2019 Winter solstice - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Default Re: 2019 Winter solstice

    Quote Originally Posted by AR Beekeeper View Post
    A hard inner cover allows the winter cluster to move over the top bars from comb to comb, the flexible cover does not....
    All you do is - put 2-3 pencils between the frames and the cover, cross-ways, if really care.
    Perfect warm passages.


    The hard cover gives better support to foam insulation board when used for top insulation.
    Again, the 2-3 pencils as stated above do the trick.

    micro-climates, those are created in the cells and at the comb's surface and would not extend for any distance.
    The total volume above the frames created by the hard cover is considerable and may amount to 1-2-? litres of air that effects wintering.
    Bees continuously loose energy to that air space - it adds up - they are, essentially, heating the attic.
    The soft cover prevents that (and reduces the energy (i.e. honey) needs).

    HardCoverVSSoftCover.jpg

    Typical honey needs for the winter in E. Euro - 20kilos (50 pounds).
    Partially due to common use of soft inner covers.
    Last edited by GregV; 01-16-2020 at 05:37 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

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  3. #22
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    Catskills, Delaware Cty, New York, USA
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    Default Re: 2019 Winter solstice

    [QUOTE=GregV;1775817]All you do is - put 2-3 pencils between the frames and the cover, cross-ways, if really care.
    Perfect warm passages.



    Again, the 2-3 pencils as stated above do the trick.


    The total volume above the frames created by the hard cover is considerable and may amount to 1-2-? litres of air that effects wintering.
    Bees continuously loose energy to that air space - it adds up - they are, essentially, heating the attic.
    The soft cover prevents that (and reduces the energy (i.e. honey) needs).

    Typical honey needs for the winter in E. Euro - 20kilos (50 pounds).
    Partially due to common use of soft inner covers.[/QUOTE

    Greg, this makes no sense. The bees heat the cluster, not the hive and certainly not the “attic” since there is or should be insulation up top. I have pretty good successful overwintering with wood inner covers and/or shims for food if needed.
    Proverbs 16:24

  4. #23
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    Default Re: 2019 Winter solstice

    Quote Originally Posted by Cloverdale View Post
    Greg, this makes no sense. The bees heat the cluster, not the hive and certainly not the “attic” since there is or should be insulation up top. I have pretty good successful overwintering with wood inner covers and/or shims for food if needed.
    Bees do NOT heat the hive - NOT by their intent.

    However, the cluster continiously looses the heat - by the laws of physics (just like I loose heat or you loose heat in cool/cold room).
    Thereby the bee cluster still heats the air around itself (unintentionally) - predominantly via the updraft of warm air exhausted by the cluster.

    Depending on the specifics (soft cover vs. hard cover - one example) - the cluster is loosing more or less heat.
    Since the cluster must maintain its own core temperature so to stay alive - the bees are forced to exert more effort or less effort in response to the external environment status.

    Discussed to the death, Cloverdale.

    The hard covers will NOT kill your bees.
    The hard covers may simply cost more energy to your bees (in terms of honey and exertion spent).
    As long as they and you can afford it - you are still fine.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  5. #24
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    Mar 2013
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    fairfield, sc
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    Default Re: 2019 Winter solstice

    Starting to feed again in SC and about a month earlier than normal.
    5 days of 70 degree weather and the cabinets are down about 1/2 of its capacity and now a couple more weeks of 30 degree temps.
    Not what I was hoping for, but that's beekeeping.

    Be proactive as much as possible -

  6. #25
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    Default Re: 2019 Winter solstice

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Bees do NOT heat the hive - NOT by their intent.

    However, the cluster continiously looses the heat - by the laws of physics (just like I loose heat or you loose heat in cool/cold room).
    Thereby the bee cluster still heats the air around itself (unintentionally) - predominantly via the updraft of warm air exhausted by the cluster.

    Depending on the specifics (soft cover vs. hard cover - one example) - the cluster is loosing more or less heat.
    Since the cluster must maintain its own core temperature so to stay alive - the bees are forced to exert more effort or less effort in response to the external environment status.

    Discussed to the death, Cloverdale.

    The hard covers will NOT kill your bees.
    The hard covers may simply cost more energy to your bees (in terms of honey and exertion spent).
    As long as they and you can afford it - you are still fine.
    Yes it has been discussed to death Greg which is WHY the heck I am wondering WHY you keep bringing it up. I over winter GREAT with wood inner covers, and I harvested over a TON of honey this past year with wood inner covers!!
    Take a look at the original question!
    Proverbs 16:24

  7. #26
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    Default Re: 2019 Winter solstice

    In cold winters such as we are having, old beekeepers say space above the frames is most important. The space provided by a shim on the underside of the inner cover allows the cluster to move over the top of the frames to stores.

    There is less chance cluster does not get stranded when temp is low.

    I like to think that sugar on top of the frames, in the top brood, provides a bridge to allow the cluster to stay on stores as it moves about.
    Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  8. #27
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    Default Re: 2019 Winter solstice

    The space on top does not have to be large. I simply turn my inner covers over so the 3/8" inch space is to the inside. Lets me stick a piece of pollen patty in there too.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  9. #28
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    Default Re: 2019 Winter solstice

    Quote Originally Posted by Cloverdale View Post
    Yes it has been discussed to death Greg which is WHY the heck I am wondering WHY you keep bringing it up. I over winter GREAT with wood inner covers, and I harvested over a TON of honey this past year with wood inner covers!!
    Take a look at the original question!
    Just because you brought it up.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cloverdale View Post
    ....so to me when I see experienced beekeepers use the flexible inner covers I wonder why......
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  10. #29
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    Oct 2019
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    Wakefield, Rhode Island, USA
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    Default Re: 2019 Winter solstice

    GregV - quoting you "However, the cluster continiously looses the heat - by the laws of physics (just like I loose heat or you loose heat in cool/cold room).
    Thereby the bee cluster still heats the air around itself (unintentionally) - predominantly via the updraft of warm air exhausted by the cluster."

    This statement needs improving, using the "(unintentionally)" is simply wrong, IMO. Cluster heat is generated in the central area and "flows" out via multiple paths. Cluster ventilation is one basic method, surface heat transfer by conduction/convection is another big player. Bees make decisions (somehow) and regulate their internal cluster environment within certain parameters. This concept is well supported.

    BTW, I use 12oz duck cloth with a reason and great success - love using it. I have to investigate "why" I and the bees love it. Now the question is do they control their inner hive environment if given the chance, meaning enclosure design and food access. I think and think I "see" they are quite capable.

  11. #30
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    Default Re: 2019 Winter solstice

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Just because you brought it up.

    Sigh... Candace Owens had this problem of people only quoting a “partial statement” on a subject she spoke about the “media” referred it to something else.
    Proverbs 16:24

  12. #31
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    Sep 2019
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    El Dorado, AR, USA
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    Default Re: 2019 Winter solstice

    I run single deeps and I use treated migratory tops from mann lake. I staple a 3/8 shim on the inside of the lid as to allow a roughly ~1/2" gap above the frames. I also have a 1 1/8" hole drilled in the center to allow for feeding with pails and when not feeding, i put #6 rubber corks in it. I tried using the duck canvas inner cover one year. It made it nice and easy to remove the top, but it also didnt allow the bees to propolize any gaps in the lid, so every time i pulled the top, there would be water on top of the canvas cover from all the rain. My winters dont get cold often here so the temperature isn't to blame for poor hives come spring. I Think the most critical thing here is to make sure there are adequate pollen reserves end of fall. i can feed 2:1 syrup all winter. They take it when they can and don't when they can't.

    One thing I do that I think really help their numbers in the spring is to ensure they backfill the broodnest with syrup after the last pollen. NOT so they can consume it all during the winter, but as to limit the queens ability to lay eggs during the winter. Around here, the queen lays all throughout winter and if she has enough room, she'll give you 5-6 frames of brood in december-january (I checked hives 3 days ago, 50% of them have 4-6 frames of brood and massive amounts of bees). I'f that happens, the resources in the hives get consumed at a massive rate and your "explosive" hives in january will starve before first pollen. So it means I have to get out there and actually feed them for a month or 2 to keep them alive.

    I think the bees can handle the cold SO much better than most people think. I believe in the south most peoples winter deaths are a product of excessive resource use due to higher temperatures causing starvation early spring.

    I'm curious what everyone else does during the winter. I'm always open to new ideas.

  13. #32
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    Default Re: 2019 Winter solstice

    I make no bones about it, I feed, feed, feed. Syrup stays on the hives all winter unless there is a deep or medium full of capped stores on the hive. Dry pollen sub is always available, the girls will take it when they want it, and patties just went into the hives last week. Just took a cursory look at the apiary. 52 and shady, but the pollen foragers were busy. Probably 50-60 bees in the feeder but very little activity otherwise. That tells me something. Noticed some mildew on the tele top of one hive. They are getting a shim with an upper entrance. Those bees are in the bottom box with a full and an empty super above them.
    My take on feeding here in the South is that the bees are going to brood based on weather and having adequate stores in the hive. The bees they are producing now will be my foragers when the flow starts. If they run low on protein due to a sudden cold snap or weeks of rain, the new brood will not get the proper nutrition to be good foragers later and my honey crop will suffer. It is my job as a beekeeper to manage for potential swarming so that is NOT an excuse to not feed.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  14. #33
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    El Dorado, AR, USA
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    Default Re: 2019 Winter solstice

    JWPalmer, I think you are absolutely correct in saying the bees are going to brood based on weather. However, based on Randy Oliver's article 'Understanding colony build up and decline', brood rearing is also affected by the amount of pollen coming in.

    I guess the question is, what is the effect of feeding pollen during winter? Does it affect brood rearing? If so, is it a substantial amount as to cause over consumption of resources? I wonder if you were to not feed pollen to a few hives and keep the syrup to them, would they be more efficient with the pollen reserves they already have stored? Or would they end up being dinks (or worse) come spring?

  15. #34
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    Default Re: 2019 Winter solstice

    My main concern is whether or not I have a sufficiently large enough foraging force to take advantage of the extremely short flow we have here in VA. While hives in other parts of the country are still building, our nectar flow is done for the year. I believe what Randy says is true. So I use it to my advantage; I want my hives to build up, and do it early. As beekeepers, not beehavers, we need to know what provisions the hives have available to them. A normal healthy hive in an area that has a fall flow typically will have several frames of pollen stored. In that case, additional pollen sub is not necessary. The bees will start raising brood and using that pollen before new pollen is available. Of course they really pick up the pace as the flow starts. Contrast that to areas of the South that do not have a fall flow. No, or very little, pollen gets stored for overwintering. Come spring there is nothing available so the bees wait until there is. Hence a delay in brood rearing and a less than spectacular honey crop. Virginia honey yields are not that spectaular to begin with. We average in the 32-36# per hive range.
    Last edited by JWPalmer; 01-19-2020 at 04:33 PM.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  16. #35
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    El Dorado, AR, USA
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    Default Re: 2019 Winter solstice

    Ah ha! Hence the reason why beekeeping is always local. I completely understand your reasoning now. Your bees are brooding with a purpose. My bees are brooding to lighten my wallet.

  17. #36
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    Wakefield, Rhode Island, USA
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    Default Re: 2019 Winter solstice

    JWPalmer: When does your flow start and stop typically? I am significantly North of you. I have a hive that nailed the Spring, Summer and Fall flow last year. This hive started significant brood rearing early, March, as evidenced by a dramatic temperature rise in the hive. Initially it scared me but then I saw the pollen and then the honey (April 1). I see internal hive temperatures, feed and rain patterns as the dominating indicators.

  18. #37
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    Default Re: 2019 Winter solstice

    Here in Richmond it has warmed back up yet again. Only had about four nights in the low twenties. Rain today so I am making more pollen patties. There are as many recipes out there as there are beeks that make their own. Most share three things in common, protein, carbohydrates, and lipids. Everything else is discretionary.

    This is the recipe I used today:

    15# sugar
    8 cups water
    1 cup ACV
    1cup lemon juice
    1-1/2 teaspoon citric acid
    2 cups salad oil
    14# Ultrabee pollen sub

    I mix the sugar, water, ACV, and lemon juice in a large pot and heat just until the sugar disolves. Then I add the citrric acid and salad oil. Into this I add about 12# of the UltraBee. I use an electric mixer with beaters until it is well blended. Then I switched over to the dough hooks and added the remaining 2# of sub. Once mixed it is like a soft bread dough and only slightly sticky. Roll out between wax paper while still warm as it gets stiff once cool. This recipe made 35# of patty.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  19. #38
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    Jan 2015
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    powhatan, virginia, usa
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    Default Re: 2019 Winter solstice

    Confirmation things are way to warm, was inspecting all my fruit trees around the farm and noticed my early plum is trying to bloom. Not good she’s completely swollen and some of the higher buds are starting to open. Maple and rest of fruit trees have not. This plum is always 1-2 weeks ahead of all other fruit trees, but this is ridiculous. I hardly ever get fruit from her (late frost gets her blooms), but the bees are on her every late feb early March. You can hear the tree humming from 50 ft away in the earliest parts of spring.

  20. #39
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    Default Re: 2019 Winter solstice

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Here in Richmond it has warmed back up yet again. Only had about four nights in the low twenties. Rain today so I am making more pollen patties. There are as many recipes out there as there are beeks that make their own. Most share three things in common, protein, carbohydrates, and lipids. Everything else is discretionary.

    This is the recipe I used today:

    15# sugar
    8 cups water
    1 cup ACV
    1cup lemon juice
    1-1/2 teaspoon citric acid
    2 cups salad oil
    14# Ultrabee pollen sub

    I mix the sugar, water, ACV, and lemon juice in a large pot and heat just until the sugar disolves. Then I add the citrric acid and salad oil. Into this I add about 12# of the UltraBee. I use an electric mixer with beaters until it is well blended. Then I switched over to the dough hooks and added the remaining 2# of sub. Once mixed it is like a soft bread dough and only slightly sticky. Roll out between wax paper while still warm as it gets stiff once cool. This recipe made 35# of patty.
    J.w, I guess ACV is apple cider vinegar; any particular brand? And have you any recommendations for over the counter pollen patties or just make them yourself because they are lacking? I think I have Lauri Miller’s recipe somewhere. Thanks
    Proverbs 16:24

  21. #40
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    Default Re: 2019 Winter solstice

    I make them because I am cheap. I have purchased the Ultrabee pre-made patties before, but they can be pricey compared to just mixing them up yourself. Since I am using Ultrabee powder, I think nutritionally they are about the same with the homemade patties having a higher % crude protein by weight. I use a store brand apple cider vinagar, but make sure it is made from real apple cider. The addition of the vinigar, lemon juice, and citric acid is all supposed to help invert the sugar. Whether this works or is even necessary, I don't know. Half of today's batch will be on the hives tomorrow so I get a chance to see how the bees like this version.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

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