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This is my first year raising these little guys. I have one hive now. My question is, can I build an enclosure around them to keep them warmer and the wind and snow off of them? I purchased a small green house from Harbor Freight to build around them, then thought I better check to see if this is a stupid idea??? I have been feeding them sugar water 50/50,, good or bad idea? They seem to like it but that doesn’t mean it is good to do???
Any resources for wintering would be appreciated. I also, don’t know about disease and mites?
Thank you and sorry for the noob questions, I just don’t want to loose these guys.
Thanks
Sean
 

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Hi Sch and welcome to the forum. Over wintering your hive in an enclosed space, especially a greenhouse is a bad idea. Look at the thread in this section a few down from this one and there is a discussion about over wintering indoors. Feeding is a good idea if they need it but you should be feeding 2:1 or 5:3 in the fall because it will take less time for them to dry it. Don't know your temps or feeder you are using, but they won't take it at less than 50 degrees. You should have been testing for mite load throughout the year and treating when necessary. Sometimes a new colony that is virtually mite free when obtained can make it through the first winter. However, it is probably likely that you have a high mite load which will make it difficult for them to survive. Not knowing your mite counts makes this a total guess, but sad to say the odds are against your hive surviving the winter/early spring. Hope I am wrong! J
 

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I don't know what the temperatures or wind are like in Ohio in the winter but I can tell you how I've overwintered in the past in Wyoming, beekeeping is local.

Rather than using a greenhouse I would wrap the colony with black felt/roofing paper. You can pick it up from local hardware stores for a decent price. I also put insulation over the top cover since all of my colonies have migratory tops, I use the foam insulation boards and cut them to size then duct tape the felt paper and the foam together so they don't blow off. Try not to get to crazy with the duct tape so you can pop the top if need be for an inspection. Moisture in the past has seemed to be my number one killer, some shims placed underneath the top cover provide for an upper entrance and for a little bit of ventilation. This year I think I'm going to make a 1 or 2" frame to go around the edge of the upper most deep to provide an air gap to place sugar bricks, I'll put a 3/8" notch on one side of the frame to allow for ventilation and an upper entrance. Currently I'm trying to hold off until mid to late November before I go back out to the apiaries and seal everything up with sugar bricks, hopefully this will be enough to get them through until mid February.

I don't know how invested your are in sinking money into treatments or additional equipment but I would consider looking up Oxalic Acid Vaporizers and treating your colony right now, especially because they're probably broodless. You may have waited to long to treat and your mite loads may be detrimentally high to the point the colony might not recover but there again maybe not; all you can do is try. If worse comes to worse and you lose the colony chalk it up as a good learning experience and catch a swarm this next year and try again.

Best of luck!
 

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Thank you very much for your response! I do not know how to check for mites, I will immediately begins treating though.
Sean

QUOTE=Moon;1676905]I don't know what the temperatures or wind are like in Ohio in the winter but I can tell you how I've overwintered in the past in Wyoming, beekeeping is local.

Rather than using a greenhouse I would wrap the colony with black felt/roofing paper. You can pick it up from local hardware stores for a decent price. I also put insulation over the top cover since all of my colonies have migratory tops, I use the foam insulation boards and cut them to size then duct tape the felt paper and the foam together so they don't blow off. Try not to get to crazy with the duct tape so you can pop the top if need be for an inspection. Moisture in the past has seemed to be my number one killer, some shims placed underneath the top cover provide for an upper entrance and for a little bit of ventilation. This year I think I'm going to make a 1 or 2" frame to go around the edge of the upper most deep to provide an air gap to place sugar bricks, I'll put a 3/8" notch on one side of the frame to allow for ventilation and an upper entrance. Currently I'm trying to hold off until mid to late November before I go back out to the apiaries and seal everything up with sugar bricks, hopefully this will be enough to get them through until mid February.

I don't know how invested your are in sinking money into treatments or additional equipment but I would consider looking up Oxalic Acid Vaporizers and treating your colony right now, especially because they're probably broodless. You may have waited to long to treat and your mite loads may be detrimentally high to the point the colony might not recover but there again maybe not; all you can do is try. If worse comes to worse and you lose the colony chalk it up as a good learning experience and catch a swarm this next year and try again.

Best of luck![/QUOTE]
 

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You're about 90 miles north of me so similar weather. I don't wrap, etc. my hives. I placed my hives to take advantage of a dip in a hill for a natural windbreak being on top of a tall hill. If you hive is exposed, consider some type of windbreak with respect to prevailing winds. 50-50 should be 100-50 if the first number is sugar this time of year. At a wild guess, you should make sure they have at least 40 pounds of honey/syrup going into the winter. Check that during warm spells during the winter and be ready to supplement if needed. Sugar bricks on top of the frames are a good emergency source as well. If you haven't checked for mites, I can assure you they're there. Agree that OAV (Oxalic Acid Vapor) treatment is needed. OAV would necessitate buying a wand for about $100 and Oxalic Acid (Wood Bleach at your local hardware store, make sure it's 99."X" purity). If funds are tight, still buy the Oxalic Acid and also a 50ml syringe from Tractor Supply, etc. and do OAD (Oxalic Acid Drip/Dribble). Not as effective as vapor, but kills some of the mites. The bees do a very good job of heating the cluster (bee grouping inside the hive) provided there's enough of them, health is good, and they have ADEQUATE food. They also do a very good job of cooling the hive during hot summer days by fanning. Both heating and cooling require physical exertion which consumes food resources. If in a greenhouse, they'd be trying to cool during sunny days and then heating at night.

So, do some online research on sugar bricks, OAD, OAV, hive weight, 2:1 syrup for fall feeding and 1:1 syrup (what you're feeding now) for spring feeding.

We've all been where you are now, somewhat overwhelmed at first. However, you're feeding them and asking questions, which is the way to succeed.

Good luck,
 
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