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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all!

I am new to beekeeping, so the help I have received from this forum is GREATLY appreciated!

I lost my first 3 hives my first winter because they were not fed properly. :( So this year, I am taking extra precaution to ensure the survival of my current 3 hives. :)

I purchased 3 of the 10-Frame Wintering Inner Covers (with insulation) from Brushy Mountain:

http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com/10-Frm-Wintering-Inner-Cover/productinfo/W671/

Anyone out there use these with success? They allow you the option of candy AND syrup jar feeding.

My real question is... knowing that I will be filling the inner part of the inner cover with candy, should I use something to coat/seal/protect just that part to prevent rot/deterioration over time? I have read that inner covers should not be painted or sealed; however, this inner cover is different in that it is designed to turn upside down in the winter and function as a candy feeder. Any suggestions are appreciated!

Thanks so much!
-David
Muncie, IN
 

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Chemical coatings like paint or oils are probably not best against your bee feed. Beeswax and propolis would be perfect. I gently melt all my burr comb and recycled comb in a crock pot to brush on in just such an application.
 

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Throw it in there now and the bees will coat it over a few weeks. Flip over and repeat. Would suggest not using candy in winter. Do the Mountain Camp method instead if needed. And another thing: This last winters blizzard killed all my bees and many other beeks hives too. I wouldn't go so far as to blame yourself for their hasty departure. Mother nature can be quite mean. Mine are replaced and well protected now. Would try insulating around the hives and putting in the hive entrance reducer come colder weather.
 

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To answer your question, no you shouldn't need to do anything to seal your feeder. I buy a bunch of stuff from Brushy, but I scratch my head over this one. Candy and the Mountain Camp feeding method help your hive survive when they have run out of their own stores; in other words, when the hives were not properly prepared with enough stores for the bees to make it through winter and the early spring brood build up period. The best thing you can do for your bees is to make sure they have enough food stored for the winter. The feeder cover sounds like an ok idea if you need to take care of a starving hive. But certainly you should plan & take actions (leave enough honey on the hive or feed in the fall) so that you don't need it.
 

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I've done a pretty good search for the "Mountain Camp method," but there are many, many threads where it is mentioned casually without explanation. Going to assume that Mountain Camp came up with it...
Anyway, I would like a quick description of it, if anyone feels up to it.
 

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I've done a pretty good search for the "Mountain Camp method," ...Anyway, I would like a quick description of it, if anyone feels up to it.
You'll need: sugar, newspaper, empty super.
Put a layer or two of newspaper directly on the top bars, so that it covers half to three-quarters. Add empty super. Dump several pounds of sugar on the newspaper.
The sugar will absorb moisture in the hive during winter months and provide the bees with emergency feed. Much easier than making candy boards.

As with any technique, you'll find beekeepers who swear by it, and those that swear against it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Wow, thank you everyone for the feedback. The "Mountain Camp Method" sounds awesome. Living in Indiana, what would be the best timer of year (month) to do this?
 
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