Is Anyone Else Preping there Bees for Winter Yet

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Richard Nieman

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Sep 7, 2017, 11:13:16 PM9/7/17
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The honey is off and the feeding has started where needed. I've been building quilt boxes with a candy block and a pollen patty for each hive. I'm adding a top entrance and treating for mites. I've checked every hive to make sure there queen right and combining small colane's that are not building up fast enough to make it through the winter. I'm going to put a 12 lbs sugar block on every hive this year and hope that none of them needs it.  Last year at this time the knap weed was waist high and covered with bloom. This year most of it is about a foot high with almost no bloom at all. Not sure if its the smoke or everything being dried up but my bees are getting very protective of there stores already and the honey I left them is starting to shrink already. Is anyone else prepping yet, and if so what are you doing? Maybe you'd like to share your ideas for winter prep at the next bee meeting? Thanks Rich 

matthew farwell

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Sep 12, 2017, 12:18:37 AM9/12/17
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Rich,
I do almost all of the same things that you have listed here.   All my fall mite treatments (formic) are done and I have young vigorous queens in every hive.   Small colonies won't make it through a cold winter.  There is just no choice but to combine them.   I have used quilt boxes every winter with a top entrance and feel like they are very helpful in this climate.  Venting moisture is critical to winter survival.  I have attached a 1 inch shim under my quilt box with the entrance cut in it.  It gives me an easy place to feed by just prying up one side a little.  I tried sugar blocks a couple years ago but found them to be a lot of work.  I switched to keeping some winter patties on hand to feed if needed.  Once it gets cold I slip on the NOD hive wraps.  All of this might seem excessive but it has worked very well for me over the last 3 winters with very low losses.

For those that like to read and research, the 2015 edition of The Hive and the Honey Bee dedicated chapter 21 to winter hive management in Northern climates.  I think it was one of my favorite chapters of the book.

Best,
Matt


On Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 9:13 PM Richard Nieman <hvac...@gmail.com> wrote:
The honey is off and the feeding has started where needed. I've been building quilt boxes with a candy block and a pollen patty for each hive. I'm adding a top entrance and treating for mites. I've checked every hive to make sure there queen right and combining small colane's that are not building up fast enough to make it through the winter. I'm going to put a 12 lbs sugar block on every hive this year and hope that none of them needs it.  Last year at this time the knap weed was waist high and covered with bloom. This year most of it is about a foot high with almost no bloom at all. Not sure if its the smoke or everything being dried up but my bees are getting very protective of there stores already and the honey I left them is starting to shrink already. Is anyone else prepping yet, and if so what are you doing? Maybe you'd like to share your ideas for winter prep at the next bee meeting? Thanks Rich 

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Donna H.

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Sep 15, 2017, 9:15:45 AM9/15/17
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Can you tell me in general how you built your quilt boxes? I've seen a few articles and videos online so I have a general idea. I think I might try that this year.

matthew farwell

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Sep 16, 2017, 1:23:07 PM9/16/17
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I used old medium boxes, drilled 8 x 1 inch holes in each box toward the top for ventilation (higher is better), and stapled 8 wire hardware cloth or aluminum window screen to the bottom.  I fill them with straw or grass hay because I always have it on hand.  I use 1.5 inch spacer below each quilt box with an entrance and this provides an easy place for winter feeding if necessary.  I went this route because I had most of the materials on hand and the skill to build them. 

I've also heard about achieving the same goal without building anything by stacking the following items up on the hive in order from bottom to top...  a spacer with entrance > queen excluder > screen or canvas > medium box filled with shavings/straw > top cover propped open slightly for ventilation.  I've not tried this approach but it sounds very possible.  If you google "hive moisture quilt" you will get plenty of ideas.  My only suggestion is to make sure the box is 6 inches deep or more to hold enough insulation for our cold climate.  I tried to insert a picture below from a couple of years ago...

Inline image 2




On Fri, Sep 15, 2017 at 7:15 AM, Donna H. <donn...@gmail.com> wrote:
Can you tell me in general how you built your quilt boxes?  I've seen a few articles and videos online so I have a general idea.  I think I might try that this year.
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Donna Hathaway

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Sep 16, 2017, 3:55:33 PM9/16/17
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Awesome! Thanks for the tips!

Sent from my iPhone

On Sep 16, 2017, at 11:23 AM, matthew farwell <mjfa...@gmail.com> wrote:

I used old medium boxes, drilled 8 x 1 inch holes in each box toward the top for ventilation (higher is better), and stapled 8 wire hardware cloth or aluminum window screen to the bottom.  I fill them with straw or grass hay because I always have it on hand.  I use 1.5 inch spacer below each quilt box with an entrance and this provides an easy place for winter feeding if necessary.  I went this route because I had most of the materials on hand and the skill to build them. 

I've also heard about achieving the same goal without building anything by stacking the following items up on the hive in order from bottom to top...  a spacer with entrance > queen excluder > screen or canvas > medium box filled with shavings/straw > top cover propped open slightly for ventilation.  I've not tried this approach but it sounds very possible.  If you google "hive moisture quilt" you will get plenty of ideas.  My only suggestion is to make sure the box is 6 inches deep or more to hold enough insulation for our cold climate.  I tried to insert a picture below from a couple of years ago...

<20151102_083039.jpg>




On Fri, Sep 15, 2017 at 7:15 AM, Donna H. <donn...@gmail.com> wrote:
Can you tell me in general how you built your quilt boxes?  I've seen a few articles and videos online so I have a general idea.  I think I might try that this year.

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Richard Nieman

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Sep 19, 2017, 1:03:30 AM9/19/17
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Matt why did you go to a medium box for a quilt box? From what I've been reading all you need is enough chips for a wick and not to shore the moisture. One person clamed that a 3/4 inch top entrance hole in your candy board or top shim gives enough ventilation to remove moisture without using a quilt box.  The boxes that I built are made with a 1x4 board with a 1 1/2 inch quilt box filled with cedar chips. After getting cheated out of my honey money I had to make some cuts so I used window screen instead of number 8 hardware cloth but wish Id have waited till I could get the heaver wire. This gives me 2 inches under the quilt box to feed and I drilled a 3/4 top entrance hole in this 2 inch space. I'm really hoping these boxes works out because Iv made 42 of them so far. I have several light hives this year because of late summer splits, most have plenty of bees but almost no honey so I'm feeding all I can and going to put sugar and a patty on each going into winter and try to check around the first of February.
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matthew farwell

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Sep 19, 2017, 11:10:04 PM9/19/17
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I used the medium boxes because they were free, made sense to me, and saved me time.  The boxes were not in good enough shape, in my opinion, to use for honey production so I used them to make the quilt boxes.  I had no other initial reason than this. They have worked well for the last 3 winters.  Through a little experimentation, I learned that it works best to have air space between my filler (hay/straw) and the lid.  This space allows for air circulation which prevents the otherwise warm and wet space from growing mold.   

I suspect that a more shallow box could be used but because I just don't have any experience with it in our climate I can't say for sure.  I definitely believe that it is better than nothing and think that you should go with this if it is your best option this winter.

Best,
Matt



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Richard Nieman

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Sep 20, 2017, 10:25:04 PM9/20/17
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Matt I totally agree with you on the free boxes and if I had them I'd have used them too. Your making me second guess my decision on the shallow quilt boxes. I do agree about the air space on top by the lid. I'm using commercial type lids rather than telescoping lids that allows more ventilation from around the quilt box and the top entrance should be enough to dissipate any moisture they make. The sugar block will absorb moisture too. I made 6 quilt boxes last year that was 3 inches thick filled completely with cedar chips and they seemed to work well. I believe the commercial type lids works better for venation and is easier to build too. I like the idea of having a place to feed inside the quilt box and a top entrance that can easily be removed in the summer. Thanks for your input on the quilt boxes.    




On Tuesday, September 19, 2017 at 9:10:04 PM UTC-6, matthew farwell wrote:
I used the medium boxes because they were free, made sense to me, and saved me time.  The boxes were not in good enough shape, in my opinion, to use for honey production so I used them to make the quilt boxes.  I had no other initial reason than this. They have worked well for the last 3 winters.  Through a little experimentation, I learned that it works best to have air space between my filler (hay/straw) and the lid.  This space allows for air circulation which prevents the otherwise warm and wet space from growing mold.   

I suspect that a more shallow box could be used but because I just don't have any experience with it in our climate I can't say for sure.  I definitely believe that it is better than nothing and think that you should go with this if it is your best option this winter.

Best,
Matt


On Tue, Sep 19, 2017 at 1:03 AM, Richard Nieman <hvac...@gmail.com> wrote:
Matt why did you go to a medium box for a quilt box? From what I've been reading all you need is enough chips for a wick and not to shore the moisture. One person clamed that a 3/4 inch top entrance hole in your candy board or top shim gives enough ventilation to remove moisture without using a quilt box.  The boxes that I built are made with a 1x4 board with a 1 1/2 inch quilt box filled with cedar chips. After getting cheated out of my honey money I had to make some cuts so I used window screen instead of number 8 hardware cloth but wish Id have waited till I could get the heaver wire. This gives me 2 inches under the quilt box to feed and I drilled a 3/4 top entrance hole in this 2 inch space. I'm really hoping these boxes works out because Iv made 42 of them so far. I have several light hives this year because of late summer splits, most have plenty of bees but almost no honey so I'm feeding all I can and going to put sugar and a patty on each going into winter and try to check around the first of February.

On Monday, September 11, 2017 at 10:18:37 PM UTC-6, matthew farwell wrote:
Rich,
I do almost all of the same things that you have listed here.   All my fall mite treatments (formic) are done and I have young vigorous queens in every hive.   Small colonies won't make it through a cold winter.  There is just no choice but to combine them.   I have used quilt boxes every winter with a top entrance and feel like they are very helpful in this climate.  Venting moisture is critical to winter survival.  I have attached a 1 inch shim under my quilt box with the entrance cut in it.  It gives me an easy place to feed by just prying up one side a little.  I tried sugar blocks a couple years ago but found them to be a lot of work.  I switched to keeping some winter patties on hand to feed if needed.  Once it gets cold I slip on the NOD hive wraps.  All of this might seem excessive but it has worked very well for me over the last 3 winters with very low losses.

For those that like to read and research, the 2015 edition of The Hive and the Honey Bee dedicated chapter 21 to winter hive management in Northern climates.  I think it was one of my favorite chapters of the book.

Best,
Matt


On Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 9:13 PM Richard Nieman <hvac...@gmail.com> wrote:
The honey is off and the feeding has started where needed. I've been building quilt boxes with a candy block and a pollen patty for each hive. I'm adding a top entrance and treating for mites. I've checked every hive to make sure there queen right and combining small colane's that are not building up fast enough to make it through the winter. I'm going to put a 12 lbs sugar block on every hive this year and hope that none of them needs it.  Last year at this time the knap weed was waist high and covered with bloom. This year most of it is about a foot high with almost no bloom at all. Not sure if its the smoke or everything being dried up but my bees are getting very protective of there stores already and the honey I left them is starting to shrink already. Is anyone else prepping yet, and if so what are you doing? Maybe you'd like to share your ideas for winter prep at the next bee meeting? Thanks Rich 

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