Made It Thru Winter With More Honey Than Expected
Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Washington
    Posts
    348

    Default Made It Thru Winter With More Honey Than Expected

    First winter, first hive. I started with a nuc in late Summer. I put the bees in a jumbo box (12" deep, 24" long). By late fall, the box was filled with drawn comb, though there didn't seem to be enough stores for the fairly large carniolan population. I didn't treat for Varroa. On one hand, I want to be TF. On the other hand, I thought mites may help keep the large population in check and thus help prevent the bees from starving during Winter.

    Winter here in Portland Oregon was longer and colder than usual. I didn't see ANY bee activity for MANY weeks. I was preparing for the worst. A few weeks ago I started seen very few bees come out. I was going to start feeding, but decided against it. Two weeks later it was a party, with a fairly large number of bees going in and out. I decided to open the hive. I found lots of dead bees and some mold on one side of the hive. The bottom of the hive was very humid. As I started removing frames I was shocked to see how much honey the bees had. In fact, I removed a frame of capped honey to make room for brood. What is really surprising is I was worried thru the winter months the bees wouldn't have enough food. I have no idea of how or when they collected the honey.

    Overall, this has been a great experience. Going from not knowing if the bees survived to actually removing a frame of capped honey was amazing.

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Deer Lodge MT
    Posts
    859

    Default Re: Made It Thru Winter With More Honey Than Expected

    Similar. I think I have more honey now than when I 'put the bees away for winter'.
    4a

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    York County, VA, USA
    Posts
    503

    Default Re: Made It Thru Winter With More Honey Than Expected

    I'm yet another newbie, but on the East Coast rather than the West. We fed our hives into late fall but didn't put much in the way of sugar on them even though most colonies were late-summer starts. As you report, with our early and warm spring, the Carniolan/Russian/Italian contingents all seem to have been flush with honey and I can't determine whether it's early maple flow that they put away or overwintered honey/syrup blend. Of course, that may be because I haven't tried to determine this. I don't know how. [See "newbie" above.]

    But apart from a dwindling nuc (possible queen problems?) and a colony with a blown-off hive top in recent bad weather (which colony _may_ actually be recovering), all came through with burgeoning population and big stores. This seems to have been a winter with gross regional variations in survival. Perhaps that's mostly in the amateur field, but I certainly see it reported among amateurs here.

    Michael
    "I thought I made a mistake once, but I was wrong." (heard often from the late David Sebree) Still making them, myself

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Baker, FL
    Posts
    211

    Default Re: Made It Thru Winter With More Honey Than Expected

    I have read that Carniolan bees overwinter in very small clusters. If that is true, they wouldn't consume a lot of honey due to the decreased numbers of bee. Perhaps that is why there is so much honey. Just a thought.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Mogollon Rim, Arizona 85933
    Posts
    747

    Default Re: Made It Thru Winter With More Honey Than Expected

    You should have left the honey in the hive they are going to need it here in a few weeks when the last hard cold snap hits us here in Oregon, that was their heater fuel you removed, and not wise. They would eat the honey and make room for brood that way. way to soon to crack their cluster.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Washington
    Posts
    348

    Default Re: Made It Thru Winter With More Honey Than Expected

    Good advise. Will keep that in mind next time. Thanks~!

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Penobscot County, ME, USA
    Posts
    1,206

    Default Re: Made It Thru Winter With More Honey Than Expected

    Quote Originally Posted by JeronimoJC View Post
    I want to be TF.
    Why?

    On the other hand, I thought mites may help keep the large population in check and thus help prevent the bees from starving during Winter.
    That's just nuts. They won't 'keep the population in check', they will overwhelm it and crash them. Do you have any idea how mite populations grow?

    If you don't have a plan to manage mites, your hive will probably die.
    If you want to be successful, study successful people and do what they do.
    Zone 4a/b

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Campbell County, Va
    Posts
    507

    Default Re: Made It Thru Winter With More Honey Than Expected

    The sudden surge of honey early, early in the year is more likely from robbing dead out hives, whether feral or in a box somewhere.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Washington
    Posts
    348

    Default Re: Made It Thru Winter With More Honey Than Expected

    Quote Originally Posted by BadBeeKeeper View Post
    Do you have any idea how mite populations grow?
    I do to some extent. I've seen models of how a mite population overwhelms a strong bee colony over a couple of years until the colony dies.

    Having said that. There are enough examples out there of successful TF beekeepers. I am not in for the honey, though I don't mind taking some down the road. I am in for the experience. I am also doing a few other things to help the bees have a chance fighting mites, but that's an entirely separate thread.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Washington
    Posts
    348

    Default Re: Made It Thru Winter With More Honey Than Expected

    Quote Originally Posted by appalachianoutdoors View Post
    The sudden surge of honey early, early in the year is more likely from robbing dead out hives, whether feral or in a box somewhere.
    I had considered that. This would definitely explain things.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    carney, maryland, USA
    Posts
    1,262

    Default Re: Made It Thru Winter With More Honey Than Expected

    Quote Originally Posted by DerTiefster View Post
    I'm yet another newbie, but on the East Coast rather than the West. We fed our hives into late fall but didn't put much in the way of sugar on them even though most colonies were late-summer starts. As you report, with our early and warm spring, the Carniolan/Russian/Italian contingents all seem to have been flush with honey and I can't determine whether it's early maple flow that they put away or overwintered honey/syrup blend.

    Michael
    I think the maple flow in late February/early March was significant. On a whim I pulled a full capped frame and replaced it with a "foundationless" frame sometime in mid-February. In one week the bees had drawn over 1/3 from top to bottom and had filled the cells with nectar. In 2 more weeks the frame was fully drawn.

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •