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Thread: Well winter has set in for the long haul I think.

  1. #1

    Default Well winter has set in for the long haul I think.

    Just wondering how winter is going for you guys. We have been in one hell of a cold snap here in Michigan. Starting to wonder about the girls. At this point I am thinking I may lose a colony. It went in to the winter with a smaller population than I would have liked but it was to late in the saeson for me to justfy moving frames when the other one was just about where I wanted it.
    So I am just waiting for a break in the weather so I can take a peek and see what is going on. Of course last winter I was sure I was going to lose one, then spring came and I was surprised with a robust population. Hoping to start putting some patties in come the 1st of March.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Port Orange, Florida, USA
    Posts
    350

    Default Re: Well winter has set in for the long haul I think.

    This is the worst time for wintering colonies, the clusters are small because of losses and the winter's bite is closing in on the hives. Now is the time to think about getting replacement packages, if you wait too long they get sold out. If the hives make thru Febuary check for how much honey they have and feed them if in doubt. I've lost more than one hive from late winter starvation. I still advocate slipping a flat birdbath heater/deicer in the hive if possible. If your hives are near power just run an extension cord out to the hives and slip the heater in the entrance. I used hive heaters while in Pennsylvania, the only hive I lost was due to having a heater stop working. Just an idea from outside the envelope.
    Right now I'm at three hives, lost a queen in late August and had to combine that hive with the others. Planning to purchase one 3lb package with queen to get back up to four hives and need to requeen two out of the three remaining hives. I would like to try a split but don't have a outyard to move the split to. Does anybody know how to do a split without moving the hives? If so let me know. I've only enough equipment for four or five hives and my beeyard will only hold five hives before getting crowded so I'm limited for growth.
    Beekeeping in Florida is totally different from up north. I was able to open up the hives last week, was able to invert two out of three hives all three have brood and are doing well. Still am seeing Small Hive Beetles in the hives but they seem to be at a safe level. Also have spotted Varroa mites below the screened bottom boards but they seem to be at a nonlethal level also. Really do hope everybody's hives are hanging in there. Nothing is worst than planning on a good year but then finding that most of your hives didn't make it. I've lost 3 out of 4 hives a couple times while up north and still remember how PO'ed it got me. Luck with the girls and don't forget to feed them if needed.

  3. Default Re: Well winter has set in for the long haul I think.

    It has been very cold by me here in WI for over a week. I can't get power to my girls and we had a two day stretch where it did not even make it above 0 F for the actual air temp. During this time the lows were in the -20 -25 for actual air temp. I hope like hell that I get half of my hives to make it after this.

    Beeboy
    You can make a split in the same yard. I do it all the time. The trick is to move two or more frames that are heavy with brood that is about to be capped. Those frames will have a
    large population of nurse bees on them. They go along for the ride to the new box and since they have never been out of the hive yet to go on an orientation flight they will come back to the new hive even if it is a foot away from the old hive.

    Along with the two frames above, it is good if you can also add a frame or two of brood that is about the emerge. These two will provide a large crop of new nurse bees for the above brood frames and fee up the former nurse bees to become foragers.

    Now with all that you have to decide how to handle the queen. Buy one, move a frame with a queen cell, or if you have lots of extra time be sure one frame has eggs or larva that is only one or two days old max. I know the books say up to three day old larva, but I have played with them enough to know that if they turn the three day old larva into a queen cell you get a smaller queeen that does not have the life span.

    What a difference a day without royal jelly can make for a young queen.

    Hope that helps.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Well winter has set in for the long haul I think.

    I did a split in the same yard last year. For the most part I did what Dahole suggested. I had one extra step though. I turned one colony. I had one with and entrance facing south and one with the entrance facing west. I guess it is supposed to help with drifting until the queen gets established.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Port Orange, Florida, USA
    Posts
    350

    Default Re: Well winter has set in for the long haul I think.

    Thanks, sounds easy enough to do a split, I'll give it a try come spring. Still need to get some queens, the state bee inspector recomends replacing them every year cause of the africianized honey bees.

  6. Default Re: Well winter has set in for the long haul I think.

    One bennie of living up here where its cold is that we don't have that problem. :toothy10

    The africianized bees can't handle the cold.

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