Winter configuration question
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Nottingham, PA
    Posts
    133

    Default Winter configuration question

    I have 8 frame hives and have been overwintering with 2 deeps. Some of my hives have mediums above the 2 deeps but there's not enough honey to warrant extracting. Should I place those on the bottom of the stack for winter? If so, when should I do this?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Northeast PA
    Posts
    336

    Default Re: Winter configuration question

    Is the 2nd deep 90-100% full of capped frames of honey?

    I looked at the map. You're basically in Virginia. Probably could get away with just 2 deeps, as long as the 2nd deep is 90-100% full of capped honey.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    4,546

    Default Re: Winter configuration question

    Username00101, you need to buy a new map. Last time I looked, the Pittsburg area was not even close to to VA. Youngstown, OH is closer to Nottingham than Winchester! Be that as it may, I would keep the mediums above the brood boxes and feed until they were full. Most hives will do fine on what is in two deeps. I am trying a few hives here in Richmond, VA with a medium over two deeps, just to see how strong they are in the spring.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Lumpkin County, GA
    Posts
    884

    Default Re: Winter configuration question

    At this time of year, the last thing I would do is to rearrange frames in a hive.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Nottingham, PA
    Posts
    133

    Default Re: Winter configuration question

    Thanks. It's more a question of where to put the 3rd box rather than a question of how much food they have. The hives are heavy enough without the partially filled box. I also feed fondant.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Plumas County, California, USA
    Posts
    251

    Default Re: Winter configuration question

    RobA, I would leave the box on top. Bees move upward during winter, and if you have a long cold spring, the extra food will be there for them. If they have enough food in the two brood boxes, though, you could always just remove the super, which would give the bees a smaller space for warmth conservation. If you do keep the super on, probably a good idea to feed so they can fill it as much as possible.
    Year 4
    Zone 7b 3500 ft.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Deep Brook, NS, Canada
    Posts
    605

    Default Re: Winter configuration question

    Quote Originally Posted by RobA View Post
    I have 8 frame hives and have been overwintering with 2 deeps. Some of my hives have mediums above the 2 deeps but there's not enough honey to warrant extracting. Should I place those on the bottom of the stack for winter? If so, when should I do this?
    You can pull the supers and leave them out in the yard so the bees can clean them out. Keep them a couple of hundred feet away from the bee yard.
    I want bees that make up for my mistakes.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Nottingham, PA
    Posts
    133

    Default Re: Winter configuration question

    Quote Originally Posted by gnor View Post
    You can pull the supers and leave them out in the yard so the bees can clean them out. Keep them a couple of hundred feet away from the bee yard.
    Thanks. I wound up doing this last week. Worked well.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Spring, Texas
    Posts
    292

    Default Re: Winter configuration question

    I have the same problem. What to do with the extra frames after I rob today. I am afraid that I have too many bees for just the two deeps and our flow will go another month.

    A different question I asked was do a lot of the people here redo their deeps putting most of the honey in the top deep and the brood in the bottom deep? Our temps for Houston are lows in the 50's and upper 80's for this week.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    Wakefield, Rhode Island, USA
    Posts
    280

    Default Re: Winter configuration question

    I am in southern RI near the ocean. I put a medium on the bottom which remains typically empty of stores year round. It is used by the bees like a subway / transfer station in summer and a cold sump in winter to condense hive moisture. Being Contrarian I run a deep and a medium above the bottom medium then insure, by syrup feeding, that they have 60 lb. minimum to a nominal 80 lb. (prefered) of stored nectar or syrup based honey for the winter. I measure this around mid- November (I weigh each hive). I also 2-inch foam insulate with no top vent ( year-round). I do not emergency feed in winter but may feed around early-April to accelerate build-up for early foraging for floral honey if I find a "light" hive. Then I put supers on about May 1st. OF course weather pattern plays a role and I have not drowned a bee in 3 years.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Posts
    1,234

    Default Re: Winter configuration question

    It looks like Nottingham is in climate zone 6B. I am in zone 6B. I run 8 frame hives because geezer back. I winter on two 8 frame deeps. In late August I arrange my frames so that all of the brood is in the bottom box. I put on a queen excluder. I have two reasons for that.
    1. So that when I do my fall mite treatment I only have one brood box.
    2. My goal is to have them fill all the frames in the top deep and then form a honey dome in the bottom box.


    Arranging the broodnest to the bottom in August seems to work for me. As soon as I see nectar and syrup in the bottoms of the frames in the top box I remove the queen excluder. The excluder usually doesn't have to stay on for very long.

    I checked last weekend and on every hive I've got 8 capped frames now. That is enough for them where I am at. We have long turbulent springs with big temperature swings so the bees can't consistently forage until late May. This year we had snow in June. If your spring is milder and the can get out to fly earlier you should be OK. If not then a mountain camp will get them there.

    I have also wintered a few times on a single 8 frame deep with a full 8 frame medium above it. I had two colonies this year that I moved from nucs this summer that barely filled out their bottom box, they both got mediums donated to them. In those cases I had to add sugar bricks but if they are healthy in December they do make it through.
    Zone 6B

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