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North Pole Ak

4107 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Paraplegic Racehorse
I was supposed to try this out last year but was unable to so THIS year is my innaugural bee season. I only hived them 1 week ago but already i am wildly amazed by the girls. Only a few more days till i can open the hive and take a quick look. I got a four pound package of Russian Carniolans. I hope my enthusiasm stays at this level throughout the season. Just wanted to say hi.

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Welcome, I am sorry to say your enthusiasm will probably grow with your first honey extraction, swarm, or split.
Best of luck with your hive up there.:thumbsup:

What are your plans for your bees for the winter?
Unfortunately Apicide is the way to go up here. Temps usually get around 40 below or colder. The cold starts in Sept, and last till April.

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I was hoping that wasn't what you needed to do. Sad. Wish there was a good way to over winter up there. I miss Alaska. Lived at Ft. Greely in the 80's. Worked at the Cold Regions Test Center. Gave me a new definition of COLD! :D
Unfortunately Apicide is the way to go up here. Temps usually get around 40 below or colder. The cold starts in Sept, and last till April.
A: You're wrong. There are quite a few beekeepers in the Fairbanks/North Pole area who successfully overwinter hives - every year. Get active with the local beekeeper's association. Do NOT believe them when they try to tell you wintering is an "advanced" topic. It is basic topic and every beekeeper should have enough understanding of it to have success in their locality. Bees have been successfully kept in extreme cold environments from the steppes of Siberia to central Canada and interior Alaska for a long long time. Do not think Fairbanks/North Pole is unique in its winter conditions.

B: You're right. Cold starts in Sept and goes 'til April, sometimes May. However, the bees won't normally form the winter cluster until October and will fly as long as daytime temps can break +40F; I've lived in Fairbanks (and am contemplating a return), that means October.

Just make sure they have adequate honey and pollen stores and there are no extra cracks in the boxes for wind to move through and they should winter fine. It won't hurt to wrap the hive in some sort of insulation, but it doesn't necessarily help, either. People argue about that. There are advantages and disadvantages, either way. Same goes for cellaring (moving the bees indoors).
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Welcome, your enthusiasm will grow trust me! I too lived in North Pole from 1998-2001 over on Cecile street and I was stationed at Eielson during that time. I miss it up there and truly loved the beauty that Alaska has!! Enjoy your new hobby!
A: You're wrong.... Get active with the local beekeeper's association. .
I took a class from Steve Peterson, he is the president of the Interior Beekeepers Assoc. He is the one that told me that economically it doesn't pay to try to winter bees. Apparently only about 15% of your bees will survive, and their ability to operate normally the following summer goes to hell, even after being wrapped in 2" foam for the winter. I guess i can try later on in my bee career. Right now if i want to get any honey i have to take it from them. Right now i only have one hive. maybe in a few years when i have a few more hives, i will have the honey and pollen stores built up to try to winter them. Until then im going to try to get the basics down.
Just noticed. Mntransplant - as in transplant from Minnesota? I think you'll find wintering bees in Fairbanks/North Pole is not that much different from Minnesota. The dearth is just LONGER. And, remember, the majority of winter stores are consumed during spring build-up, not survival feeding.

Steve Peterson should not be trying to discourage you from wintering your colonies and I think his percentages are flawed. Yes, the season is short to get anything out of packages. An overwintered colony will produce as any other, however, as will a good swarm.

Also, many [near-] arctic beekeepers are just now re-discovering that the enormous horizontal cross section of eight and ten frame Langstroth hives are not efficient for overwintering in our climate. There may also be an issue with "short" comb-height of the Lang frame. In Russia, they mostly use the deeper, 11-inch, brood frame and have less trouble wintering than Lang-based North Americans.

I referred Margie to you from another mailing list. So far as I know, she's familiar also with Langs though her own bees are mostly in Warres. A real mentor, or at least "friend", is infinitely more valuable than all the classes in the world. Tell me, next spring, how your bees faired over the 2010/11 winter.
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