. How did you kill bees by inspecting?

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Central Oregon
    Posts
    55

    Default Re: Winter preparation

    Thanks for your responses. I have been reading a lot about winter preparation but having no experience really makes it hard and I only have one hive. I am going to see if I can get my mentor to take a peak in the hive. I do have very different practices and philosophies than my mentor so it isn't always a slam dunk when getting that advice.
    I think I am going to leave it as is unless I hear a compelling reason to do otherwise.

    Hive Watcher, I didn't actually have a problem with foundationless. They drew out most of them fine. I have two out of the ten that weren't touched and two others that are barely drawn. There was one that I had next to capped honey and it seems like they uncapped and expanded. I just scraped off the bit that they drew into the other frame and they quickly fixed it. I would recommend giving it another shot. It actually is quite to watch them build it. I had more success where I surrounded the frames with capped brood. Those frames where completely drawn out.

    DocHivetool, I have wondered about that. I see others are successfully experimenting with 3 or more boxes through the winter. It seems like it would take more work for them to keep it warm.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Bolton, Ontario, Canada
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    281

    Default Re: Winter preparation

    Quote Originally Posted by scallawa View Post


    DocHivetool, I have wondered about that. I see others are successfully experimenting with 3 or more boxes through the winter. It seems like it would take more work for them to keep it warm.
    Yes but those three or more boxes are all filled with brood and sealed stores, not open and empty frames. Empty frames serve no purpose once the weather get to cold for the bees to go out and collect pollen, or store syrup in. And Bee shouldn't be fed syrup once the temps drop below 50F for more then several days, so no need for empty frames at that time either. As the winter progresses the bee will work their way upwards as they eat through their stores no point in them eating their way up to a box of empty frames.


    Glen
    You Tube bee Channel Zone 5A
    http://www.youtube.com/user/GlenGH

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Central Oregon
    Posts
    55

    Default Re: Winter preparation

    Quote Originally Posted by Glen H View Post
    . As the winter progresses the bee will work their way upwards as they eat through their stores no point in them eating their way up to a box of empty frames.
    Glen
    Yes, I get that. It is not a box full of empty frames though which is why I asked the question. If it was I would just remove it. It has two empty frames two partially drawn frames with uncapped honey and most of the rest are capped honey.
    If I left it on, should I reorganize the frames so that the capped honey is in the middle?

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
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    3,388

    Default Re: Winter preparation

    It won't hurt to put the full frames in the center. It may not be necessary, either. What you don't want is a box with empty frames or undrawn foundation at the top of the hive, the bees do much better when they have cells to cluster in -- they go in head first, then bees fill the space between the combs. They stay warmer than if they are just hanging onto each other in an empty space.

    If you don't think you have enough stores, though, I'd make a candy board and put on top. Cheap insurance.

    Peter

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