Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,087 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is it better to overwinter in a five frame nuc that is build upwards or a full ten frame hive. Do the bees keep warmer in a skinny tall hive or fat short hive?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,540 Posts
FWIW, last winter I had a colony that was scarcely six frames of bees with only, maybe, five frames of stores. I arranged these frames in the centers of two 10-frame Langs, put solid wooden dummy/follower boards on each side of the fames and then filled the remaining space with foam insulation. The follower boards and insulation panels were carefully cut with "ears" to set on the frame rests and measured the full height of the box with no between-box beespace like regular frames have. The idea was to create a solid, vertical internal wall within the regular 10-frame box. I had been advised to house these bees in a double, stacked nuc but was sick of buying new bee rquipment by that point in the season, so I tried this instead.

It worked like a charm - the bees accepted the changed interior dimensions quite readily and came through the winter in fine shape. And I live in northern NY, so that's not a weany of a winter! I had 2" of foam on one side and an inch and half on the other, plus additional foam outside the hive as this nuc was an end one in a snugged-up group of three. I liked the idea so well, that at the last minute I re-configurated my other two hives to be more vertical than full 10-frame horizontal by adding follower boards and at least 3/4" or 1" along each side. All of my hives survived. (I did insulate the fronts and backs, feed sugar bricks and have quilt boxes on top, as well.)

I worried all winter that they would chew at the foam, which is believed to be bad for them. They only had access on the bottom and top, but still. However they never chewed at it at all. I used pink and purple Corning foam and pale blue Dow foam, depending on the thickness needed. I think I would cover the top and bottom of the foam with something (aluminum foil?) to keep from ever having to worry about it in the future.

I also worried that I might find removing the inserts difficult to do in the sping. It turned out to be very easy, and I just gradually enlarged their space as the their brood area grew outward as I was also adding frames at the edges of the brood nest to discourage swarming.

My little six-frame "nuc" colony has now grown into a really Big Girl, occupying all but five frames of a FOUR deep, 10-frame stack, with no spacers or followers boards in there at the moment, just frame after frame after frame of brood and capped honey.

I like this way of arranging a winter hive so well that I plan to use it again this year. I think that a narrower, more vertically-oriented column of honey stores is better for the bees, with less chance they will get "stucK" out on the side and too cold to reach more chow. I plan on either a 7- or 8-frame configuration with the empty space filled by the solid follower boards and foam panels outward of that.

I have one of my three original colonies that was divided into two smaller splits and plan to take a some frames of stores from the other two mega-hives to bolster those two. But all the hives will be narrowed-in and insulated inside the box.

YMMV, of course.

Enj.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,943 Posts
I overwinter 10 frame single deeps, 4 frame single deep nucs, 4 frame over 4 frame deep nucs. The 10s do well, the 4 singles require a lot of attention, the 4 over 4 do the best. To much moisture and not enough stores is the main concern. I believe the 4 over 4s do best because they have stores overhead and don't have to make the side jump like the 10s do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,087 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Enjam, that sounds like a great way. I split a ten frame deep a month ago into three and now have 3 queens and not sure if they will be big enough to put in a regular size hive but with this idea, I can adjust the foam to there size. I am definitely going to try that, thanks for the detailed description.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,064 Posts
SD - When you overwinter the single 4 frames, how much stores do they have going into winter?

I overwinter 10 frame single deeps, 4 frame single deep nucs, 4 frame over 4 frame deep nucs. The 10s do well, the 4 singles require a lot of attention, the 4 over 4 do the best. To much moisture and not enough stores is the main concern. I believe the 4 over 4s do best because they have stores overhead and don't have to make the side jump like the 10s do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,943 Posts
I like the 2 inside frames to be about half open cells. The keys is having young bees going into winter on the single 4 frames and check them mid winter so if they get low on stores I give them sugar blocks. Usually less then half need the blocks.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top