Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I am a second year beekeeper and I want to be sure my hive is ready for the winter. I lost my hive last year, I think from starvation. I have been feeding my hive for the past 3-4 weeks with 1/1 sugar syrup. I live in Southern Connecticut so the winter can be quite cold but you never really know what to expect. The bees are taking between a qt and half gallon of syrup daily. The bees are in two deep boxes now and they are both pretty full. The bottom box is completely full with brood and sugar syrup/honey. The top box is full except for maybe two frames with all syrup/honey. I haven’t done a test for mites, but I have read that a first year hive, mites should not be a problem. When I open the hive for inspections, I can see around 20 or more SHB. I have been using beetle blaster type traps, and the beetles that I see are mostly hiding in the bottom of the frames in the cracks between the wood and foundation. Should I add a medium super at this time or is it too late in the season. I had the medium super on late in the summer but I took it off because they never really did much with it and I didn’t want to give the beetles the extra space. The hive seems much larger now than when I took it off, I guess because of the feeding? When I checked it yesterday, it was the most active I have ever seen it with bees covering the entrance and hundreds of bees flying around the front. They seemed pretty calm though so I don’t think there was any robbing going on. I assume it is much to late for them to swarm, so I guess it was just because it was a really nice day (sunny and in the lower 70’s) and the hive has been growing. Is there anything else I should be doing to prepare for winter. I don’t want to lose my hive again this winter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,055 Posts
TReat for mites first and foremost! I personally favor apiguard for a stronger colony such as yours or Oxalic acid vaporization. I do sugar rolls to access my mite levels and directions for the procedure are on facebook or detailed here in old posts. OA vaporization would require a relatively large initial investment or a loan from another beekeeper. By your narrative the colony seems well provisioned. The way you are feeding, a constant flow of pretty dilute syrup will keep the bees raising brood past the time of year where they should be shutting down for winter. I personally weigh the hive and if it is 125-140 lbs, they no longer require feeding.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,111 Posts
jshanon "I have read that a first year hive, mites should not be a problem. " Where did you read this? You have mites and better learn to treat them. It may be too late as mite loads are exploding by now in SNE.

I lost five of my first 6 hives built from packages in the first two year. In some cases by Thanksgiving with DWV. Did you treat your package before brood showed up?

Tibits from a Contrarian beekeeper for our area; 1) treat, 2) feed to a net weight of stored honey ( 60 to 80 lb.), 3) feed 2:1, 4) insulate, minimum - wind block
 

·
Registered
5 ,8 ,10 frame, and long Lang
Joined
·
2,226 Posts
TReat for mites first and foremost! I personally favor apiguard for a stronger colony such as yours or Oxalic acid vaporization. I do sugar rolls to access my mite levels and directions for the procedure are on facebook or detailed here in old posts. OA vaporization would require a relatively large initial investment or a loan from another beekeeper. By your narrative the colony seems well provisioned. The way you are feeding, a constant flow of pretty dilute syrup will keep the bees raising brood past the time of year where they should be shutting down for winter. I personally weigh the hive and if it is 125-140 lbs, they no longer require feeding.
+1 on treat for Mites

Consider:
wind break
is the cover in good shape and water proof
wrap or insulate
Mouse guards
stores vrs population
reduce entrance

GG
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
219 Posts
I lost my hive last year, I think from starvation.
I suspect you may have lost them to mites last year and it may happen again if you don't treat... Based on the quantities you described, starvation is no longer a concern, but please treat for mites ASAP.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
It’s my first winter beekeeping. I tested treated three times for mites this year and did a brood break in July to keep mites low. My biggest hive has 100lbs+ of honey packed away and they are still taking lots of syrup. I’m wondering when I should start condensing down boxes? It’s going to be 80’s high and 30’s low next week in the high desert.

Welcome input - many thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
219 Posts
I’m wondering when I should start condensing down boxes?
I do that as soon as I take the last honey harvest before the end of fall flow. I did it a couple of weeks ago, but your area may be different. The earlier you do it, the better as bees will have more time to prepare their winter nest. If it is too cold, they can't make any more changes and it may not be optimal for them.
 

·
Registered
6a 4th yr 7 colonies inc. resource hive
Joined
·
571 Posts
If I were in your physical shoes I would throw strips of Apivar in immediately. Mites # 1,2,3 killer. Period. Put them in their winter config and set aside a tote with emergency feed frames. II have a "bee closet" for my small apiary chock full of bee stuff. Learn about quilt boxes and put one on. We will help you through wrapping when we know more about you. Most important thing are mites and hope it's not too late.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I ordered some apiguard. Should receive it in the next day or two. I’ll be sure to use it as soon as I get it. I think they should Be ok with food. They’ve been taking around 1/2 gal of 1/1 syrup per day for over three weeks now. Last year I put hard styrofoam around the hive with Bungee cords.the styrofoam is about 1” thick. This year I switched to a screened bottom board. Should I close that up too. I’ve read condensation can be an issue if there is not enough ventilation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
219 Posts
This year I switched to a screened bottom board. Should I close that up too. I’ve read condensation can be an issue if there is not enough ventilation.
I keep them closed, I noticed that my bees like solid boards better, but I prefer the screen so I can check for mite drops every day after treatment. I leave small top entrance (on the inner cover) for ventilation, I let them decide if thy need it - sometimes they reduce it to single bee size with propolis. I use 2" foam around some hives and nothing on others without much noticeable difference, but I have not had too many winters in this config to draw conclusions yet.
 

·
Registered
6a 4th yr 7 colonies inc. resource hive
Joined
·
571 Posts
PS- we can help you better if you put your location in your profile settings. I use a screened bottom board with an inspection tray over the top of a solid bottom board. So the screen is only there to study mite drops from treatments and study hive trash. There’s a lot to learn from when you pull your boards. Right now I’m seeing brown toasty bits which means my well fed colonies are hatching winter bees. I run a medium, deep, medium config. I use a Bee cozy, lower entrance with mouseguard, upper entrance, vivaldi boards, 2 inches of insulation under and over tele cover. Topped with coroplast awning weighted with cinder block ratcheted down for wind.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top