Winter Combining for Resources?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    AA, MI, USA
    Posts
    8

    Default Winter Combining for Resources?

    Has anyone ever tried using resources from a deadout for a colony that is still going? Assuming I'm not concerned about transmission of disease?

    I had 8 hives going into the winter. Two had fairly high might counts when I tested in September (had been acceptable when I tested several times previously in the season using an alcohol wash) and the mite counts didn't drop significantly after treatment with Formic Pro. Sure enough one of those colonies died fairly early on, while the other is still hanging on. The other 6 colonies also continue to survive. However when I weighed the hives going into the winter, and then again a week or so ago, one is notably lighter than the others, which has me thinking if it would be possible to transfer resources from the deadout into this colony to bolster their winter supply.

    My initial thought was to transfer an entire super of honey from the deadout to the light colony, putting it at the very top, but then I remembered that I had used the mountain camp method, so that the honey super would have to sit on the shim, above the pile of sugar. My next thought was that I could add it to the bottom, just above the bottom board, or maybe even the middle, splitting the two deeps, but I have always heard that bees won't move down for food, and I don't want to risk splitting the cluster by breaking apart the boxes.

    So my questions are, has anyone else ever tried doing something similar, and how was it accomplished? Or should I just forget the whole thing and if that light colony ends up needing to be fed, feed with candy or fondant or whatever other type of seasonally appropriate method is available?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    5,045

    Default Re: Winter Combining for Resources?

    If small population is their main weakness giving them more space to temperature control probably wont be an asset. Yes, in cold conditions the bees wont go down for resources. If stores are low, slipping a couple of well stocked frames in at the edge of the cluster might help. If it is on its way out the drawn comb in the weak hive is the thing of value. Protect it from mice and mold.
    Frank

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,491

    Default Re: Winter Combining for Resources?

    Since you already committed to the MC sugar feeding - leave it alone.
    It ain't broken - DON'T fix it.

    The dead-out resources will be valuable in spring when it will be warm enough for the bees to roam the hives freely.
    Then you can add the resource frames at the edges as needed where-ever needed (especially for any splitting projects).
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Grand Rapids MI USA
    Posts
    1,586

    Default Re: Winter Combining for Resources?

    I concur w/ GregV, if the bees are on the sugar it would be a major disruption to get it off and put the new box on. I just added a box to a hive but they had just moved up to the top bars and no sugar yet, so it was easy to strip the feeder ring off and put the box on.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    AA, MI, USA
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Winter Combining for Resources?

    I appreciate everyone's input. It sounds like the thing to do is to continue with dry sugar/candy/fondant as needed and then possibly use the resources in the spring when things start to warm up a little. At the same time as crofter mentions, there's value just in having the drawn comb and the honey contained within when it comes time to make increases a little later on.

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