Winter - Spring : Suggestions to new beekeepers - Page 2
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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
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    Timonium, Maryland
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    382

    Default Re: Winter - Spring : Suggestions to new beekeepers

    Thanks Mike,

    The thread was really informative about reverse.

    If I got it right, the revers is not a bad idea.
    I didn't get what is the best timing. What should it be related to?

    I hope I won't do my next mistake, if I revise the deeps in spring and put another box on top of the 2, or maybe, since I wanted to replace original nuc frames, replace 5 frames with new frames that will be in top box.

    I am not sure when would be the best time? Should I relate it to weather/temperature or blooming of something?

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  3. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Benton, KY
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    310

    Default Re: Winter - Spring : Suggestions to new beekeepers

    The biggest issue for new/ all beekeepers is starvation in winter. We went from extremely wet in July to no rain for 3 months. I fed 1000 lbs of sugar as syrup to my 16 hives. Biggest issue for me as bees converted food to bees in fall. I went to 2-1 in mid October. The last 300 lbs went that way. I had more bees than I had in May. Last Fed the week before thanksgiving about a gallon of syrup to each( best guess is 7-8 lbs of sugar to each one). I guess I need 40-50 lbs to winter, varies to winter. Likely I have 20, I'm worried as weather may limit my access, but need to restock with sugar bricks over holidays

  4. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
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    5,585

    Default Re: Winter - Spring : Suggestions to new beekeepers

    Quote Originally Posted by Artur_M View Post

    I didn't get what is the best timing. What should it be related to?
    Everyone has different set ups - deeps, mediums, combinations. And weather can vary dramatically in various regions. You will need to find what works best for you in your area, maybe discuss this with other local beekeepers and find out what they do. I can tell you what I look for and what I do. It might not match your seasons or your set ups, but it should give you some ideas to start thinking about.

    I use all mediums for both brood boxes and supers. Overwintering is done in either 3 or 4 mediums, depending upon how populous they were in late fall. By the end of March the bees have had some periods of flying weather and have been collecting large amounts of pollen from Elm and Maple blooms and the brood nest has expanded rapidly by early April.

    I will find in most of my colonies that the bees are now brooding up in the top 2 mediums, and the bottom box(es) are empty. This is about a week or two before dandelion bloom starts up (which is also a week or two before they start thinking about swarm prep).

    To encourage the colony to continue to expand the brood nest upward rather than start early swarm prep, the empty box on the bottom is moved up to the top (reversed), above the brood. I will also add a 4th medium above that at the same time so they have plenty of overhead empty comb to work up into. I may need to do this again in a couple of weeks. If I find an empty box on the bottom again it gets moved up.

    Most of the time the colonies have burned through the majority of their winter stores by early April, but if I have a hive that has extra frames of honey left over I will checkerboard them with empty frames above the broodnest in the box that was reversed. Kind of a variation of Walt Wright's CB method. It works like a charm.

    After that it's adding supers, frame manipulation, opening the broodnest, etc, in an attempt to deter them from swarming. If I can keep them occupied until blackberry bloom I'm usually out of the woods.

    There are other considerations you should be aware of, which is why it is very important to do some reading up so your are aware of all the pros and cons. It needs to be done at the correct time of the year to be an effective swarm prevention measure, and not end up hurting the colony.

    If you reverse double deeps, and there happens to be brood in the top portion of the lower box that gets moved up, you have just created a huge gap between the two areas of brood. This can be a real set back to the colony.

    Anyway, the short answer to your question. Based on your location you would be planning to reverse a couple weeks before your dandelions start to bloom if you find the right conditions in your hives - brood amount and location.
    To everything there is a season....

  5. #24
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    Aug 2016
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    Timonium, Maryland
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    Default Re: Winter - Spring : Suggestions to new beekeepers

    Thanks again, Mike.

    New beekeepers like me need lots of help, and thanks to all who are supporting us.

    I have another curious question: if the "old queen" removed from the hive after 1st round of laying eggs, will it prevent swarming? Or maybe mix-match queens, so all hives have new queen?

    I know this sounds strange, and maybe makes no sense

  6. #25
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    Feb 2006
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    Massillon, Ohio
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    Default Re: Winter - Spring : Suggestions to new beekeepers

    Quote Originally Posted by Artur_M View Post

    I have another curious question: if the "old queen" removed from the hive after 1st round of laying eggs, will it prevent swarming?
    Artur,
    Check out the link below to Michael Bush's page on splits. It will give you a lot of great information on different types of splits and their purposes.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beessplits.htm
    To everything there is a season....

  7. #26
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
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    Timonium, Maryland
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    Default Re: Winter - Spring : Suggestions to new beekeepers

    I checked the hives today, since it is 65F today, although we are expecting 4" snow tonight.

    The hives had at lest 5lb of sugar on top, and my bees found some place to bring lots of pollen in.
    I am sure my bees have lots of food in frames as well.

    For now my concern is have my bees NOT to swarm.
    What would be the best option: put 3rd deep box on the top (give them more space to expand), or make sure that bottom box has no brood and switch the boxes?
    Any ideas are appreciated.

  8. #27
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Decorah, Iowa USA
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    Default Re: Winter - Spring : Suggestions to new beekeepers

    To Artur M - The first thing I'd do if I was you is find a different yard. If you have 2 hives and you already have neighbor problems then eventually your're going to have to, so you might as well get started, sorry to say. Sometime treating them honey-right works. Good-Luck!

  9. #28
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    frederick, md
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    832

    Default Re: Winter - Spring : Suggestions to new beekeepers

    Artur
    Per my notes from last year, dandelions started blooming here in Frederick the first week of March. You might be a touch colder than us, our plant zone is 6b.
    So by what Barry is stating I should reverse my hive boxes in one to two weeks. With our inspection all except one hive had the brood in the mid box, we would check to make sure, before any reversal, that there is no brood in the lower hive body.
    Zone 6b: 27 hives in Maryland, Carniolan, Italian mix mutts: Still learning - started bees spring of 2014.

  10. #29
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    Aug 2016
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    Default Re: Winter - Spring : Suggestions to new beekeepers

    It looks we are going to be in mid 60-s next week (highest).
    I noticed today that my bees are getting water from a frisbee that stayed outside through the winter.

    There is still sugar on the top of the frames.
    Of course it is hard to make s prediction how weather changes, but is this a good time to switch from sugar to syrup? Also I can put water out using a top feeders .

    When is a good time to do the switch? If I find bottom boxes are broodless/empty, can I just take them away?
    Also, thinking out loud, if I take the "empty" box away and add it after 2-3 week, will it "convince" the bees not to swarm?

  11. #30
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    carney, maryland, USA
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    Default Re: Winter - Spring : Suggestions to new beekeepers

    Make a plan. For example, given I have 2 yards, one with 2 colonies, the other with 4, I plan to split one of these from each yard. That being the case I know I need 4 additional boxes and 4 additional sets of frames to go into those boxes. From one of my deadouts and from pulling a 4th box off an existing colony during this winter, I pulled 4 frames of honey/pollen frames, wrapped them and put them in the freezer in anticipation of my splits.

    Your plan is different from mine, and you can change your plan during the year, but having a plan gives you targets to prepare for.

    My hives are located near you, and several years ago I built a bunch of screened bottom boards. If I could change what I did, I would have gone with solid bottom boards, not screened. I think that screened bottom boards allow too much cool air in, even during the heat of summer, and interfere with the bees production.

    Looks like you have done well so far. The only other advice I have is to keep the hives a little crowded. Frames with stores or brood which have few bees on them are targets for small hive beetles (SHB). Four or five years ago one of my hives got seriously slimed by SHB. My knee-jerk reaction was to buy bunches of SHB traps, which I used profusely on the frames. Since then I learned that by keeping the hives crowded with bees, the traps are not necessary.

    Hope this helps.

  12. #31
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    Aug 2016
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    Default Re: Winter - Spring : Suggestions to new beekeepers

    It's 60-70-s here, so I decided to get curious to see what my bees are doing:

    They still had some sugar blocks on the top, but I took them away to make a syrup and feed them that way.
    Checked half of the bottom box and I saw no brood there and some caped and uncapped honey + some pollen.

    Most probably the queen would be in the top box.

    It looks it won't go below 50-s anymore (although we've seen freezing temperature at the end of April).
    I will try to set the top feeders soon.

    When would be a good time to make a switch?

  13. #32
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    Sep 2014
    Location
    frederick, md
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    Default Re: Winter - Spring : Suggestions to new beekeepers

    We checked all of our hives, two had brood between the bottom and mid box, the rest had the brood in the mid box. We reversed all that had no brood in the bottom box. All except the two, the bottom boxes were empty of brood, mostly empty of stores.

    I left sugar blocks on the hives, added a quart jar to each hive of syrup. The amount of brood is unreal, without food out there they can empty what they have fast.
    Zone 6b: 27 hives in Maryland, Carniolan, Italian mix mutts: Still learning - started bees spring of 2014.

  14. #33
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
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    Timonium, Maryland
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    382

    Default Re: Winter - Spring : Suggestions to new beekeepers

    missybee,

    Did you already treat your bees for mites or do you have any time in mind when?
    What do you use as a treatment for mites?

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