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I had two hives fail due to being honey bound in june and replaced them with nucs in july.
Its been a tough year and they've really only filled out one deep. I'm feeding 2:1 pretty hard right now in hopes they fill out a second deep but my question is:
Is it better to go into winter with a full deep or a full deep and a partially full deep? Is 1/2 full acceptable? Whats the cut off? It seems like all the empty space might be difficult to heat and leaves a lot of potential for problems like hive beetles and wax moths?
Thanks for any insight
 

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Welcome to the forum hedge. I don't understand all of what you wrote. For overwintering in upstate NY 1 deep is fine if you have 5 or 6 frames honey. So let them be crowded at this point. If you really want to give them more space put the new box under the old box. Your milage in your location may vary. I would not try to winter with any empty frames on top. And let is know more about your hive failures in June?
 

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Do you have any medium supers with honey? I generally winter with one deep and one medium.
 

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What previous poster meant is being honey bound will not cause hive failure,but it does make them swarm. So I have to ask if you checked or treated for mites. Mites will cause a hive to fail.
It is highly unlikely they will fill out another deep in time. I would combine and consolidate them in three deeps now. Brood in lowest two, centered and stores on the sides. Use any leftover honey/nectar/sugar syrup and drawn combs in top deep. Try to get that filled wall to wall
If you are determined to try to get both hives through the winter, do the same thing using insulated follower boards to shrink your brood boxes with the goal of having wall to wall honey in the top box. Plan on adding sugar bricks so add a shim to the top box.
How are you feeding? You need to put it to them fast such as paint can method. J
 

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Sorry I should have clarified.
I had two hives that were very strong coming out of winter. They went into winter with a ton of honey and it was a ver mild winter. Both hives swarmed in very early may which wasn't so bad because I caught both swarms which have since turned into great productive hives. After they swarmed i did an inspection and saw several queens that had hatched and about twenty more swarm cells. I then squashed all the remaining swarm cells. I now think this was a mistake as after 14 days i did an inspection and saw no eggs. I waited another 7 days. In that time they had back filled the entire hive with honey as it was during the height of spring nectar flow. I didn't no about honey bund at that point and sort of thought i was over reacting and they would figure it out. Then in june about a month after swarming i tried to request. That didn't work. Then by the middle of june i had laying workers. I harvested what honey i could and started over with a nuc and used the drawn out frames and removed all drone brood. I did do several mite test coming out of winter and there were virtually no mites to speak of.
 

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i have a very strong hive with two medium super that are filled with honey. Should i give it to one of my weaker hives?
 

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Welcome to the forum hedge. I don't understand all of what you wrote. For overwintering in upstate NY 1 deep is fine if you have 5 or 6 frames honey. So let them be crowded at this point. If you really want to give them more space put the new box under the old box. Your milage in your location may vary. I would not try to winter with any empty frames on top. And let is know more about your hive failures in June?
i think i see what you mean. if they have filled out half a deep with honey put that deep on the bottom and the full deep on top?
 

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Welcome to the forum hedge. I don't understand all of what you wrote. For overwintering in upstate NY 1 deep is fine if you have 5 or 6 frames honey. So let them be crowded at this point. If you really want to give them more space put the new box under the old box. Your milage in your location may vary. I would not try to winter with any empty frames on top. And let is know more about your hive failures in June?
really? i normally try to go in too winter with two deeps and a medium.
 

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really? i normally try to go in too winter with two deeps and a medium.
Both methods work- I switched exclusively to single box overwintering after visiting Paul Kelly (Honey bee research center at University of Guelph). He has been doing it for many years and the winters we get here sometimes are extremely long and cold.
The greatest challenge is reducing 3 deep boxes into 1 at the end of the season - bees simply have no place to go.
This year, I will try to add empty super (deep) underneath, mainly because I have no place to store them now that I have expanded my apiary...
 

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Both methods work- I switched exclusively to single box overwintering after visiting Paul Kelly (Honey bee research center at University of Guelph). He has been doing it for many years and the winters we get here sometimes are extremely long and cold.
The greatest challenge is reducing 3 deep boxes into 1 at the end of the season - bees simply have no place to go.
This year, I will try to add empty super (deep) underneath, mainly because I have no place to store them now that I have expanded my apiary...
that sounds really interesting. i did a quick google search but couldn't find it. would you mind posting it?
 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_oYsyB1PvM&vl=en

University of Guelph has a whole series of vids on beekeeping.

I put boxes of medium undrawn comb under deeps last fall just as a hedge against swarming when forcing the bees down as all honey supers are removed. The bees partially drew them out but did not rear brood in them. I took them off before the queen went down into them this spring and put them above the excluders.

I have done the same box of undrawn mediums and a few with undrawn deeps under my single brood box colonies for this winter. There will be virtually no honey in those boxes but the single brood box is full and capped with mostly sugar syrup. Those combinations are weighing about 110 lbs. gross for bottom board to inner cover.

Maybe next season I will see what happens after pulling the supers off a single deep colony. I had one colony this year where they would not have all fit. 4 mediums supers full of bees besides the full deep brood.

I think Roland puts a deep of empty drawn frames or else foundation only when he closes out for winter. More to learn yet about single deep colonies in the north but so far happy with the concept.

Here is a good read from an outfit doing it for a number of years in Saskatchewan, Canada http://www.pedersenapiaries.ca/revisited.html
 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_oYsyB1PvM&vl=en

University of Guelph has a whole series of vids on beekeeping.

I put boxes of medium undrawn comb under deeps last fall just as a hedge against swarming when forcing the bees down as all honey supers are removed. The bees partially drew them out but did not rear brood in them. I took them off before the queen went down into them this spring and put them above the excluders.

I have done the same box of undrawn mediums and a few with undrawn deeps under my single brood box colonies for this winter. There will be virtually no honey in those boxes but the single brood box is full and capped with mostly sugar syrup. Those combinations are weighing about 110 lbs. gross for bottom board to inner cover.

Maybe next season I will see what happens after pulling the supers off a single deep colony. I had one colony this year where they would not have all fit. 4 mediums supers full of bees besides the full deep brood.

I think Roland puts a deep of empty drawn frames or else foundation only when he closes out for winter. More to learn yet about single deep colonies in the north but so far happy with the concept.

Here is a good read from an outfit doing it for a number of years in Saskatchewan, Canada http://www.pedersenapiaries.ca/revisited.html
wow! This is great thank you!
I'm definitely going to try this method with these hives.
I've been feeding fairly aggressively so the deeps are filled with sugar syrup.
In the spring I'll try this hive management style.
Much appreciated!
 

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When a colony is packed right with good bees and enough stores I will over winter them in 5 frame deep or 8 frame medium, just south of Albany, NY. I do monitor for stores starting in Feb and will feed if needed. Some do some don't. The single deeps if packed in the fall don't need feed in spring. Only on rare occasions do we winter in double 10 frame deeps or bigger. Usually because we did not get our fall management timed correctly. We do put undrawn mediums underneath colonies that are bearding excessively as a slatted rack and leave them until the spring. Some comb gets drawn.
 

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If you already put another box on but they have not filled it you could rearrange frames so the bulk of the honey in drawn frames is overhead and part combs (with brood in the middle, if any) is below. If they only have a bit of honey you could put the partial box on bottom and they will rearrange honey.
Are the boxes full of bees? If yes then I would not combine. Around here we need about 5/8 honey to overwinter. So if you are overwintering in an 8 frame deep, 5 frames of honey is enough. What was the source of your Nucs that you started the hives over with? Seems to me with the drawn comb from the laying worker colony they should have built up more. There may be another underlying issue here....
So now you've experienced the risk of messing with a swarmed colony. Often when people rely on queen cell crushing as swarm prevention they swarm anyway because off in a corner a runty cell gets missed. Sounds like maybe your hives had an after swarm and you crushed the rest of the cells? (but then requeening likely would have worked, unless already laying worker.) Next time you suspect queen issues early in the year add a frame of eggs and check back in 7-10 days. If no sign of a queen and still queen issues repeat. Eventually they will either make queen cells or your queen will start laying. If they draw cells you can pull that frame and requeen.
 
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