Northern Midwest Winter Beekeeping Manifesto - Page 3
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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Clinton, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    443

    Default Re: Winter Beekeeping Manifesto

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    I think perhaps for the north anyways, is that locally adapted means that the ones having much of the italian bee habits have eliminated themselves from the gene pool

    As you may have guessed I am just the tiniest bit biased on this: I know that Itallians can do very well and be very productive but some of their habits affect how they need to be managed.
    I'm not an italian fan. However, i try to caution on saying that as I really hate to speak in terms of italian or carniolan stock as it is much more accurate for us to speak in terms of traits given the great melting pot of bees we have in north america. However, I do tell people that you can winter italian style bees in this locale it just takes more effort and managing carni style bees is easy in the winter and a pain in the butt in the late spring. Give me three deeps and italian bees will make it thru most any of my winters. The problems become how they environmentally regulate. A typical carni trait is to remain calm on the comb when there is nothing happening, italian style bees are prone wander around. That can be an issue but the scary part is the spring--bees that decide to brood up when there are little to no resources coming in are sometimes praised. that can be especially true if you need bees in spring for pollination, etc. when everything works out those bees seem great. but when things dont work out, its a mess. get yourself a bunch of early brood rearing bees and watch them fill frames and then have the weather turn 180 degrees. they will be eating brood and running on zero stores in a couple of days. then you will have to decide if you want to feed them or let them figure it out on their own. on the other hand, the tightly clustered colony that hardly makes a peep all winter will slowly start to lay. they wont get hurt in those big weather springs. but at some point, here its when the dandelions break, they will explode and go from nothing to swarming in three days. its all about what traits really matter to you

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  3. #42
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Greenwood, WI, USA
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: Winter Beekeeping Manifesto

    My two hives were total opposites. The hive that made it and looked real good last week was real quiet all winter. When I would go out and check on them I wouldn`t even see a bee. I would have to put my ear up to the hole and listen. The other one that didn`t make it was always hanging out the upper entrances and making suicide flights even on cold days.
    Zone 4a

  4. #43
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    7,800

    Default Re: Winter Beekeeping Manifesto

    I have one colony that I thought was cold stone dead in our warm February when I had checked it last. Last week I got a ride over two plus feet of snow to some of my hives and was going to do a show and tell for my curious benefactor and tried to pry a frame out of the deadout. Bees came boiling up out of both sides of the upper brood box! These bees are still living down in the bottom brood box five months after the last flower! They indeed are supposed to be Italian. I think I now have a new contender for breeder of the year.

  5. #44
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    crosslake mn
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Northern Midwest Winter Beekeeping Manifesto

    Kevin, I'm at the very front end of possibly getting involved in beekeeping. I am part of a small group working on the acquisition of an existing conference center with 80 acres of tilled farmland. Our plan is to establish (2-5 year plan) about 15 acres of grape vines, 1500 apple trees and dozens of large 1200 sq foot raised grow bed for floral, berries & herbs with mixed cover crops for additional forage and erosion control. We are planning on starting small with bees but if we can do this successfully, grow our hive count to several dozen in a couple years. The intention is to try to make some money on our bees as well as have them for optimum pollination. It is our goal to be able to market our floral and food harvest as certified organic at some point. As such, we would like to winter our bees at home in Northern Minnesota. We will also be building a shed for our off season composting worms to survive our frigid 5 months. Is it possible for us to move all of the hives into a storage building that will never see below 50 degree temps? This would be new construction with slab heat so we can eliminate rodents. What would be have to do for the bees? Although I'm very excited to know more, I know so little about bees that I'm not sure if this post is foolish or not but thanks in advance for any input you may be willing to offer!

  6. #45
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    2,412

    Default Re: Northern Midwest Winter Beekeeping Manifesto

    Ian is a name you need to learn. Cooling is the problem not heat. poke around his blog and Beesource threads for indoor wintering

    Clear descriptions are a total plus; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBa6Qgh-SkI
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  7. #46
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,915

    Default Re: Northern Midwest Winter Beekeeping Manifesto

    Ian winters his entire commercial operation indoors, but optimal temperature is 40F, 50 is too warm. You may eventually make money on the hive products, especially if you sell at super premium prices. The real value comes from the increased production of the fruits and berries.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  8. #47
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Sisters, Oregon
    Posts
    139

    Default Re: Northern Midwest Winter Beekeeping Manifesto

    Looks great. I do all these things except tape the seams. I found too much condensation pooling just in the seams when the bee cozy was on. So after I took the tape off it allowed the extra little bit of venting that it needed. My 2 inch foam boards are both under and over the top cover. Your most intriguing point is about colony size and not giving them too much space relative to their size. I'm wintering in a deep with a medium over. I may add a pollen super below in spring but quite like this config.

    Finally it has a coroplast cut out awning over the top as a rain/snow guard (4 inch clearance all sides). (Like VinoFarm) I found the coroplast at HomeDepot and one 4 X 8 produced enough awnings for my 5 colonies. I will always use this over winter and maybe all year because I like it so much.
    I'm smart but at the end of the day I'm still the help.

  9. #48
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,269

    Default Re: Northern Midwest Winter Beekeeping Manifesto

    Quote Originally Posted by Chef Tom View Post
    .... We will also be building a shed for our off season composting worms to survive our frigid 5 months. Is it possible for us to move all of the hives into a storage building that will never see below 50 degree temps?
    1. My own, store-bought composting worms live year around outside - they do fine in the composting bin just as-is (Southern WI is somewhat warmer than Northern MN - yes).
    2. Granted this, I would reconfigure your "never below 50 degrees" to about "never below 35 degrees" just so to not deal with freezing water indoors (the cold composting process still generates enough heat, mind you, to overly worry of those worms).
    3. If you keep the shed cool enough (35-40F), you can winter the bees inside (with all the particulars attached - the moisture ventilation away being #1).
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  10. #49
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    2,412

    Default Re: Northern Midwest Winter Beekeeping Manifesto

    The bees will generate a surplus of heat and need to be cooled. There will be other buildings with a need for heat and sun. Greenhouse on the South side and bees on the North side of a common building is one possibility. Sound/ vibration control to keep the bees quiet is a concern with a direct connection. Can also see the bee locker as one loop of a ground source heat pump type setup.
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

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