Trying in Fairbanks
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Fairbanks, AK
    Posts
    12

    Default Trying in Fairbanks

    Trying to get started beekeeping in Alaska, last year was my first year and I loved it, so this year I went with more hives. We normally can not overwinter bees here and have to euthanize the hive at the end of the season, then purchase packages every spring and ship them to Alaska. With temperature & climate changes we may have a better chance of over wintering. We have seen a few of our fellow Alaskans succeeding but that is the exception, although the numbers are increasing.

    My plan is to spend at awhile building up my experience, bee yard locations, and hives. Later I will try and over winter my hives. For Alaska our bees last flight is early October and they can fly again late March (maybe early April). So I hope to store my hives in a heated building with lights out. I think I can follow some of Ian Stepplers methods and keep a few hives, and increase my hive count over time. Then breed the queens that are successful with a few other beeks that are trying similar paths to have an Alaskan queen that over winters

    I won’t be posting here often, my holy grail is to overwinter bees in Alaska and it may take me years to reach that effort so bear with me

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    4,321

    Default Re: Trying in Fairbanks

    Here is a fresh video how a guy wintered his bees 190 days non-stop - not a problem.
    The goal was - 200 days, but the wintering building could not long stay cool enough (+20C outside).
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HYCaIA0NSQ

    His experiment bees were locally adapted Carni hybrids (what he said).

    So, you need a conditioned and insulated building (not just a heated building).
    Run them at steady 45F (5C) that should do.

    No need to euthanize the bees.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,948

    Default Re: Trying in Fairbanks

    I'd talk to those people who are overwintering there and try their method first. The sooner you start trying to overwinter, the sooner you'll figure it out.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Fairbanks, AK
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Trying in Fairbanks

    Up until recently we were having our last flight in late August and not another flight until April. The season has gotten warmer and the bees better so and now our flights are from October and the last days of March. Over a month less.

    It’s getting better.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Fairbanks, AK
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Trying in Fairbanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    I'd talk to those people who are overwintering there and try their method first. The sooner you start trying to overwinter, the sooner you'll figure it out.

    Yes sir, and it is a small number who are trying, and a lesser number who succeed. But I will try this year and see how it goes

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,948

    Default Re: Trying in Fairbanks

    Talk to the people who are succeeding.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Fairbanks, AK
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Trying in Fairbanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    Talk to the people who are succeeding.
    Will do

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Mountain Village,Alaska
    Posts
    165

    Default Re: Trying in Fairbanks

    I have been successfully wintering hives in Western Alaska, I had both my hives survive this past winter. They can survive Alaska just fine. be sure to treat for mites, Use a quilt box of dry grass with a 3" shim, add sugar bricks, A inner cover with a screened feed jar hole, and upper entrance and wrap. Add sugar bricks once a month In the winter.

    Can PM me if you have any questions.
    Good luck

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Fairbanks, AK
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Trying in Fairbanks

    with our summer going full tilt i have not had much of a chance to check in. My hives, 12 in all, are doing good except for 1. that hive lost its queen, i just don't know what happened. So i added a frame of brood a week and now have several open queen cells on a frame, and I am waiting. we shall see

    How is the fire season treating you Jeff

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
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    4,321

    Default Re: Trying in Fairbanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoff907 View Post
    with our summer going full tilt .....
    Curious here.
    What are your main nectar sources?
    Probably some fire-weed is there.
    Anything else?
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Fairbanks, AK
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Trying in Fairbanks

    fireweed, vetch (which is invasive), some clover, and wildflowers that i am ashamed to say i would need to look up

  13. #12
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Mountain Village,Alaska
    Posts
    165

    Default Re: Trying in Fairbanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoff907 View Post
    with our summer going full tilt i have not had much of a chance to check in. My hives, 12 in all, are doing good except for 1. that hive lost its queen, i just don't know what happened. So i added a frame of brood a week and now have several open queen cells on a frame, and I am waiting. we shall see

    How is the fire season treating you Jeff
    My season is going great. I made three splits this summer, I have not been able to get packages shipped in here anymore, and was down to just one hive two years ago. Have five now.

    We had a nice summer for a change, and my bees got to fly most of the flow. Still have a couple weeks left of fireweed. Then treat, and feed for winter.






  14. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
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    4,321

    Default Re: Trying in Fairbanks

    Quote Originally Posted by yukonjeff View Post
    My season is going great. I made three splits this summer, I have not been able to get packages shipped in here anymore, .........
    This is the blessing in disguise.
    It is great that you are forced to start some local bee selection.
    I wish I had this (so the people around me stop buying bees shipped from elsewhere).
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Fairbanks, AK
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Trying in Fairbanks

    Went in and checked hives, added candy boards, I have 8 strong hives and one weak hive with two dead. The well house is 46* And about 74% humidity (outside humidity is in the 90’s)

    Still very early but they are alive, so that’s something

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Trying in Fairbanks

    If you were from Anchorage on south I would say overwintering bees is pretty doable. I don't know about Fairbanks... Maybe you need to move them South for the winter.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
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    Dane County, WI, USA
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    Default Re: Trying in Fairbanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    If you were from Anchorage on south I would say overwintering bees is pretty doable. I don't know about Fairbanks... Maybe you need to move them South for the winter.
    Just recently I posted a video link about wintering near Novosibirsk, Russia - USDA 2.
    Similar to Fairbanks.
    They keep bees - not a problem.
    But have to have the right bee.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Fairbanks, AK
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Trying in Fairbanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    If you were from Anchorage on south I would say overwintering bees is pretty doable. I don't know about Fairbanks... Maybe you need to move them South for the winter.
    I have pondered this. Sure seems like moving south would be simple. But I would like to do it at home if I can

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    53,948

    Default Re: Trying in Fairbanks

    Greg may be right. Maybe you need to find the right bees for that far North. Certainly in Nebraska overwintering with California bees was not very doable nor Georgia bees...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Fairbanks, AK
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Trying in Fairbanks

    I am considering ordering Russian queens this year, or at least a few. Local beekeepers have been reporting the best luck with them, some say they are more frugal and start the spring build up a little later. My mentor has succeeded with Carney’s so that is what I have right now.

    Later I hope to breed my own queens from the survivors

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    1,884

    Default Re: Trying in Fairbanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoff907 View Post
    I have pondered this. Sure seems like moving south would be simple. But I would like to do it at home if I can
    Look into what the folks in northern Saskatchewan are doing to winter bees. Fairbanks may be a bit colder, but, probably not a heck of a lot. A beehive wont notice the difference between -40 and -50.

    I sat beside a gal from Saskatchewan at the recent BCHPA agm. She talked about getting out to shovel snow after first snowfall. they winter outdoors, and after first real snowfall, they bury the hives with snow. I guess is kinda like an igloo at that point.

    She did a presentation on how they manage the bee farm in Saskatchewan, it was fascinating. The video isn't online yet, but it should be in another month or so.

    Bottom line, dont listen to the folks that say it cant be done.

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