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Discussion Starter #1
I have a hive in an out yard. 10 frame equipment, double deep brood chamber and I had left a medium super half filled with honey over the inner cover from the fall.

I checked the hive 2 days ago in warmer weather here in south central Pennsylvania. I was hoping the super would be empty, and I'd remove it, add a sheet of newspaper and an empty medium super, dump in some dry sugar and be on my way.

When I checked, the medium super has approximately 10% of the honey remaining and maybe a hundred or two bees on it. I ended up removing the super, adding the newspaper and sugar to the top of the inner cover (along with another empty medium spacer super). I didn't know what to so with the mostly empty honey super, so I left it on top of the hive, put the outer cover on and walked away. The honey super has a hole so the bees in it could fly out and down into the hive, they can't access the hive directly as the inner cover hole is blocked by the sugar pile.

I'm going to check to see if the bees left the super today, and take along a brush to remove them if they haven't. Is it OK to leave the medium super on top of the mountain camp feed set up, as long as I tape up the hole in the super? Or should I just remove the super and freeze the few frames that have honey on them?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
 

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If it has been very cold, I would guess the bees so isolated are dead or will be. I doubt they will figure out the route back inside the hive. Mountain camp sugar is normally poured on a newspaper directly on the top bars of the upper brood body. The sugar on the inner cover may never be discovered. You have done nothing fatal to the colony chances are and can and should correct these things. I doubt that Pennsylvania will have weather conducive to wax moths or any other hymenoptera flying for several months. I doubt you need concern your self with freezing any frames, I bet that has already been taken care of. If the super was mine, I would put it with the rest of my supers in storage. Merry Christmas.
 

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I suggest you remove the inner cover. The only way for them to get to the sugar now is thru the hand hold. That doesn't give them much access to the sugar.

I have been feeding dry sugar for years, well before it got known amongst beesource members as The Mountain Camp Method. In my opinion the it is best to keep the space above the top bars as shallow as possible. A 1 1/2" frame the size of the top of a super is all you need.

Take off the covers, apply the rim, lay a sheet of newspaper across the top bars in the rim and pour 5 lbs of sugar onto the paper. Moisture generated by the bees and the environment will dampen the paper and the sugar. The bees will chew through the paper and eat the sugar, which is now somewhat hardened by the moisture. Call that The Squeak Creek Method if you want. lol :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Vance. I will pull the medium and store in the Garage. I don't like that the honey wasn't cleaned out of it, as I don't want the ants to find it. I will probably put the super back on the hive in March, so hopefully before things get too warm (ants and moths more active).

Last night was just below freezing, so I will find out if the honey foragers made it or not tonight.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Sqkcrk, would you still recommend removing inner cover if I used a full medium for the rim spacer? That extra depth seems like it would allow a lot more heat to rise than just a little 1 1/2" spacer frame you mention.
 

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Remove the inner cover, yes. You can use an empty medium or shallow super, but that extra space doesn't do anything for you. It may actually make space by which cluster warmth is lost. That's why I prefer the shallow space.
 

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Good advice to use a short rim, but if you don't have one available don't let that stop you. Use an empty box if you need to. You will probably find that the bees will cluster directly under the newspaper. There will be some heat loss using an empty super, but the sugar acts as an overhead dome and will provide some cluster heat retention.
 

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Take out the empty frames, leave the full frames. Put a sheet of newspaper under the empty space in the box and fill the empty space with sugar dampening slightly by spraying with with water to get it to clump and not run down into the hive.
 

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Sounds like a mess in the making. Especially in the hives whose colonies die anyway.
 

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My question is why did he have to do anything? Leave it the way it was and let the bees take the rest of the honey. Maybe a month from now he could pull off the super and do mountain camp if he thought the stores are low. And then again, why should they be low even a month from now?
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Merry Christmas everyone. So I checked on the hive and removed the medium super. Only three frames had any honey on them at this point, the largest an area maybe 2 in he's higher by 7 inches wide on one face. The other two frames also only had honey left on a single face, much smaller area of honey.

Here's what the outside looked like:


There were only 10-15 dead bees above the sugar, so I guess some found the exit during the two day warm spell (50-60 degree days).


I saved as much sugar as I could, putting in a bucket and removed the inner cover to find the cluster hanging from it, covering most of frames 2-6. I placed a sheet of newspaper on top and put an empty medium super on to hold the paper in place. I sprinkled sugar onto it, hoping the bees would move as the sugar pressed the paper down.





I leveled the sugar and placed a fairly snug fitting piece of foam insulation in top of the sugar, inside the empty medium. I didn't have a feeder rim handy, but had the insulation. I laid extra scraps of insulation on top. Then put the outer cover back.



Mike Gilmore thanks for the encouragement. Michael Bush thanks for your awesome website and for taking the time to help out so many here. I may have just filled the empty space with sugar, but there were no full frames of honey, so I just let my kids eat it from the frames with spoons.

Ace, the hive felt light to me, and I have had good luck wintering with dry sugar above the cover in the past. The odd balls for me was when I found the mostly empty medium I wasn't sure what to do so I left it on top of the hive, above a pile of sugar, with bees on it and an exit for them. I wasn't happy with the setup so I sought advice here.

Sqkcrk, I'll have to make some feeder rims, good winter project.
 

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Ace, the hive felt light to me,
I am just confused on the configuration. You had two deeps then another deep and medium on top of the inner cover. I would think that is a strange overwintering configuration for PA especially when you say it is now light. Is the top entrance just a small hole in the side of the medium? With the bottom entrance choked off I would expect moisture issues unless you have a SBB. If you had a top entrance all season and no bottom entrance it might be that your bottom deep is empty and was empty so you essentially had a single deep hive with a lot of boxes on it. Maybe too much to defend.
Looking from the top I would say your cluster looks fine now. What do others think.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Brian, the first picture was a goofy configuration for two days. Since early fall the medium had been on top of the hive, with the hole covered up. I use the bottom entrance with one of those sheet metal drop down reducers/mouse guards.

When I checked the hive at the start of the warm up (upper 60s) I was hoping to remove the medium frames and place the dry sugar in their place. But there was still some honey and as I mentioned a hundred or so bees eating the honey. I didn't have my gloves or brush so I kind of panicked and grabbed the extra deep I had with me, used that as a spacer, then put the medium on top. I opened the upper entrance, hoping some of the bees would escape. The next day was into the 50s so I guess some left via the hole in the medium. I usually leave the holes open when nectar is coming in and close the hole when over wintering.

Ventilation is something else I need to improve on, I know some use the notch in he inner cover, but if that is above a sealed block of sugar how does it help vent the heated cluster? Maybe holes below the handle in the upper deep brood box would provide ventilation, but I'd worry about chilling the cluster. Maybe I'm just thinking like a human.

I do like to provide a tape or sticker wind/rain baffle over the holes in the supers, not sure if it helps but seems like it should help keep the hive dry.
 

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Just love it when it all comes together. Nice job bdeaner. It still might help a little to put a little shim under the cover to let excess moisture get out if you haven't already done so or just keep checking inside the roof for condensation throughout the winter and adjust it from there if there are issues.

Steve Burton
 

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I know some use the notch in he inner cover,
The notch faces down toward the brood chamber way better than venting through the hand hole which is in the center and could chill brood. When ever you have a hole in the side of the box there won't be any brood raised there. Bees are smart. If you have a hole in the center top of the hive you force them to crowd in the corners and then they can't access the honey in the center.

I do like to provide a tape or sticker wind/rain baffle over the holes in the supers, not sure if it helps but seems like it should help keep the hive dry.
It is qewt but you can also drill the hole in an upward angle and save yourself some time.;)
 

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The sugar collects the moisture. So I don't know that propping the cover will do much.
 

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Ventilation is something else I need to improve on, I know some use the notch in he inner cover, but if that is above a sealed block of sugar how does it help vent the heated cluster? Maybe holes below the handle in the upper deep brood box would provide ventilation, but I'd worry about chilling the cluster. Maybe I'm just thinking like a human.
Sorry, posted my last post before seeing your last post. Most candy boards are made with a hole in them the vent the moist are or are made in such a way that the entire block is secured above the top entrance. Here's a good link for the latter; http://robo.bushkillfarms.com/beekeeping/emergency-feeding/

If you're bored, here's another recent thread you might find interesting;
http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?291898-quilt-box-with-candy-board

Getting a handle on maintaining the proper relative humidity in a hive and preventing condensation from raining down on the bees in this climate has been a disaster-driven goal for me. But the reward is stronger, healthier hives. Likely, thinking like a human is what helped me achieve the goal.

Good luck,
Steve Burton
 

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The sugar collects the moisture. So I don't know that propping the cover will do much.
I agree 100% Mark. Must be my girls are heavy breathers because I still had condensation issues despite SBB, notched inner covers, newspaper/sugar, and the Bill Crowell mandatory 1/2" hole under the hand holds of the brood boxes! Must be my bees think their boxes are sexy too! (Sorry, couldn't resist referring to another post of yours...still feeling the effects of the Christmas cheer! Merry Christmas!)

Steve Burton
 
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