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Discussion Starter #1
I was wondering does anyone overwinter or has tried to over winter bees in 2 mediums? I run 10 frame medium equipment now due to mainly having everything interchangeable I like that. I see and hear people over winter single deeps, and double deeps nucs of all sizes and 2 frame mating nucs down south. I am overwintering nucs both 5 frames and 4 frames and my mediums are set up with 3 or 4 10 frame boxes everything seems to be doing good as of now they were all active yesterday and I pop the tops and check on warm days, only 2 hives had moved up and started eating some fondant I put up there.

I was wondering does anyone overwinter with just 2 mediums, wouldn't that be the same basically as a single deep and since I believe I have read that most bees move up instead of over (I keep seeing people talk about dead hives with stores in frames next to them) it would give them something over their heads instead of running a single with just insurance up there. Plus they are smaller so the hive wouldn't have as much to keep warm as a double deep setup.

I was thinking of setting up some hives this year with just 2 10 frame mediums for brood thinking that would be the same setup as those that do a single deep system. Just wondering if anyone has or is currently doing this. I am in OK so not crazy cold long winters. Thanks
 

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I would think you’d need three boxes. The winter theory is fine, but you’ve gotta look at the aspect of prespring buildup and them having enough stores to get them thru till the nectar flows start.
 

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I have had a single medium make it through winter. I have had several double mediums make it through. I think I get more honey off of the three medium set up but I don't get much honey period. My first winter when it got warm early and I had less then double mediums, it was swarm city way early in the season. Last year when it stayed cold all the way till mid april, nothing swarmed regardless of the size hive. I am only in my third winter and so take what I said with that in mind.
Cheers
gww
 

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Michael Bush what would you say their survival rate is compared to 4 box set up in your area is I know you have harder winters than I do here I was hoping you would chim in you are one of the reason why I started to look into medium setups
 

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In Britain, over-wintering in a single box of 11 deep (8.5") frames has been standard practice for what(?) fifty years or more - although there's now a trend towards using single 12" 'extra-deep' boxes instead - so two 10-frame medium boxes doesn't sound at all crazy.
You may or may not need insulation on top of the brood box(es) in your locale, but if in any doubt I'd suggest putting some on as belt and braces.
LJ
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Little John thanks didn't know that about Britian. I have read and seen alot about the double deep layens and lazutin hives. Didn't have a clue they have been doing singles for 50 years or so.
 

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Here is a yard of mediums, except for 1 colony. They winter successfully, although other configurations may be preferable.
Picture is early March and more of the same in long term forecast, hives getting light so added feed shims and feed.
Early spring pollen and nectar is available (maples are blooming) but bees were shut in due to low temperatures.
DSCN0138.jpg
 

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Michael Palmer that's great. I know Vermont winters can be harsh. Did your 2 box stand alones make it through and successfull. Do you still currently run some of those. I definitely try and run my apiaries sustainable and follow your model just on a small scale
 

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Clyderoad when you do during the season do you put a QE on top of the 2 boxes like they do with singles and then everything above is for stores and below with manipulation is for the queen or do you let her have full run and then in fall let them back fill the 2 boxes for stores to make it through winter. With that picture I dont think I would have any problem. If we had that much snow here the whole state would collapse
 

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I am all mediums, and try to winter with three boxes (cuz that's what I was told when starting out). However, I've used two boxes to overwinter colonies that weren't big enough to occupy three. (All of two winters so far....)
 

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I run an all medium operation. I go into winter with my mediun NUC's at 5/5 or 5/5/5 , both with a feed shim above and an outer cover with 2 inch foam insulation at the top outside.

Steve
 

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Awesome thanks everyone. The bee community as a whole is so helpful. I'm sure I ask a lot of dumb questions but I always have someone chime in and give some insight. Glad to hear that people are doing it and are doing it successfully. I asked around here and it was completely the opposite reaction, mediums wont make it or 4 or more boxes. But my sample size is small here and they are all in deeps
 

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Clyderoad when you do during the season do you put a QE on top of the 2 boxes like they do with singles and then everything above is for stores and below with manipulation is for the queen or do you let her have full run and then in fall let them back fill the 2 boxes for stores to make it through winter. With that picture I dont think I would have any problem. If we had that much snow here the whole state would collapse
Yes QE on top of 2 med box brood nest, medium supers above.

i do not configure all of my colonies in all mediums, my normal configuration during winter is a story and a half, 1 deep and 1 med. During the active bee season I use a single deep brood nest with QE on top and medium supers above.
The yard in the picture became a all medium yard as I ran out of deep boxes earlier in the season and it was best at the time to winter those bees in the photo in their mediums. I do not prefer to winter in mediums.
Point is it can an is done. BTW MPalmer is in a much colder climate than I and his comment about success should carry more weight.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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>Michael Bush what would you say their survival rate is compared to 4 box set up in your area is I know you have harder winters than I do here I was hoping you would chim in you are one of the reason why I started to look into medium setups.

In a mild winter (a week or two of 0 F) it's about the same as a 4 box hive. In a typical winter (a week or two of -10 F) survival drops to 60% or so. In a really bitter cold winter (a week or two of -20) it falls to 50% or less.
 

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I think a lot of the "over-wintering" decisions are made based on location and resources. We don't get much of a winter in Eastern, NC but it does get cold. This is my first year running my 30 hives in single deeps. While I've had to feed them a little bit more, I'm getting great results.
 

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In Britain, over-wintering in a single box of 11 deep (8.5") frames has been standard practice for what(?) fifty years or more -
LJ
When I was at a dinner party in Bucks, the gentleman..who was obviously the respected elder of the group...asked me...

"Michael, do you have isolation starvation". He wintered in a single BB. Seems they were all having issues with IS. I told him it was because, for some reason, the colony lost bees, the cluster shrank, and the cluster was no longer in contact with honey....where a larger cluster in Autumn had been in contact. When really cold, the bees have difficulty moving horizontally. I feel that single BB wintering risks isolation starvation. With a super of honey above, IS doesn't happen.
 

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When I was at a dinner party in Bucks, the gentleman..who was obviously the respected elder of the group...asked me...
Michael - you have a great talent for creating word-pictures ...:)

Location again. Bucks is inland, so can get quite cold there - I was raised in Warwickshire, near the geographical centre of England, and well remember as a youngster scraping ice off the inside of my bedroom window ...
Nowhere near in the same league as Vermont, of course.

I currently live some 10 miles from the Lincolnshire coast, so it can get sub-zero and 'brass-monkey weather' when the wind's coming in off the sea from the North or East, which it has been for the last few days. However, tomorrow and Saturday the wind is forecast SW, with a temperature of 10 deg C (50F) - in mid-winter ! - so those will be very welcomed flying days. Crazy or what ? Little risk of IS in this locale - Spring starvation being the BIG challenge, which is fortunately relatively easy to deal with. Hence zero winter losses year after year (and long may that continue ...) even with single deeps - although I much prefer extra-deep (12") frames or your 5-over-5 format.
But - it ain't all plain sailing - really wish I could find out why my virgins have such trouble mating ... :(
'best
LJ
 
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