Winter in Dixie 2018-2019
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,921

    Default Winter in Dixie 2018-2019

    Well, winter in the Southeast is pretty much over for this year. We will still get a few days with below freezing temps, but the days and nights are getting warmer fast. So, if you are south of the Mason Dixon and east of the Sabine River, it is time to chime in and tell everyone how your hives fared. If you did something that you feel gave your bees a leg up, please share. Remember, this is the South, we raise bees differently than our Yankee brethren who are still buried under several feet of snow.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    2,774

    Default Re: Winter in Dixie 2018-2019

    when did BS add a Winter Beekeeping forum? Obviously some time last year if JW made his post in March.

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I just added my last sugar board to a medium 2 box setup of Caucasian bees. Last year, they overwintered in a 8 frame medium but really were too small come spring to do much, so they missed the nectar flow by the time they had built up enough. I don't normally put this much sugar on my bees here in coastal Virginia, but it was a 3" shim. I lined it with 1/4 in hardware cloth. I did not let that go to the edges as I didn't want extra gaps between the boxes. On top of the hardware cloth, that I stapled to the sides, I added a Swiffer like sheet that I cut the middle out of (to hold the sugar in).

    I mixed 20 cups of sugar to 1 2/3 cup of water and stirred until it was like damp sugar sand. Then I dumped it in the frame (that had a cookie sheet underneath for support) and pressed it down firmly. It probably filled about 1" of the form. I used the handle of the spatula to poke holes down through the sugar so that any moisture and bees can come up through them. I let this dry about 5 days in the house and just set it on my hive this morning, where it is 55 degrees outside. Those bees are already in the 2nd box, so they might actually need this much sugar this year.

    IMG_20191128_093823919.jpg

    IMG_20191128_093833687.jpg

    The bees in my topbar hives (which I have more of, and certainly prefer) only get a small sugar brick made with 4 cups of sugar.

    sugar brick.jpg

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,921

    Default Re: Winter in Dixie 2018-2019

    Hi Ruth. We started the sub-forum because so much of wintering hives is local. This thread is mainly for those in USDA zones 7, 8, and 9 that also have high humidity and numerous flying days throughout the winter.

    General info for everyone.
    I am still feeding 2:1 here in Richmond. Just mixed up another 100# of Wal-Mart's finest pure cane, still .32 per pound. The girls will get an OAV treatment , the syrup ,and a chunk of pollen patty over the weekend. Pretty breezy here right now. Winter planning includes another round of OAV at Christmas and getting sugar bricks on before January. At least two nucs succumbed last month to either robbing or starvation, so I will be watching their food supply closely. This is especially important for our area since the bees brood early if given pollen in February. Early brooding is beneficial because we need a large forage aged workforce by mid-April to catch our short but intense tulip poplar flow. Swarm prevention is critcal. Last year I was late with my splits and had most of my production hives swarm. Honey production from those hives was non existent. Since I captured four of those swarms, I did get a lot of new foundationless brood frames drawn.

    Would like to hear from other beeks in the SE about their overwintering plans and the steps they are taking to insure the survival of their hives.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

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