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Here we can shoot them in defense of life or property. No permit required. The bear goes to the state though.
With any varmint problem, it is important to act before there is a problem. Once they taste the goodies in your yard/garden/hive, they never forget.

This is true of bears, deer, raccoons, pigs, cows, etc.

A pathetic looking electric fence may well stop a bear that doesn't know what is in the hive. Once he has a taste, it will be a different story.

This is a real problem when there are grain spills along the railroad tracks. Bears love corn. And they will come back every year looking for it.

See this link. It is a good story.https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1990-08-20-mn-768-story.html
 

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Hi,

We're in the Mat-SU Valley in Alaska, and we wintered our bees this year. Although not all of them survived, you can still hear some of them buzzing around in there. We left the hive outside and insulated it with foam. When do you recommend removing the insulation? We're in early April right now, and it's in the 30s most days but dips into the 20s most nights.

Thanks!

I hear about beekeepers in Alaska that throw their bees to the wind every fall. I hope this can encourage more to overwinter. Its not that hard. And yes your bees can survive Alaska cold just fine. I didn't even need to feed mine this spring,and they could of made it through the summer without me. All I did was rob honey and treat.

I am in Western Alaska 70 miles inland from the Bering Sea on the Yukon River.
This wintering set up has worked successfully for me in this location. I think it would work anywhere in Alaska, or northern climate.

I start by having all of my equipment painted flat black. (I keep it black in summer as well).

I winter in three deeps.( But two would work IMO) The one on the bottom is just mostly half drawn frames , pollen stores, or even empties. Next is the brood nest,. Then a deep of sugar syrup, fed early enough to get capped if possible. (not honey,too many solids for long winters) I also feed a pollen patty in August, to fatten the winter bees.



Then a three inch shim for space for sugar bricks.



Above that, a notched inner cover/upper entrance, with a screened 3" feed jar hole, (Important for ventilation.)



Then a empty medium stuffed with dry grass /straw.



I also put a foam 1/2" foam board inside the lid.
And wrap with colony quilts, but leave the lower box exposed, make sure the super is wrapped.

On a warm spring day in March/April you can put on a jar of warm syrup for the afternoon, but remove before sunset. This will encourage a cleansing flight if you pick the right day.



I also sprinkle ashes from my woodstove around my hives to melt the snow in early spring, It helps them orientate in the bright winter sun and snow reflection. stops the death spiral some.







Also.

YOU MUST TREAT YOUR BEES or its all for nothing. I have used MAQS and OA
Good luck
 

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Looks like you have thought things through Erin. I will try the wood ashes in front of my hives next winter. Thanks for the tip.
I don't know the timing for Alaska, but I can tell you the longer you keep insulation on, the better. They will brood up faster and you lessen the chance of chilled brood. Ideally, I like nights in the 50's before I take my insulation off, but realistically, it stays off when I need to start going into the hives on a more frequent basis. J
 

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To quote you "I winter in three deeps.( But two would work IMO) The one on the bottom is just mostly half drawn frames , pollen stores, or even empties. Next is the brood nest,. Then a deep of sugar syrup, fed early enough to get capped if possible. (not honey,too many solids for long winters) I also feed a pollen patty in August, to fatten the winter bees." After 5 years I have decided on a similar approach but using a medium + deep + medium apporach. I call the bottom medium grand central station in the summer and my moisture condenser in winter. The deep is the brood chamber year round which gets back-filled with syrup honey in the Fall. The upper medium is the honey chamber. I leave some honey frames in the Fall for Spring brood rearing and feed syrup quickly in the Fall to a specific total hive weight or about 80 lb. of total honey around mid-November. It "seems" they take the syrup honey first and save older capped honey until Spring for brood rearing. I do not feed in winter or spring as weighting the hives in the Fall is an accurate method of verifying sufficient stores until the Spring flow and then some.

Jeff,

Great thread thanks for showing us your mrthods.

do not underestimate the value of the "bottom. 3rd box" Go into an Igloo once, getting above the cold air entrance is very important.
This year I put wet medium frames into a deep on the bottom board. Placed NUCs (5x5) above that and they all to my surprise wintered well.
Every little bit helps when facing very cold weather.
GG
 

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GG - I think of the colony / cluster andit's immediate ambient as the "Living Bubble". It has a huge tendency to float up ( hot air and water vapor). Grand Central is always cool or cold. One issue I have with med+deep+medium is when I have to split via Snelgrove Board I don't have enough deeps. All the brood seems to be in the deeps, all the deeps became hives. Gotta build more deeps. :)
 

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GG - I think of the colony / cluster andit's immediate ambient as the "Living Bubble". It has a huge tendency to float up ( hot air and water vapor). Grand Central is always cool or cold. One issue I have with med+deep+medium is when I have to split via Snelgrove Board I don't have enough deeps. All the brood seems to be in the deeps, all the deeps became hives. Gotta build more deeps. :)
Robert I Concur, living bubble, However the same bubble in a taller "tube" with extra space at the bottom, should/will have less influence from the exterior thermo changes known to exist at the bottom of the Aforementioned tube. that extra "distance" helps mitigate fast thermo swings at the very bottom. And in a blocked entrance scenario would allow more time before suffocation. In Alaska, I would think these temp swings can be bigger than where I am, so Impactful. I used the wet medium frames to feed a bit and have the effect of a slatted rack, allowing cluster space and wind/draft suppression. I also noticed that when dead bees pile up the bottom, the bottom 2 inches of the comb can mold, the shorter frames also mitigate this spring issue as well. And if I am "late" getting in for a spring inspection, swarm prevention. I can get side tracked and mis a spring inspection, to many Irons in the proverbial fire.
"A nadir in Fall is best of all"
GG
 

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Discussion Starter #49
Well it saddens me to report I had 100% loss this winter. It was a cold one here in Western Alaska, and they went through stores faster than previous winters and starved out.

The one thing I did different was stop feeding about September 1 (to let the cap it), normally I jar feed them right up into October, and stop when they quit taking it. That extra month of feed was lost on the other end of winter when they really needed it.

In the month stretches of below 0 weather, it was hard to get in to add sugar bricks, and my boxes became iced so bad I could not even get into one.
I am going to rethink the sugar bricks, in sub zero weather they boil straight up though the sugar and when they hit daylight its over. and maybe just stick a jar of warm syrup on into my quilt box under the grass when I think it might need it. Or better yet, Feed them up to a propper weight.

Well I picked myself up and dusted off my smoker and installed another couple packages,made into four nucs. I treated two rounds of OAV the first 10 days and I will report back this fall and give it another go.

I got this.

A few highlights.





 

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I have enjoyed your posts, certainly challenging conditions pushing the edge of tundra. Probably quite windy as well.
I am wondering about the straw. I bagged shavings in onion bags for the first time this year. Bees went for the water as much as the sugar, have to believe the water is necessary to work up enough spit to dissolve the sugar. I see people use old cotton cloth and such as well. Either would absorb more and be a better recycle source for the bees.
 

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Discussion Starter #53
Well back again. Had a decent summer here, my split packages filled their box out well, fed and ready for another subarctic winter.

I managed them this year in single brood chambers and want to try overwinter in them as well. I have one double, and three singles. I have them wrapped with Colony Quilts but I also have some insulated ceiling tile material I will add under them when it gets colder.

I have a medium empty stuffed with grass again on top of a inner cover with a three inch screened feed hole. My plan this year is to put the feed jar on when the bees are hungry Duh !

No upper entrance on them but I do have them just plugged with wax for now. I might open them this spring.

We don't get any cleansing flights in the winter at all until about April 15thI dont think I need a bottom entrance either but will keep that for when the frost melts and the water drains out.

I also have a sugar brick on and a 3" shim, and wont open them again if I don't have to. Probably be iced up again anyway.

Hopefully this time wont starve.

Will report back in the spring.







 
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