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Hello, My husband and I just got two hives from a local bee keeper here in Kalispell Montana, USA. It is September and the nights are getting colder. The local bee keeper told us both hives have one super with 8 frames of honey. He also said that the honey was starting to crystalize so we would have to havest it because the bees couldn't eat the crystalized honey. Can Bees eat crystalized honey? Do we have to process the honey that is in the frames or can we leave it for the Bees to eat over winter.
 

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V2burgess:

Welcome to Beesource! Glad to have you both as a part of our forum.

Hopefully you were able to get your Winter preps squared-away?

Best of luck to you this winter.

Russ
 

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Thank you Russ, we decided to open up the hive and look at how much honey our bees have and they don't have full combs of honey. So we put a top box bee feeder on the hives, hopefully they will start eating and fill up the empty combs. So glad we checked on them. We plan on feeding them dry sugar over the winter. one hive is definitely stronger than the other. We didn't see any mites on the bees but, we plan to treat them for that early this week. A lot of folks up in Montana use the Apivary Mite treatment. Do you have any suggestions?
 

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V2burgess:

I am glad to hear that you checked your colony. It would be most disappointing to have an otherwise successful colony fail for lack of resources.

To be fair I am in the midst of a treatment-free experiment so am not the best person to get treatment advice from. That said, I would suggest it would be prudent to get a good handle on what your mite load is so you can make an informed decision about the best course of action. Have you done any diagnostic evaluations via an alcohol wash or powdered-sugar roll to get a sense of the current mite load?

The following document is a helpful summary of the monitoring protocols and treatment best-practices:

https://honeybeehealthcoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/HBHC-Guide_Varroa-Interactive-PDF.pdf

Best of success to you-

Russ
 

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Welcome to you and your husband, you will love keeping honey bee’s. You won’t see mites on your bees unless they are heavily infested, what Russ said above. You will need to feed the bees a lot to fill up their stores and time-to cure the feed and cap it. Ask some locals what their time frame is for Fall feeding. Deb
 

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You will probably be studying how to prep for winter. You will find a huge variety of opinions on this topic. I'd say don't get stressed out choosing the 'best' way to prep hives for winter. Just choose one and go with it.

I moved my hives right up against the house last winter, out of the wind, and put a thick layer of insulation on top, but left the sides uninsulated. It worked for me, but last winter was quite mild. Some people put heavy wraps all around the hive, others don't.

I do feed sugar blocks in winter, and I believe that kept them alive.
 
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