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Ok i am over wintering with a deep and a med with deep on the bottom. Seems like most of the honey is up in the super. Question is will the cluster move up if they need food in the cold? Or should i feed to get them to pack the brood chamber with stores? Rite now they are around 90lbs. Took other supers and queen excluders off early to try to get them to backfill the brood chamber. But i dont think there is much nectar coming in now. Thanks
 

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they will start at the bottom and move up, if you are underweight at this time of year, its time to feed 2:1
 

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I am just east of you and run around 150 colonies which always overwinter in a deep and a medium; but my medium is on the bottom, while yours is on the top. I have two reasons for having the medium on the bottom: (1) making spring splits is much easier with the deep on the top. In the spring the brood is in the deep and there is no need to remove the medium to get to those frames. (2) In the late supper and fall the bees will fill the deep with nectar and pollen and force the queen down into the lower parts of the deep and into the medium. I believe much more honey and pollen is saved for the winter.
So, your number and type of boxes are fine for our winters, but next year the bees might do better if you put the medium on the bottom.
 

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My advice is to feed 2-1 syrup in quantity and constantly until the hive weighs 125-140 lbs. Treating mites is just as important for wintering success but your colony is definately 35-40 lbs under weight for wintering IMO
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the responses. Earlier this year I actually thought of doing that switching the boxes around that is. But I didn’t want to mess up their configuration with their piollen and all that stuff. I know they don’t eat a lot of pollen in the winter but I try to not mess with the brood chamber as much as possible.

Lloyd what is your target Tweight for your hives? Is it too late in the year to switch the boxes around?
 

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My target weight is 'over 100 lbs'. I respect Vance G very much, but here in the Northeast I don't think we get the cold he does in Montana. I do think it is too late to switch boxes now, but I'd advise doing it next May. If you feed now, you may have difficulty getting the bees to take it. I find that if it's too cold they just won't break cluster to take the feed. I generally only feed nucs, but I start feeding those in late August and feed until an 8-frame nuc weighs 65-70 lbs. That gets them through the winter in fine shape.
 

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I like my singles to be @ 90 lbs. So a deep and a medium would be around 110-115 lbs. So if your at 90 pounds now 2 gallons of 2:1 should do it.
 

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Hudson Valley winters can be long, with that in mind, I only share what I've seen over the years. Food is based on population numbers and insulation value.
A deep and a medium should have 6 seans of bees or 25k at this time. Your brood should be just about finished hatching. The next six weeks will be fat body development. This will require at if pollen so if you have to get a dry feeder going or patty.
The bees will adjust cluster to match honey stores bigger or smaller.
Singles in poly need 3 f honey in wood 5f 2 box poly 6f 2box wood 8f honey. This gets me into March no problem.
I run carnivals but they are getting yellow so some Italian genetic is creeping in. The fall brood up will take almost 50 lbs to make those 25-30k of winter bees. So when do you check your weight? Sept 1 best have 100 lbs. By mid oct that's about than 50 lbs.
Of equal concern is pollen stores. They bees will need equal frames if pollen to honey, or substitute.
Also the genetics will be a factor.
Palmer likes the medium on bottom because it acts as a cold barrier in deep winter. I agree. Not sure its helpful for splits. As by the time your splitting you can rotate and reverse boxes, unless you splitting in March with southern queens.
Myself I winter 5f 6f 10f nucs in poly with no problems but do back fill honey after brood cycle is ended.
I prefer 3 box for our climate, as it makes rotation in spring easy. Less to store, and provides a bottom barrier to cold.
Since most don't breed queens for acclimated stock intelligence to localized environment, its best to leave more, until you know your bees better.

A read of constructive beekeeping would be advised. It will kill some myths you may about ventilation strategies.
Remember winter is the great selector of your bees. Sometimes you can do it all perfect and they still fail. This is nature telling your stock is not good enough for your climate.
Best of luck.
 

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I searched up the book Constructive Beekeeping by Ed H. Clark. Some interesting concepts from a hundred years ago. Some of the things we do to help the bees may often in reality do the opposite. Havent finished reading yet. It is available as PDF file
 

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Ok i am over wintering with a deep and a med with deep on the bottom. Seems like most of the honey is up in the super. Question is will the cluster move up if they need food in the cold? Or should i feed to get them to pack the brood chamber with stores? Rite now they are around 90lbs. Took other supers and queen excluders off early to try to get them to backfill the brood chamber. But i dont think there is much nectar coming in now. Thanks
Is the whole thing 90lbs?

If so that's probably too light.

A deep and a medium should be something like 120 lbs.
 

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That's just honey estimate at 8 lbs a deep frame and 5 a medium frame.
The thing is those numbers are so vague as genetics and climate have a large say in requirements.
 

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I put a 10 frame medium of undrawn plastic foundation frames on the bottom board and the single deep on top when I pulled supers off end of Aug. I wish I had weighed them then. I have no idea what they have done in the bottom box but the top deep is mostly capped with center 4 frames having some cluster space left open. I fed the up to ~ 110 lbs gross (bottom board to inner cover.)
 

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i think we all may get too dogmatic about weight. In my mind its a question of is the resource available to the cluster over winter matched to the size of the cluster going into winter.
5 frame or 8 frame nucs make it through upstate NY winters weighing a whole lot less than 100lbs.
I feed my overwintering nucs with mannlake bulk winter patties as supplemental feeding but i personally have found the 4/4 michael palmer nuc survival rates to be at least as good as the larger 2 x 10F deep ( or larger) hives.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
mine are all at 100lbs. and i got gallon paint cans on them to top them off for winter. Still taking some because of the warmer weather we have been having
 

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So the point is the books want people to succeed. Starvation mites and nosema are the big three.
What I think for my apiaries is that bees regulate their brood based on resources. A light year like this one has smaller clusters than a normal year.
The bees can easily goi through 50 lbs carbohydrate making brood for the winter cluster. So when do you check weight? Before the build up or after they go off lay. 2 very different answers. Since they will regulate brood rearing based on total available carb not having left enough honey, feeding
Is required and may result in smaller clusters.
So if a target cluster size is 12 seams of bees that's roughly 25-30 k in bees.
Thats 6-8 frames of brood. Thats 60-80 lbs of carbs. Assuming your getting something from goldenrod and asters etc your 100lbs on sept 1 will be 50 or so lbs if you left a 100lbs.
Its about numbers but its an estimation for those who are in their early years. Those numbers are a target goal given all things are hypothetical. More is better.
 

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So the point is the books want people to succeed. Starvation mites and nosema are the big three.
What I think for my apiaries is that bees regulate their brood based on resources. A light year like this one has smaller clusters than a normal year.
The bees can easily goi through 50 lbs carbohydrate making brood for the winter cluster. So when do you check weight? Before the build up or after they go off lay. 2 very different answers. Since they will regulate brood rearing based on total available carb not having left enough honey, feeding
Is required and may result in smaller clusters.
So if a target cluster size is 12 seams of bees that's roughly 25-30 k in bees.
Thats 6-8 frames of brood. Thats 60-80 lbs of carbs. Assuming your getting something from goldenrod and asters etc your 100lbs on sept 1 will be 50 or so lbs if you left a 100lbs.
Its about numbers but its an estimation for those who are in their early years. Those numbers are a target goal given all things are hypothetical. More is better.
you had a light year this year? This was a bumper year for honey in my area.
 

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Without being dogmatic about it I think having a ballpark weight in mind and checking against it is a useful tool. I remember the anxiety of guessing the first year or two until I got a satisfactory weighing method and a target. It gives a lot of information without the need for so many risky invasive inspections.

Certainly there are different conditions in individual colonies that will affect what weight is survivable. I have seen some colonies that consume a lot of feed with very slow weight gain. They seem determined to have a high population and if held to a low target weight will have scant stores to support it going into winter. Others quickly come up to weight , having opted for a smaller cluster.

It takes only a minute or less to weigh each colony. I weigh first when I take off honey supers and this gives a base line. You do have to know what to expect from a fall flow. Here it is easy; expect nothing! If the hives are echoing empty and it doesnt happen you are behind the 8 ball. The scale alone does not replace knowing what the possibilities and probabilities are.

Having open mated queens from various sources will create more variables. The beekeepers motives can be a variable too. Is it merely survival or is it wanting the strongest early growth for pollination of a certain crop or splitting with import queens.
 
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