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I'm new to bee keeping and I'm curious about this...

I live in North West Connecticut so it has a tendency to get rather cold during the winter.

I have medium 8 frame hives.

2 deeps measure very close to 3 mediums. I have read a lot of people recommend 1 or 2 deeps for over wintering.

Has anyone ever left the supers on over the winter? Why not keep it 4 boxes deep during the winter? I was told to strip the hives down to two brood boxes for over wintering. What are the consequences, if any, to leaving the supers on the hives through the winter?

What about leaving three brood boxes throughout the winter instead of two? Are there any consequences to this?

I have heard that the bees have a more difficult time keeping the hive warm during the winter and have a more difficult time with upkeep with more boxes. Is this the reason?
 

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Why not keep it 4 boxes deep during the winter?
From Star Trek:

"Space: the final frontier."
They aren't ready for the space.

"These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds."
They shouldn't be exploring more comb than they need to.

"To seek out new life and new civilizations."
Don't seek these out. More space than needed is a place for pests to take over.

"To boldly go where no one has gone before!"
too dangerous
 

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Has anyone ever left the supers on over the winter?

I do sometimes. Its no big deal to leave full supers on. In the fall if I feel they don't have enough stores I'll leave a super on or if I just don't get around to extracting all supers it can be done in the spring as long as they are all full. Bees don't heat the boxes they heat the brood in the cluster. I've had many 2 deeps with 3 meds with no insulation, no quilt boxes, etc., overwinter great. A first year locally mated queen and mite monitoring makes all the difference.
 

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I typically overwinter normal/strong hives in 4-5 boxes (deep on bottom, mediums above it) with a quilt box on top. Having extra food over the winter is much better than running out.
 

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I had a three-deep hive once going into winter. The bees never downsized, and they ate through two deep worth of stores and starved. When I opened the deadout, I was looking at a summer-sized population, not a winter-sized population.
 

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I'm new to bee keeping and I'm curious about this...

I live in North West Connecticut so it has a tendency to get rather cold during the winter.

I have medium 8 frame hives.

2 deeps measure very close to 3 mediums. I have read a lot of people recommend 1 or 2 deeps for over wintering.

Has anyone ever left the supers on over the winter? Why not keep it 4 boxes deep during the winter? I was told to strip the hives down to two brood boxes for over wintering. What are the consequences, if any, to leaving the supers on the hives through the winter?

What about leaving three brood boxes throughout the winter instead of two? Are there any consequences to this?

I have heard that the bees have a more difficult time keeping the hive warm during the winter and have a more difficult time with upkeep with more boxes. Is this the reason?
It’s too much space in my opinion. I’ve overwintered Bee’s for 7 years now and find they do better with heavy food stores in a smaller space.
 

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I'm new to bee keeping and I'm curious about this...

I live in North West Connecticut so it has a tendency to get rather cold during the winter.

I have medium 8 frame hives.

2 deeps measure very close to 3 mediums. I have read a lot of people recommend 1 or 2 deeps for over wintering. Or 3 depends on the need for winter stores

Has anyone ever left the supers on over the winter? Yes Why not keep it 4 boxes deep during the winter? you can leave it at 4 mediums I was told to strip the hives down to two brood boxes for over wintering. ??seems poor advice unless there was more to it What are the consequences, if any, to leaving the supers on the hives through the winter? A) may be brood it it in spring. B) if/when you extract it may be crystalized. C) some find extract the honey with value at 20ish per quart and feed back syrup at 1 dollar ish per quart.

What about leaving three brood boxes throughout the winter instead of two? Are there any consequences to this? If you are talking 2 mediums, by the nature of your questions I would not recommend it, you would need a good understanding of the hive strength relative to the winter needs, for your place and race of bee. I winter in 2 deeps + a medium, so 4 boxes in your example.

I have heard that the bees have a more difficult time keeping the hive warm during the winter and have a more difficult time with upkeep with more boxes. Is this the reason? not really, in the 8 frame set up the cluster is at the honey edge/boundary. As they consume honey to stay warm they slowly move up. Some old timers have suggested 1mm per day. I am in michigan and I like 10 to 14 inches of honey/stored syrup overhead, to make the winter AND over come any spring weather issues. your locale will vary as each place is different. and each race of bee can be different.
My opinion in line.

I would as a test leave some of the supers on, weight the hive fall and spring, measure the honey dome in fall (last nice day +65F). then in spring again measure the honey dome (first nice day +65F) and have a baseline for the future,. keep in mind every hive is some what different, I have some that are more frugal, and some with more population as Shelly mentions, so it is somewhat an educated guess.

In general I have supers , Which I take and I have brood boxes which I leave, with all mediums that can be blurred a bit as they are the same size. do not leave the excluder in for winter if you use one.

last thing not every thing you hear is valid for your location, or perhaps valid at all. trust more what you see and test for.

GG
 

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I left a wet medium over a double deep this past winter next to a sister hive that was just in double deeps. Both had vented quilt boxes on loaded with pine shaving, some protein patties on both hives, the insulated with 1" pink foam board from HD (cheap). Both hives were over a 120 lbs. going in to winter. They never touched protein patties, got through the winter using less than half the stores and removed the medium in March, added a deep on both and they built out the third deeps by late April which were usable for splits. The extra super had no bearing on the winter survival. Both hives had produced over a 100 lbs. of harvestable honey last summer and still had excess. I plan on going with the third deep next Spring but no over wintering mediums this time. Great source for new Beeks for built out frames early-I just will follow the directions from wiser people on next years split configurations. And remember if you use QE's like I do between deeps and mediums super, remove them before winter as they are heat sinks for cold into the hive and if the feed situation gets tight, the cluster can move up and leave the queen behind to die.

IMG_0490[591].jpg IMG_0493[594].jpg IMG_0540.jpg

In the last picture, it shows the hive in front with the extra super an one of the hives , on the right without. The pink foam is/was cheap, like $8 a sheet. The quilt box is made from 1 x 5 pine and Number 8 hardware cloth. With 2 deeps and a 1 x 5 quilt box, half of the 4' x 8' sheet covers the entire hive, sides and top, the extra super is un-necessary for feeding and add height that would require to use too much foam. This pat winter, we never had a no-brood situation so the dead bees are just spent workers in the melting snow, the hives emerged from winter in full summer populations, all frames covered and lots of new brood.
 

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Three medium brood boxes are sufficient to winter a colony in your moderate climate. Leaving a honey super onis not required. I would weigh that three boxes and my target weight would be 125-135 pounds. Personally I prefer a mid level entrance for wintering and r12 + top insulation. No other entrance for winter desirable. I would buy a bee cozyfor my one or twocolonies, they are good products.
 

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I try every year to winter in smaller boxes. Smallest so far was a resource hive, aka Palmer nuc, without the 2nd story in zone 6a. 2 side-by-side 4 frame nucs with sugar blocks on top. 5 frame nucs are my normal.

This year I am going to try 3 2frame nics in an 8f box, probably 2 stories. That is what I use for a mating nuc.

My only rule regardless of the sized box is no frames unless they are completely drawn. It's more about the health of your bees and stores than number of boxes.
 

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,. keep in mind every hive is some what different, I have some that are more frugal, and some with more population as Shelly mentions, so it is somewhat an educated guess.
I second this. I have seen strong hives go thru 60+ pounds of stores and smaller ones go thru less than 30. The performance of one hive over winter may not be a good representation of every hive every year.
 

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I second this. I have seen strong hives go thru 60+ pounds of stores and smaller ones go thru less than 30. The performance of one hive over winter may not be a good representation of every hive every year.
"Rather cold"...he should spend a Winter up here with me.

Yeah, they are all going to be different, and other differences depending on what kind of bees and whether the hives are insulated or not. Italians seem to go through more stores than Carniolans, for me. I've just about given up on Italians. Insulated hives tend to eat less than non-insulated.

Two deeps can work, now trying triples.
 
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I lived in Maine, still have my house there-they have two seasons-July and Winter.
You might want to think about selling. Sales are up and prices are up about 30%. If I recollect rightly, you are on or near waterfront/seacoast, which would fetch an even bigger premium. You might be able to get enough to fund a very comfortable retirement...if you're not planning on coming back...
 
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I left a wet medium over a double deep this past winter next to a sister hive that was just in double deeps. Both had vented quilt boxes on loaded with pine shaving, some protein patties on both hives, the insulated with 1" pink foam board from HD (cheap). Both hives were over a 120 lbs. going in to winter. They never touched protein patties, got through the winter using less than half the stores and removed the medium in March, added a deep on both and they built out the third deeps by late April which were usable for splits. The extra super had no bearing on the winter survival. Both hives had produced over a 100 lbs. of harvestable honey last summer and still had excess. I plan on going with the third deep next Spring but no over wintering mediums this time. Great source for new Beeks for built out frames early-I just will follow the directions from wiser people on next years split configurations. And remember if you use QE's like I do between deeps and mediums super, remove them before winter as they are heat sinks for cold into the hive and if the feed situation gets tight, the cluster can move up and leave the queen behind to die.

View attachment 64185 View attachment 64186 View attachment 64187

In the last picture, it shows the hive in front with the extra super an one of the hives , on the right without. The pink foam is/was cheap, like $8 a sheet. The quilt box is made from 1 x 5 pine and Number 8 hardware cloth. With 2 deeps and a 1 x 5 quilt box, half of the 4' x 8' sheet covers the entire hive, sides and top, the extra super is un-necessary for feeding and add height that would require to use too much foam. This pat winter, we never had a no-brood situation so the dead bees are just spent workers in the melting snow, the hives emerged from winter in full summer populations, all frames covered and lots of new brood.
Worth repeating your advice: "if you use QE's... remove them before winter as ... the cluster can move up and leave the queen behind to die. "
 

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You might want to think about selling. Sales are up and prices are up about 30%. If I recollect rightly, you are on or near waterfront/seacoast, which would fetch an even bigger premium. You might be able to get enough to fund a very comfortable retirement...if you're not planning on coming back...
Bold ocean front mid-coast acreage I bought in 1979, worth a fortune but I'm retiring there eventually and I prefer winter watching the waves (ice) crash on my rocks. In a Real Estate Trust now so my kids can keep it when I hit room temperature. They were born there.

Triples maybe a challenge with anything less than a massive population and lots of insulation.
 

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I'm new to bee keeping and I'm curious about this...

I live in North West Connecticut so it has a tendency to get rather cold during the winter.

I have medium 8 frame hives.

2 deeps measure very close to 3 mediums. I have read a lot of people recommend 1 or 2 deeps for over wintering.

Has anyone ever left the supers on over the winter? Why not keep it 4 boxes deep during the winter? I was told to strip the hives down to two brood boxes for over wintering. What are the consequences, if any, to leaving the supers on the hives through the winter?

What about leaving three brood boxes throughout the winter instead of two? Are there any consequences to this?

I have heard that the bees have a more difficult time keeping the hive warm during the winter and have a more difficult time with upkeep with more boxes. Is this the reason?
No expert here, hobbyist for 7 yrs. Usually overwinter with 2 deeps and a medium, have also done 3 medium, all 10 frame. Treat for mites and put sugar bricks under inner cover with a feeding shim works for me. Also I don't use Queen excluders. Check sugar bricks when you get a warm day through the winter. Central Indiana
 

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Bold ocean front mid-coast acreage I bought in 1979, worth a fortune but I'm retiring there eventually and I prefer winter watching the waves (ice) crash on my rocks. In a Real Estate Trust now so my kids can keep it when I hit room temperature. They were born there.

Triples maybe a challenge with anything less than a massive population and lots of insulation.
Good idea. I bought this place for wanting to retire here. Got it on short sale/foreclosure in 2007/2008 (took 7 months to get the deal through) when the market was crashing, for 1/2 of what was owed on it. There is enough land to put in a good sized subdivision and in the last year or so a number of people have started dividing up and selling off pieces of property, a lot of new houses have gone in. I'm figuring that by the time one or the other of us croaks and doesn't want to stay anymore, or we feel like it's getting too crowded, there will be a developer willing to pay a pretty penny for it. Whichever one of us is left will be set for the final years (I hate being at a time when I have to start planning for this, but that's life).

I got two triples through this past Winter, despite a lack of insulation and a killing freeze that croaked a bunch of smaller hives. Oddly enough, one small hive that I thought would die, didn't, don't know how they managed to survive, especially since they were loaded with Nosema.

I plan on working more up to triples this year...and getting them insulated when I -should- be doing it, instead of procrastinating and having something else bad happen that leaves me unable to get it done.
 
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I did the RE trust because it's a tax avoidance shelter-if the kids just inherit it, they pay the taxes on the gain. Giving my basis for 28 acres on the coast purchased for less than a $100K and now worth ?? millions, the taxes on transfer would force a sale. Same problem many family farmer have on passing their farms. Kinda sucks that land owners who were fugal and saved have to fund the layabouts in DC
 
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