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I'D LIKE TO KNOW how to keep the hives in winter in America? It is said that some beekeepers will kill their bees before winter and buy caged bees in the next spring. Is it really? If it is true,the cost will be too expensive.If the beekeepers keep their hives in winter, the queens will spawn. How do they deal with the queens?
 

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This "tradition" is no longer practiced amongst most, dare I say 99% of, beekeepers in America. Some people used to do it, but not anymore.

When it was done, bees were killed and honey was harvested and then, in the spring, packages of bees, a screen sided box, and a queen were dumped into a hive of combs and off they went producing honey again. That's an over simplification, of course.

We may have some folks on beesource who still do this, at least to a certain extent. I know that there have been some who do have done this in the recent past. Maybe they will speak from experience.

Do you keep bees in Taiwan? What is that like for you? What kind? Where do you get them from?
 

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"America" (assuming we are narrowing it down to continintal US of America) is still a wide variety of climates from tropical to sub artic. So techniques and success varies widely. Typically hives in the north are overwintered in double deeps in hives weighing between 100 and 150 pounds. Details vary greatly such as wrapping or not, insulating the inner cover or not etc...
 

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When packages were cheaper, some, especially midsized commercial keepers, figured that the profit from that extra 40 pounds of honey plus the cost of sugar, was more than the cost of a new package. I do not condone this practice, both out of respect for the bees and a sense of sustainability. Bees are well-adapted to winter climes, and with a good supply of honey for winter and spring build-up will do fine. The queen will (hopefully) stop laying in fall and have enough winter workers to form the winter cluster, and then begin laying again in late winter to build up for the next season. A good queen can lay for 2-3 years, and a good healthy colony will swarm several times during that period, and replace the queen on their own when the time comes. Check out the book Natural Beekeeping by Ross Conrad for a lot of good info on this subject.
 

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Up to at least the 1970's parts of Canada followed this practice I believe.
Here in Maine, USA (one of our colder areas) we keep the bees in two deep chambers. We try to make sure the chambers weigh (as Michael Bush said) about 150 pounds.

I do believe one member here, at least, does still do what you mention. But that is the exception. I would agree that probably 99% of all beekeepers overwinter their bees.

Mike
 

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I read an article that said its common practice in Alaska.
The winters there are so harsh that its difficult to keep them alive in boxes.

Might just apply to the inland area's
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for your answers. I found the queens seldom stop laying in fall. If there are 5 frames of winter workers or more in a hive ,the queen will not stop laying even if it is freezing in winter,and begin laying very early in late winter.Therefore the hive will consume a lot of sugar and more bees will be frozen when they fly out . What should I do for this?
 

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Are you coming to America - USA?
If you are in the colder areas 2 deeps. The brood nest should be centered in the bottom chamber in fall with stores on both sides and 1 deep above in stores. A small top entrance can help. I loosely wrap the hives in tar paper (builder's paper) - this helps get a little more heat into the hive. Other than that there really isn't a lot we can do for them. The bees will fly if they can (or sometimes can't :D). Even in Maine we have a few days in winter warm enough for the bees to fly.

In the warmer areas you don't have to worry so much. There is a lot more flying periods in winter and you will have days you can go into the hive to chack stores.

Mike
 

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Thank you for your answer.If necessary Chould I shut up the queens in winter? Nobody of American beekeepers do it because the beekeepers have too many hives.Is it really? How many hives does a beekeeper usually have in Maine?
 

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Maine is not the usual for America :D

I think our state average is about 12 hives per beekeeper. But that is just the average. Some may have 2 while another will have 50.
Other states, where it is warmer and easier to keep bees may have more.

We personally have 5 hives right now. Last year we started with 2. With God's blessing we hope all will winter well and next year to maybe have 8 or more.

I am not sure what you mean by shutting up the queens.


Mike
 

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In Maine we make sure the hive is a dark color for winter.
This allows the sun to make it warm when the sun shines on in the winter. (it never gets above about 95 degrees farenheit in Maine even in summer with usual temperatures for hot days being in the low 80 degrees farenheit)
In winter here we expect 0 - 10 degrees farenheit for several straight weeks with about 4 months below freezing temeratures almost all days and nights

We never shut the hives completely
on the off chance of a warm day the bees must be allowed to fly to "cleanse" (defecate)
Best to you and your bees,
-Erin
 

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...never gets above about 95 degrees farenheit in Maine even in summer with usual temperatures for hot days being in the low 80 degrees farenheit)
In winter here we expect 0 - 10 degrees farenheit for several straight weeks with about 4 months below freezing temeratures almost all days and nights
...off chance of a warm day...
I think you are being kind to the climate :D ;) Was that 0 - 10 or 0 - -10?
Actually I think we did have at least one day of close to 100F a year or two ago.
Your mention of the off chance of a warm day. Last winter we had about 1 day at least a month the bees could fly (maybe not make it back but warm enough to fly). I took a look at the weather history for our area and found that wasn't so unusual.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Shutting up a queen means we put the queen into a cage in order to let it stop laying. Do the beekeepers in America do this?
 

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Thank you for your answer.Shutting a queen means putting the queen into a cage to let it stop laying. The beekeepers in America don't do like this, do they? It is said the beekeepers in America usual keep more than 1000 hives. Is it really?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Maine is not the usual for America :D

I think our state average is about 12 hives per beekeeper. But that is just the average. Some may have 2 while another will have 50.
Other states, where it is warmer and easier to keep bees may have more.

We personally have 5 hives right now. Last year we started with 2. With God's blessing we hope all will winter well and next year to maybe have 8 or more.

I am not sure what you mean by shutting up the queens.


Mike
Shutting a queen means putting the queen into a cage to let it stop laying.
It is said that a beekeeper usual keeps more than 1000 hives in America. Is it really?
 

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Maybe commercial beekeepers? I would guess 20 to 50 for the average non-commercial?


Also in most of the USA it gets cold enough in the winter that the queen will stop laying at some point.

Mike
 
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