running single brood chambers for winter
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  1. #1
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    Apr 2012
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    bridgewater , nova scotia
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    Default running single brood chambers for winter

    I would like to learn how to run single brood chambers in winter, can anyone suggest some reading material or maybe help me a bit on this subject ?

    I went to a Beekeeper in NB and he uses a single deep brood for winter and wraps them in tar paper and vents the insulated top and covers them with a common cover of 4 to a pallet . But management is my goal. It must take a lot more time to keep them from swarming?

    My reason for using 1 brood chamber would be to help reduce equipment and increase honey yield if possible.

    I also noticed something about excluders while I was talking to Boyd (Beekeeper) the bees tend to never move up very fast when the excluder is above the second deep for me ,for whatever reason it just seems hard for me to use them and I would like to know what I can pull off of the hive without taking a queen by mistake. He said that he doesn't have an issue when the excluder is above the first deep and he runs 1500 hives.

    Any takers on this?

    Thanks a bunch!
    Ben Little <The Little Bee Farm> https://www.facebook.com/TheLittleBeeFarm
    Nova Scotia Canada

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Cumberland Va.
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    Default Re: running single brood chambers for winter

    I look forward to hearing any advice as I will be wintering several singles as well. G

  4. #3
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    Dec 2013
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    Arras, British Columbia, Canada
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    Default Re: running single brood chambers for winter

    I am not familiar with outdoor wintering in singles. But I have done it successfully indoors. If you wrapped the colonies and insulated I would imagine the same numbers would apply. Here is a link to the data.

    http://capabees.org/content/uploads/...quirements.pdf

    http://capabees.org/content/uploads/...nteringpdf.pdf

    As for summer management. I manage the main honey flow in singles. With a queen excluder above. Just make sure you have a full 9-10 brood frames in the bottom super for the queen to lay in.
    I usually keep supering and let the queen do whatever she wants until the main flow. Then I move her and most of the brood down to the bottom box and put an excluder above. If you leave brood above the excluder it keeps the bees working above the excluder and it appears to be easier to draw comb as well. I have been drawing comb all season, and checkerboarded comb in the two supers above the excluder is the best location for getting it drawn. I had no luck in the brood chamber whatsoever.

    Sometimes the excluder will cause a second queen to be reared in the honey chamber with the leftover brood. I keep a top entrance so she gets mated and I end up with a few 2 queen hives that I split off as I find them. I do not think it is viable to run without excluders unless you have more time than money. I have more money than time so I run exlcuders.


    But that is my opinion.

  5. #4
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    May 2010
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    Spokane, Washington, USA
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    Default Re: running single brood chambers for winter


  6. #5
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    Feb 2006
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    Herrick, SD USA
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    Default Re: running single brood chambers for winter

    Quote Originally Posted by JodieToadie View Post
    I do not think it is viable to run without excluders unless you have more time than money. I have more money than time so I run exlcuders.


    But that is my opinion.
    Nice informative post but those last couple of lines say it best
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  7. #6
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    Apr 2012
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    bridgewater , nova scotia
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    Default Re: running single brood chambers for winter

    Just finished reading the links you all posted, good reading material. I don't know if it is a good idea to try any singles this year or not, I know next year I will be running singles for honey for sure I just can't figure out if I want to shake all the bees down to 1 box and put all of the brood down, or winter them in doubles .. I am a bit on edge when it comes to trying something risky with bees going into winter.
    Ben Little <The Little Bee Farm> https://www.facebook.com/TheLittleBeeFarm
    Nova Scotia Canada

  8. #7
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    Jan 2005
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    FRASER VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA
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    2,069

    Default Re: running single brood chambers for winter

    You could put the excluder now and shake her down into box 1. They still have 2 generations before winter maybe 3. That should give them time to reorganize the brood nest. Do it on 25% of your hives to try it out if you feel nervous. If you do it tomorrow then 3 weeks later all the brood will have hatched and you can pull and extract whatever honey is in box number 2. This way you have a bit of wintering experience for next year before you go all in.

    Jean-Marc

  9. #8
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    Aug 2012
    Location
    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: running single brood chambers for winter

    We can run them here in Ontario and they winter well, but you have to feed. They will have very little stores when we pull the supers in a couple of weeks. They need to fed up to 90-100lbs. So you will save on equipment, but your feeding costs both monetary and time will go up. They are more challenging to keep on top of swarming. Especially with new foundation above an excluder bees in a single are far more likely to move up. With a double you almost always need some bait comb. Singles will often leave a an empty half moon section in the center of the first super and queens squeeze though the excluder more often. It's much nice trying to find the queen in a single. I also think local northern queens that are conservative and cluster tightly help a lot with singles.
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

  10. #9
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    Jan 2003
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    Miami, Manitoba, Canada
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    Default Re: running single brood chambers for winter

    Ben, I would stick to wintering them in doubles this year, then change your management strategy next year if you please.

    The trick is to shake her down as your flow starts, so that they backfill the second for you to harvest. This system probably would work good for you as the hives would be doubled up during your pollination work, then shaken down into singles after as you move to your flows

  11. #10
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    May 2005
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    chilliwack, bc
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    Default Re: running single brood chambers for winter

    There never seems to be a year when I'm not overwintering a certian amount of singles and there were some years where I overwintered nothing but singles. Our weather here is mild enough to not need a wrap for winter. After clearing the honey boxes, the singles are light and have next to no stores so they need feed and lots of it.

    If your planning to run singles for honey and then overwintering the single, be prepared to feed them a pail or 2 of syrup. As the single builds up in the spring, you might need to feed more too.

    In my experience, when the singles are in full swing of honey production, there is 8+ full frames of brood with the rest being pollen with the only place to put the honey being above the excluder. I've hauled 5-6 standards of of them in good years.
    Will Gruenwald Chilliwack BC

  12. #11
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    Dec 2013
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    Arras, British Columbia, Canada
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    Default Re: running single brood chambers for winter

    One note about wintering singles. I would imagine it is true indoors or outdoors. The real 'trick' unless you are feeding is to get the brood nest very small for winter. It is not only that the bees need enough stores, it is also that the brood nest is small enough that the queen can't continue to rear brood and run the hive out of stores.
    Again my opinion and observation.
    I have checked the last two winters. Most hives have a small amount of brood at all times. I have observed that if the queen has room and there is a climate trigger she will start rearing more brood depending on room, honey and of course pollen.

    So the number might not work for outdoor wintering but with my equipment (super, lid, bottom) = around 34-38lbs. Bees weigh 4-6lbs. My target weight for the hive, bees and stores is 80lbs. With most hives that get me through 6 months of winter and still leaves a bit of stores in spring.
    Temperature will play a huge role in storage consumption and survival. If you are going to the labour expense and hassle of wrapping perhaps you might want to consider indoor wintering. 'Control what you can' so to speak.

  13. #12
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    Dec 2008
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    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    Default Re: running single brood chambers for winter

    Jodie, I suspect that the OP has considerably colder winters than you do. It appears that his are not as cold as here in S.E. Wisconsin, but nearly so. I would be surprised if he has brood much later than the first frost, which I would guess would be in November.

    Would the OP please reply with average first frost date, and average first dandelion/and or first brood date?

    Crazy Roland

  14. #13
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    Default Re: running single brood chambers for winter

    Quote Originally Posted by JodieToadie View Post
    might want to consider indoor wintering. 'Control what you can' so to speak.
    If I had winters like Ben's, id be wintering outdoors
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  15. #14
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    Default Re: running single brood chambers for winter

    I suppose, he's only got four months below zero. But Ian weren't you the guy who said you hated wrapping hives?

  16. #15
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    Default Re: running single brood chambers for winter

    Quote Originally Posted by JodieToadie View Post
    I suppose, he's only got four months below zero. But Ian weren't you the guy who said you hated wrapping hives?
    oh ya, I hate wrapping hives... lol
    Ben would need a cooling unit on his wintering facility to sleep well at night
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  17. #16
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    Apr 2012
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    bridgewater , nova scotia
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    Default Re: running single brood chambers for winter

    Our first frost will probably be last week of October first of Nov. The last frost usually at the end of April. So We have an average of 5-6 months of Frost.
    Ben Little <The Little Bee Farm> https://www.facebook.com/TheLittleBeeFarm
    Nova Scotia Canada

  18. #17
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    Default Re: running single brood chambers for winter

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    oh ya, I hate wrapping hives... lol
    Ben would need a cooling unit on his wintering facility to sleep well at night
    I have seen 2 different sized operations that winter inside and the smaller one has a big refer unit on one side of the building and exhaust fans on the other. I am not sure of the type of investment it would be to build such a facility but I can imagine it would be worth it considering a person wouldn't have to worry what the weather was doing or if the bees were buried in snow etc..etc.. If I have the money later on after building our Honey House and storage for equipment I will have a serious look at wintering inside Until then it is outside for me.

    The Bigger facility that I saw I didn't even know it was a wintering building, I didn't see any fans or anything. I might have to take a better look if I go again LOL
    Ben Little <The Little Bee Farm> https://www.facebook.com/TheLittleBeeFarm
    Nova Scotia Canada

  19. #18
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    Dec 2013
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    Arras, British Columbia, Canada
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    Default Re: running single brood chambers for winter

    Well I am just a small beekeeper, I wintered just under 100 hives last year in a building that was 24x12x8 it has two stages of cooling fans, a circulating fan, a heater and red lights. It is only insulated r-12. As I could not afford big facilities and needed a dual purpose building it double as my heat room. It could hold more than 400 honey supers stacked 5 high.
    I think it cost a total of $5500. My winter losses in a climate controlled building are basically nil. (1 hive in 2 years so far...) So I figure it has already paid for itself. (Outdoors in my climate 30% would be a 'normal' loss.) So if you figure 12 nucs the first year and 32 the second @ $150 bucks then the building was free. I will warn you very clearly that heat is the enemy for indoor wintering. If the weather climbs you need to be prepared to get the hives out ASAP.
    Other thoughts:
    Secondarily winter wraps aren't free either and they take a lot of time to prepare.
    A single in a climate controlled building uses relatively small amounts of feed. Come spring it will build and be the same size as an overwintered double by the time the honey flow is started.
    A single is also nicer to medicate and exposes less frames to treatments.
    A single is much nicer to lift and move.

  20. #19
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    Jan 2003
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    Miami, Manitoba, Canada
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    Default Re: running single brood chambers for winter

    I built my hot room extra large to handle my wintering capacity. I have had beekeepers tell me my hot room is too big, 45'*50'. This year I have used every square foot of it, and that was just for holding surplus honey boxes, now that the honey is slowing Im using some space for temporary storage space.

    Moral the story, don't let anyone tell you how to set up your operation. But use the input from everyone to help set up your operation.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  21. #20
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    Apr 2012
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    bridgewater , nova scotia
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    Default Re: running single brood chambers for winter

    Thanks everyone, I will try to figure out what best suits our "needs" and deal with the "wants" when I can afford them.

    First on the list is a piece of land to build on
    Ben Little <The Little Bee Farm> https://www.facebook.com/TheLittleBeeFarm
    Nova Scotia Canada

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