getting ready for winter in PA
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    210

    Default getting ready for winter in PA

    Hi all,

    2nd season and seems like the hives are arranged differently than they were a year ago (my first fall). 3 out of 4 of my hives have drawn but empty frames in bottom box, with brood/honey in top box. the other 1 has loads of brood/honey in both boxes. I was looking today to see if I'd take off the honey supers but they still haven't capped about 1/2 of the full frames. I did the gravity test and the honey is staying in the cells, but I guess it hasn't evaporated off enough water for them to cap.

    questions:
    1) on the hives with drawn/empty bottom boxes: should I reverse the deeps and then feed 2:1 so they'll fill the (now) top deep and move up into it during winter? Or is it better to leave them alone and let them arrange it how they want?
    2) I know I should be taking the supers off but was hoping with this warm weather and the fact that they're still bringing in gobs of pollen that they'd be able to make wax/cap off the honey. Should I cut my losses/take down the supers, extract and if it had too much water just feed it back to them (instead of the 2:1)? Leave it another 1-2 weeks?

    Thanks for any input
    Brad

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Northeast PA
    Posts
    474

    Default Re: getting ready for winter in PA

    What's your mite count?

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Pennsylvania/Florida
    Posts
    482

    Default Re: getting ready for winter in PA

    As stated, number one, make sure mite counts are under control.

    Secondly, pick whatever size brood chamber you think they can fill with bees, ie , single, double, whatever they can fill with bees.

    After they have had any extra supers, excluder, anything, removed, feed them thick syrup, not sure on the ration, but HFCS #55 works well. feed them until they have the whole area packed full, Do this step once you are sure the fall nectar sources are done. they will continue to pack away thick syrup if fed directly into the hive

    for an insurance policy add a candyboard on top.

    I still think you have a solid month or so of fly time so i would not necessarily enact a feed program now, but i would be putting my plan together. if we happen to get a warm spell and you feed and natural pollen comes in, it may trick the bees into swarming.

    Feeding can be tricky, being dependant on the weather. However having the plan and assets in line to do so is just as important.


    Aaron

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    210

    Default Re: getting ready for winter in PA

    yes- have been checking for mites. was at 5/100 on 2 hives so have done 2 cycles (weekly x 3 for each cycle) of OAV. I plan to do another cycle in a few weeks

    Yep- I understand about the feeding although last year I caused a really late season swarm by overfeeding so I want to be careful and not make them think it's a super resource rich situation out there. I guess I'll invert and put the empty deep up top and feed; I'm assuming it's better to have them pack it way higher than lower. Just wanted to make sure this is a reasonable idea before doing

    thanks

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
    Posts
    2,468

    Default Re: getting ready for winter in PA

    When you fall feed, feed quick and in quantity so it does not seem like a flow. Many, myself included, use 1 gal paint cans. J

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    210

    Default Re: getting ready for winter in PA

    Thanks J
    do you prefer the cans over in hive feeders? With cans outside the hives how do you know if each hive is getting their fair share if some colonies are stronger than others?

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