I remenber as a kid 50 years ago of a neibor that wintered his bees in one deep hive body. He only produced section comb honey. Do any of you over winter in one hive body instead of the normal two? And are you secessfull? I live in southern Michigan
In my opinion you will have to feed, feed ,feed. Cross all of your appendiges, pray a lot and maybe you just might make it. I live in South Central Ky. I would not expect to make it here, and I'm 20-25 degrees warmer than you.
Just my opinion.
I reside in Ontario about an hour south west of Ottawa, Canada.
The last two winters I successfully wintered bees in a deep hive body wrapped in 1” Styrofoam. The south side I covered with heavy black paper and added 1” Styrofoam between the inner and metal top cover for insulation.
I didn’t remove any honey frames from the super and after nectar harvest was over I fed sugar syrup 2:1 in a plastic bottom feeder till they didn’t take any more, which was December, freeze up time.
I am looking for wintering solutions too as I have 11 hives now.
We have a gentleman in our local association who overwinters all of his colonies in one deep. The common overwintering practice in this area is two deeps, probably the same in your region. The difference with him is that his business is focused on local pollination contracts and he wants them light in the spring when he moves them out into the orchards. But he spends a lot of time in late winter and early spring keeping them going with supplemental pollen and syrup, and it takes experience to learn how to manage them this way. It's too risky and time consuming for me, but I have different objectives than he does.
I started a split in early spring of 2009. I also caught a swarm in May 2009. They never moved up so I over wintered both of these hives in single 10 frame deeps without feeding. They were still heavy in the spring of 2010.
I got some equipment from a man who kept bees for 10 years or so and lost them all one winter, 1998. He had a dozen or so hives. I told him that I was going to add another deep on top of these hives and he was puzzled. He told me that he always used just one deep for brood. He used a queen excluder and a shallow honey super. When they were filling the honey super, he would add another under it. When they were filling that, he would again add another under the first 2. He would leave that one for the bees and harvest the top 2 in the fall.
Right now I have 2 deeps with a super on top on my 2 Langstroth hives. They still havent drawn out any comb in the honey supers and here it is, mid July. Maybe next year, I will try his way.
I made a slight modification to Tim Arheit's all season inner cover. I made a new inner insulation out of 2 inch blueboard insulation and hollowed out some of the insulation and placed a small hole in the center for the bees to enter.
I can place raw sugar or baggies of syrup or crystallized honey in it, by lifting the telescoping cover, without disturbing the bees.
By spring the had moved up to the hole and clustered at the hole during the night. It sure made it convenient to help then through February and March.
Four of five hives, though had double deeps, made it through last winter. The one that didn't make it, the queen died early in winter and I didn't catch it. One hive was a newspaper combine and I think they stayed separate all winter. They had minimal stores but made it fine and is my strongest hive right now.
Any of my splits that are a single deep by winter are going to use this system this year as well.
I never tried less than two deeps in the same region as you. I would be worried about using one as what I seen for my first winter was they were very light on reserves come spring and I had to pour the syrup on them.
In Michigan I would be surprised if one deep worked out for you consistently. I am sure some manage it, maybe they feed dry all winter.
Looks like most that said yes, didn't read the question. If you are overwintering in a single box, there is not a super on it, that would be 2 boxes. I am in Maine and have overwintered in a single, but I did cover the frames with dry sugar.
i just started this year, i helped my grandfather keep bees when i was a kid, but the guy who i bought a complete hive from over wintered them in a single deep. he did this with several (i think he had 12 hives for sale) of them and it appeared he had good success with the method.
he did make a different cover, it was a piece of 5/8 plywood, with a hole cut in it in the middle covered with screen for feeding. he would cover these holes when not feeding.
he also used screened bottom boards on the hives over the winter.
You can't just answer yes or no without discussing the amount of bees and the stores they have going into the winter. As Countryboy said, people overwinter in 4 or 5 frame nucs. Even here in the northern climates. I'll have a dozen going into the Maine winter, some in 5 frame deeps and some in 2-story 4 frame mediums. (They will sit on top of production hives to help with warmth.)
The bees need sufficient room to cluster and the stores have to be sufficient for the population. If that's addressed, your configuration can be almost anything. If your single deep going into the fall is chock full of bees with a frame of honey, you are going to be out of luck. But if you have a smaller though still substantial cluster surrounded by lots of honey, your chances of success are much better.
If you have a booming hive with two deeps full of brood, I would guess that you could work at getting their population down before winter but that seems counter-productive. I'd leave them in their typical configuration. Perhaps if you were raising a variety of bee that doesn't build the huge populations going into winter, such as the Carniolan, your winter accomodation requirements might be smaller. I'm trying Carnis in some hives this year so I'll have a better idea come fall if that's the case.
Brac - the super is UNDER the brood chamber, and the bees are not IN it, so they are wintering IN one deep. I am not fond of the system. I believe my grandfather used a better system, with only one deep, and a tar paper enclosure with straw.
Roland, I was refering to the folks that said they left the honey super for the bees, I think it was 2 different posters.
One hive I overwintered as a single deep, I moved across the yard in late fall, with no effort to salvage the older bees. I knew there were 2 many bees for the amount of feed in the box. This seemed like a good idea as it went into winter with mostly young bees and I'm sure the older bees don't last through the winter anyway. Just like the girls kick out the boys, I kicked out the old. The hive made it through well, but we did have a mild winter for our area. It is something I may do again.
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